The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

GymHawks stun No. 25 Buckeyes

Iowa women’s gymnast Caroline McCrady after successfully landing on the vault at the Iowa vs. Utah State meet held at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Saturday, Jan 11, 2014. The Hawkeyes team lost to the Utah State Aggies 191.75-191.65. (The Daily Iowan/ Tyler Finchum)

Carver-Hawkeye was the scene of a spectacular gymnastics matchup on Jan. 23 when the Iowa women defeated No. 25 Ohio State in an intense head-to-head meet, 196.375-195.025.

“I’m so excited; it’s hard to contain,” said head coach Larissa Libby. “Ohio State is a phenomenal team with excellent athletes and an incredible coaching staff. We knew that coming in. A Big Ten win is always an impressive win.”

The GymHawks scored 15 individual season bests, including 9.900 performances by senior Alie Glover on the floor, 9.800 on the vault, 9.825 on the beam.

Glover’s floor routine closed the night for the Hawkeyes and sealed the victory.

“There is nothing in this world like that kind of energy,” she said. “Just seeing your team there, going into that last pass knowing that you’ve got it, and then just the explosion of energy that comes after it. It’s indescribable.”

The Hawkeyes started the night strong on the vault, posting a team score of 49.000. They then performed at yet a higher level on the uneven bars, 49:175.

In early season meets, six gymnasts perform each event, but only the five best are counted toward the team score. The sixth-scoring gymnast for Iowa on the bars scored a 9.800, meaning a score that did not count, because Iowa matched Ohio State’s second-best bars score.

After two events, Iowa held a 98.175-97.700 lead over Ohio State, and the Hawkeyes’ second half of the night turned out better yet than the first.

In the beam, Iowa had a margin of 0.725 over the Buckeyes, the largest victory in any single event on the night for the Hawks. In this event, Drenth scored her 9.9 performance, but she seemed more pleased with her team than with herself.

“When I hit, I’m glad I’m hitting for the team,” she said. “The energy tonight was incredible … We just were a team. Each person we built on and tried to beat her score.”

Three for three on besting Ohio State in events on the night, the GymHawks closed out with their top score when they put up a 49.200 on the floor exercise.

On both the beam and the floor, Iowa’s first gymnasts to compete had falls, putting pressure on the remaining five athletes in each event to execute to perfection.

They did just that, with eight of the 10 scores among beam and floor scoring at 9.800 or better, including both 9.900 performances.

Senior Johanny Sotillo, who competed on the bar and beam for Iowa, is one of three senior leaders on the team. When the pressure was on during her beam routine, rather than a scowl of determination, a smile was on her face throughout her performance.

“I’m pretty excited,” she said. “I try to keep my smile all the time. It helps people to be happy.”

Iowa has had spotty performances throughout its first few meets of the season. With several falls in each meet and some scores that left much to be desired, the coaches were drilling into the Hawks the importance of details.

On Jan. 23, the GymHawks executed the details, and they will try to improve.

“We’ve been talking about trying to move from mid- to high-194s, trying to climb to 195s, then up to 196. We just blew clear through 195,” said assistant coach Caleb Phillips. “We still made a few mistakes … We want to start moving to mid- and high-49s [in each event] in order to be competitive with top-five teams. It’s always details for us.”

More to Discover