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GymHawks notch first win of the year

BY JACK ROSSI | FEBRUARY 24, 2014 5:00 AM

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The Iowa women’s gymnastics team finished its home schedule on a great note Sunday, when the Hawkeyes took down Illinois-Chicago in front of an energetic Carver-Hawkeye Arena crowd by the score of 195.125-193.800.

The win marks the first of the season for the Hawkeyes — they have had to overcome numerous injuries and some instability in their lineup to grab a victory.

“I am always thankful after every meet that we are all together and there are no injuries,” head coach Larissa Libby said. “It’s tiring. We are running the same team every weekend. Week in and week out, we have the same lineups. We have to be strategic in how we are training and prepping for meets.”

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Limiting mistakes was crucial In Iowa’s victory and somewhat of a point of emphasis for the team going into the meet.

“We’ve really focused on … not beating ourselves,” Libby said. “If we can stay in that mode, I think we’ll be great.”

Freshman Angel Metcalf let the Hawkeyes with the top scores in three events and had her best day on the beam as a Hawkeye with a 9.875.

“Angel’s beam was phenomenal and probably among the very best in the country,” Libby said.

“I had my best beam performance tonight,” Metcalf said. “I think I did a pretty good job, and I was just doing what I do in practice. I had a really good time, and I enjoyed it.”

While the meet was not perfect, the back half of the lineup made up for it by putting up great scores to maintain Iowa’s lead.

“We had some mistakes that are probably a little uncharacteristic in the people that made them, and I thought the back half of the lineup did a great job making sure that we didn’t have to count it,” Libby said. “That’s what it’s going to take in the postseason to beat the very best.”

The Hawks finished up on floor — their strongest event. The team posted a 49.025 to solidify their victory over the Flames and complete the sweep with the men’s team defeating the Flames earlier that day in Chicago.

Freshman Alie Glover and Metcalf were the two Hawkeyes to compete all around and finished second and third.

“We always win as a team is what we say, so it’s our first official win, and I think it’s going to spark greatness,” Metcalf said. “I think it was a good boost for our confidence.”

The Hawkeyes will head to Boise State on Friday. Libby hopes the team can keep the momentum and get a winning streak going late in the season.

“I think just being able to walk away with a ‘W’ that has eluded them all season and having a great score,” Libby said. “Knowing that they are capable in bad times and good times of hitting. I think it will be huge for confidence as we move on.”


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