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

GymHawk Drenth advances to NCAAs

Peter Kim
Iowa gymnast Mollie Drenth swings off the bar at Carver Hawkeye, on Saturday, Apr 2, 2016. Iowa took 4th place, scoring total of 195.450 for team score. (The Daily Iowan/Peter Kim)

By Ricardo Ascencio

Despite hosting an NCAA Regional April 2 in Carver-Hawkeye Arena, the Iowa women’s gymnastics team’s season is over, with the exception of one student-athlete.

The GymHawks were not able to advance as a team to the championship rounds, placing fourth at 195.450 points. Iowa did have a silver lining, however, as the dominant performance of junior Mollie Drenth in the all-around will send her to represent Iowa in Forth Worth as an individual competitor.

Drenth was barely able to contain her emotions as the GymHawks closed their season.

“[I’m feeling] very emotional, I was hoping we could advance as a team, but I am happy with how we performed today,” she said. “Just having such amazing seniors and such an amazing team, it’s just an amazing feeling.”

The junior from Riverview, Florida, led the GymHawks in every event, including high beam, in which her score of 9.900  claimed first place.

“The competition was very tough, with all these teams here, and with No. 1 Oklahoma here, it is just very motivating and keeps all of us going,” Drenth said.

Her accomplishment will be just the first time in more than six years that an Iowa gymnast stamped her ticket to national competition as a lone competitor.

While only Drenth will advance, head coach Larissa Libby views the accolade as a win for the entire program.

“This will be such huge recognition for the University of Iowa,” Libby said. “The reason [Drenth] did what she did is because the entire team rallied around her, and she wouldn’t have posted the scores she did, without the performances in front of her.”

Drenth will see entire Oklahoma women’s gymnastics team on April 15-17 in Fort Worth; the Sooners won the regional meet at 197.575.

Oklahoma entered the competition as the No. 1 team in the NCAA, and head coach K.J. Kindler was glad that she can now represent the Sooner State in championship play.

“While the [men’s] basketball team could not move on from the Final Four, I am confident that my girls will do us proud in Forth Worth,” Kindler joked.

While Drenth and the Sooners prepare for the national title, Saturday’s regional tournament was the last meet for the senior GymHawks including Iowa standout Alie Glover, Opua Calucag, and Johanny Sotillo.

While the farewell was bittersweet, Glover was mesmerized by the support from the Hawkeye faithful.

“The crowd was amazing; every time they come out and cheer us on, it just makes our jobs that much more special,” said Glover.

This week will be a bye for Drenth as she prepares to take on the nation’s best in the 2016 NCAA National Championships on April 15 in Fort Worth, Texas.

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