Women's gymnastics struggles at Black and Gold


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The women’s gymnastics team left its Black and Gold Intrasquad matchup Dec. 6 with questions surrounding the team’s performance.

“I think we have a lot more potential than where we are right now,” head coach Larissa Libby said. “I’m pleased with where the team is physically, but mentally, we have a long way to go.”

A group of enthusiastic fans served as the impromptu judges for the competition, which saw Gold edge Black by a final score of 10-9.

The two sides ended the meet with a strong set of floor routines, led by all-around senior Sydney Hoerr. Freshman Nikki Youd also had a strong showing on the vault and uneven bars.

But landing was a serious issue for the Hawkeyes throughout the meet, something Libby will try to correct before the team’s début next month.

“We gave a lot of points away on just landings today,” Libby said. “There’s not one person who didn’t move on a landing.”

Libby noted the change in environment as a possible issue, being a much more wide-open area than they practice in daily and making concentration more difficult. She also pointed out the difference in format of the event— which lacked professional judges for legitimate scoring.

It was also the team’s first competition of the season and happened in an atmosphere that appeared to be staged purely for the entertainment of the fans.

Still, the GymHawks have issues they need to address before the season-opener at LSU Jan. 9, 2015.

“Now we’re at the point where the little details matter; it’s not enough just to get through a routine,” Libby said. “It is if you want to be eight or ninth in the Big Ten, but I don’t want to be there, and I know they don’t, either.”

To fix the issues with landings, Libby hopes that repetition is the answer. To those who fall or hop on their landings in practice, the coach’s response for them simply to run it again until they get it right.
“We need to work on our landings on all events,” Hoerr said. “In practice, we’ll make that a key focus over the next few weeks before our meet with LSU.”

Libby, Hoerr, and others on the team are confident, however, the team’s struggles at the meet are not indicative of what fans will see on the season.

“Obviously, we need to be more confident,” junior Maryah Huntley said. “Especially some of my teammates, they made mistakes they never do in practice.”

The competition saw many of the athletes compete in more events than they are accustomed to. Now instead of quantity, Libby and the Hawkeyes will look to put more emphasis on quality of routines, rather than necessarily throwing people into events that are not their strength.

“I think that this was the best way for them so see that those mistakes add up when you’re talking about creating a team score,” Libby said. “We’ll go back and hopefully make sure our routines are being done as perfectly as they can be.”

Follow @CharlsGreen on Twitter for news, updates, and analysis about the Iowa gymnastics team.

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