GymHawks drop Big Ten opener to No. 9 Nebraska


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The atmosphere in Carver-Hawkeye Arena was full of excitement on Jan. 24 as the Iowa women’s gymnastics team marched in front of a season-high home crowd of more than 1,600 fans for their first Big Ten match of the season.

The GymHawks posted their second-highest team score of the season, but they ultimately fell to the two-time Big Ten champion Nebraska, 196.450-193.250.

The Hawkeyes have had an unusually busy week, competing in three meets in the past eight days — two of which were against top-10 teams, No. 6 Georgia and No. 9 Nebraska.

The Hawkeyes significantly improved their team score from their previous outing at Ball State by nearly 6 points against Georgia (194.675) on Jan. 20 in front of a crowd of almost 9,000 before returning home to face another strong opponent in Nebraska.

“You have to compete with the best to be the best,” head coach Larissa Libby said.

And as is usually the case, she was impressed by the effort she saw from her Hawkeyes against an unrelenting Big Ten team.

“The effort is always there with this team,” Libby said. “While I’m pleased with the results, we are still making mistakes that we shouldn’t be making — especially our veterans. We could easily be 1-point better in every event.”

The Hawkeyes took to the vault in their first event, posting a team score of 48.500. Freshman Amanda Kowalski paced the Hawkeyes with a score of 9.800. The Huskers posted a team score of 49.000 on the bars, leading the Hawkeyes into the second rotation.

The Hawkeyes trailed the Huskers for the remainder of the meet.

Junior Sydney Hoerr registered a 9.775 on bars to lead the Hawkeyes to a team score of 48.500 in its second rotation. The Huskers posted a team score of 49.250 on the vault.

The GymHawks trailed Nebraska by a score of 147.400-145.025 going into the final rotation.

Freshman Angel Metcalf paced the Hawkeyes on beam with a score of 9.800.

Sophomore Alie Glover had a great comeback performance on floor (9.75) after a devastating fall on beam (9.10).

“Obviously, I’m bummed about beam,” Glover said. “But in gymnastics, you have another chance to get back at it.”

The Huskers sealed the deal on beam with a team score of 49.050. Freshman Mollie Drenth and sophomore Maryah Huntley both posted 9.750, helping Iowa earn a 48.225 event score.

Metcalf, Iowa’s leading all-around contributor, competed in only two events — vault and bars — because soreness.

Drenth was the only all-around competitor for Iowa, earning a score of 38.325.

“I don’t go into a meet thinking about winning the all-around,” Metcalf said, who won two consecutive all-around titles this season against Utah State and Ball State. “Winning the all-around is just an outcome that comes with landing every routine for the team.”

Metcalf, along with the rest of the team, will spend this week preparing for their next dual, against Illinois at Illinois. Competition is set to begin at 7 p.m. on Friday.

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