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

Bright lights won’t bother GymHawks

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)

No. 27 Iowa will host No. 14 Nebraska this weekend in a Big Ten heavyweight bout. The Hawkeyes have been hot recently, with victories in their last two meets, including an upset of Ohio State.

The Huskers are even hotter. They’re coming off of a Jan. 29 win over No. 3 Michigan.

“Everyone in the country, if you asked them, would bet against us,” head coach Larissa Libby said. “We just try not to talk about that. It only matters what we believe we can do … We do talk about the type of performance that it will take to be the very best.”I

Iowa may need to be at its very best on Saturday. Nebraska’s score against Michigan was 196.775, while the Hawkeyes’ season best was the 196.375 they posted against Ohio State.

Nebraska is also rolling with an undefeated record, 5-0 overall, 3-0 in the Big Ten.

The dual with Nebraska is further amplified by the stage that will be set. The meet, which will start at 11 a.m., will be aired live on Big Ten Network. Saturday is also Girl Scout Day and Camper Reunion, so Carver-Hawkeye should seat a larger crowd than usual.

“The second we were told it was televised, [we thought] that’s awesome and amazing,” junior Angel Metcalf said. “What a great opportunity we have to represent the Big Ten and be on the Big Ten Network.”

Despite the television hype and the difficult matchup, the Hawkeyes seem to maintain their focus.

Libby has said all season that the only score that matters is her team’s score, and her athletes are ringing the same tune.

“Our main focus is ourselves,” Metcalf said.

Senior Alie Glover and junior Mollie Drenth echoed this theme. They said that they will focus on doing their best and that they don’t even notice the cameras during their events — they are “in their own bubble” when they are on the floor.

The three gymnasts also echoed each other when suggesting the GymHawks’ key target area of improvement this week.

“The word of the week for us is ‘landings,’ ” Metcalf said. “We’re coming out with some great scores, and you know, if we could stick those landings on a few more events, we can excel, and I think we can be a 197 team.”

Going into the meet, Iowa’s average team score sits at 194.875, while Nebraska’s is 195.700. The deficit may seem small, but it is a rather difficult one to overcome in women’s gymnastics. The averages for the teams over the past two weekends, however, tell a much different story.

Through the last two meets for each team, the Hawkeyes average a team score of 196.325, nearly dead-heat with the Huskers’ 196.300.

The GymHawks’ work is cut out for them, but they still feel pretty confident.

“[We are] mostly excited. We’ve been in the gym working hard,” Glover said. “We’re feeling good coming off Maryland.”

Follow @makeclarson for Iowa gymnastics updates, news, and analysis.

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