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GymHawks work toward 196 score

BY MATT CABEL | FEBRUARY 22, 2013 5:00 AM

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The Iowa women’s gymnastics team wants to take the next step.

After two-straight weeks of overall scores in the area of 195, the team wants one thing: to score a 196 or better.

They’ll have a chance tonight when No. 12 Minnesota comes to Carver-Hawkeye Arena for a dual meet.

It’s a goal the team has been trying to achieve for weeks. Small point deductions have resulted in lower scores for the GymHawks all season, but the gymnasts still believe the elusive mark is feasible.

Senior Emma Stevenson likes the team’s progress. She thinks her team can even look toward scores of 197 and beyond in the second half of the season.

“There’s always one little thing that’s just like ‘Oh, we’re so close, but we made one mistake’ or ‘There’s one thing we can focus on,’ ” Stevenson said. “We haven’t gotten there, but every meet we’ve done something to fix it — not getting to a 196 but getting it that much closer.”

In the last two weeks, the all-around competition has been a strong point for the GymHawks. Freshman Alie Glover placed first place in the Feb. 8 meet against Michigan State and Illinois-Chicago and was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week.

Sydney Hoerr then led Iowa last weekend in a dual meet against Illinois. The sophomore placed second in the all-around competition with a score of 39.350, a career best.

“I felt really good,” she said. “It felt good to actually go out and do a meet and compete like I trained in practice. That meet, everything was perfect.”

Head coach Larissa Libby was pleased with the performance. She praised Hoerr’s attitude, because the sophomore had been going through some struggles. She could also see a strong performance coming before the meet even began.

“We just knew when she was warming up that it was there that day,” Libby said. “I was very, very pleased to watch her put a full meet together.”

The GymHawks accomplished something they hadn’t this season when they faced Illinois: The squad held a lead after the first three events. A weak performance on the beam however, was the downfall for Iowa, and the team lost by under 1 point, 195.975-195.875

The close loss however, has motivated the team this week in practice.

“It’s just like football; you have to play for four [quarters], right?” Libby said. “We have to stay focused for four events, and not get euphoric because we did such a great job on the first three that we forget to focus down on the fourth.”

The GymHawks will earn a 196 by executing the small details — a constant motif of the season. One way the Hawks work on the details is through encouragement from their teammates. The gymnasts watch to see their teammates do the little things, such as keeping their legs straight.

Having teammates constantly watching has each of the GymHawks continually thinking about details, both in practice and meets. This also takes away some of the individuality of gymnastics.

“If someone falls, we’re behind her,” Hoerr said. “The people that are after them in the lineup, it’s their job to step up and make their routine. If something bad does happen, that’s when the team aspect comes in. We’re behind them, supporting them, no matter what.”


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