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

Drenth stands alone for GymHawks

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)

While the season may be over for the Iowa women’s gymnastics team, one GymHawk still has work to do heading into Fort Worth, Texas, for the 2016 NCAA Championships on April 15-16.

Junior Mollie Drenth’s performance in last weekend’s NCAA regional competition in Carver-Hawkeye has earned her a place as an individual competitor in the finals.

Drenth led the Hawkeyes in every event, posting nearly flawless scores of 9.900 in both bars and beam.

Without a doubt, she is among the elite gymnasts in the NCAA, and while most in her position carry heavy bloodlines in the sport of gymnastics, the junior from Riverview, Florida, took it upon herself to master her craft.

“I started practicing gymnastics when I was just 4 years old,” said Drenth, “It was just something I wanted to do … I am actually the first person in my family to get into it.”

There was no significant learning curve for Drenth; she quickly proved herself, rising through the ranks at her Florida gymnastics institution.

Drenth faced a number of options in choosing which college program she would take her talents to, but it turned out to be the easiest decision of her life.

“The school is so beautiful and when I met the coaches and the rest of the team, I knew it was just meant to be,” she said.

Head coach Larissa Libby admitted Drenth didn’t have the easiest time adjusting to her new life as a college athlete, but as she became more comfortable with the program and the team around her, she was able to come out of her shell.

“She is far more secure in herself,” she said. “She was a little shy at first, but now she has really just come to her own. She is very confident in her abilities and has now become one of our leaders.”

Drenth has parlayed her confidence and her skills into a national championship berth, the first by a GymHawk in over six years. While it may seem exclusively like a personal victory, Drenth’s achievement will help give Iowa a bit of fame.

“Of all the individual finalists in regional competition, [Mollie] had the highest score in the entire nation,” Libby said. “Her being out there being seen by the competing schools, the judges, and the club teams will bring a lot of positive attention to the Hawkeye name.”

Libby, along with the rest of her team, is glad to have Drenth on their side, because she is not only an elite gymnast but also a grade A teammate.

More to Discover