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

Here comes the sunshine

Iowa gymnast Alie Glover competes in the Floor event during the meet against the University of Illinois Chicago in Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014. Iowa went on to defeat Illinois Chicago, 195.125 to 193.800. (The Daily Iowan/Callie Mitchell)

When the Iowa women’s gymnastics team upset No. 25 Ohio State on Jan. 23, just two Hawkeyes posted individual scores of 9.900: junior Mollie Drenth and senior Alie Glover, who both hail from Florida.

Drenth came to Iowa from Riverview, Florida, and Glover’s roots are in the Florida city of Destin. Naturally, there is much to miss about their home state.

“Being able to see a huge body of water,” Glover said. “Fresh seafood … Nothing against Iowa.”

“It’s funny; they were actually talking about how when they got here it was the first time they ever saw snow,” assistant coach Caleb Phillips said. “Fall for them is amazing here, because they never get to see [those colors] down home.”

Despite dealing with cold and snow and a lack of huge bodies of water or great fresh seafood, Drenth and Glover have managed to thrive as GymHawks.

Glover had meet-clinching floor routine that scored a 9.900 against the Buckeyes. Drenth fared well, too, earning the first-place score in all-around of 39.300 that included her 9.900 performance on the beam.

Neither one gloats about her performance.

“We’re just happy we did well for the team, and it brought our score up,” Drenth said.

“It’s sort of like a domino effect,” Glover said. “If we feel confident in what we’re doing, they feel confident; everyone is comfortable. It helps us perform better.”

With only three seniors on the team, the two account for a large portion of the GymHawks’ experience and leadership.

Glover has been an all-around performer since her freshman year. Through three seasons, she has been named an Academic All-Big Ten honoree and an All-Championship Team member.

Last season, she finished in second place in the Big Ten Championships in the vault and fourth place on the floor. She holds the team’s best score on vault, with a career high of 9.925.

Drenth, in her two previous seasons, has competed twice in the NCAA regionals. Last season, she, too, was named to the All-Championship Team.

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Drenth holds the team’s best individual score on bars with a career high of 9.925.

The two share experience and leadership abilities, but they bring different things to the table for their team.

“They are completely different athletes,” Iowa head coach Larissa Libby said. “Alie is intrinsic and straight-faced. Mollie is more … outgoing and bubbly. They are completely opposites in those respects and what they need from you as a coaching staff.”

Libby does not assign captains; she says that she wants every athlete to have the opportunity to step up.

By virtue of being upperclassmen, however, leadership often falls on older gymnasts, which Drenth and Glover don’t seem to mind.

“It has taken a lot of hard work to get where we are at right now,” Glover said. “It’s an honor for me, personally, and for her, to have a team that looks up to you and can come to you for advice.”

It should be no surprise that the two have reached this level of gymnastic skill. Drenth began with gymnastics at the age of 4, while Glover started when she was 3.

With their high performance abilities at meets and their team-oriented leadership, Drenth and Glover have positioned themselves nicely on the GymHawks.

That does not, however, offer them immunity to a little ribbing from team members and coaches.

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