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Gymnasts hungry for Big Tens

BY ROD ENGBLOM | MARCH 13, 2015 5:00 AM

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With the Big Ten Championships looming on March 21, the team is preparing for the qualifying meet hosted by the University of Minnesota and called the Big Five.

Due to the addition of Maryland and Rutgers Universities, the qualifying meet for women’s gymnastics has been split into two qualifying meets located at two different locations in order to separate the 10 teams. 

Head women’s gymnastics coach Larissa Lilly is confident that the team will qualify for the night session at the Big Tens despite the tough competition.

“There isn’t a team that isn’t good this year in the Big Tens,” coach Lilly said.  “We’re all ranked in the top-36 except for one team out of over 100 teams.”

Iowa is tied for the No. 25 spot with in the national rankings with Michigan State while the top ranked team in the conference, Michigan, is ranked No. 6 nationally.

The team’s goal is to move up to one of the top-three spots out of the five teams the Hawkeyes will be facing at the March 14 qualifiers.   

“The teams that are ahead of us are Michigan, Penn State, and Minnesota,” coach Lilly said. “Iowa and Rutgers come after, so we have to get in that top-three.”

Even though the competition will be tough, the team is keeping a mindset that the next meet is just another meet.  This has been the mindset the whole year and will continue to be the mindset of the team as they move into the postseason.

“We really try to build our own environment, encourage each other, and not focus on what any of the other teams are doing,” senior Sydney Hoerr said.  “We want to stay together as a team and go from there.” 

Along with creating their own environment and focusing on themselves during meets, the team also emphasizes consistency within their performances. 

“Consistency is my biggest thing personally,” sophomore Angel Metcalf said.  “My mindset is to be consistent and do my job.  I’ve been able to do my sets before and they’ve been no problem, but now it’s time to really shine.”  

Metcalf also stressed how she’s focusing on the little details that set a gymnast apart from the others during the Big Ten Championships.

There is also confident around the team this postseason because she believes that the Hawkeyes haven’t had their best meet yet. 

“They’re kind of that understated but in your face team,” Lilly said.  “I think when they hit every event to the best of their ability, I think they can compete with the best of the Big Ten and the best in the top-36.

“I think they’re just as good but we got to get ourselves to that point where we can take that shot.”  

Follow @RodEngblom for news, updates and analysis of the Iowa women’s gymnastic team.


Big Five Meet
Date:  Saturday March 14
Location:  Minneapolis Minnesota

Big Ten Championships
Date:  Saturday March 21
Location:  Ann Arbor Michigan


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