Jan. 20, 2014
ATHENS, Ga. -- The University of Iowa women's gymnastics team posted a season-best score of 194.675 at sixth-ranked Georgia on Monday, improving its team score by nearly six points from its previous outing at Ball State (188.875). The Gym Dogs, fresh off a win over No. 2 LSU, posted a season-high 197.400 to win the dual. The score marks the second-highest score recorded in the nation this year.
Iowa competed in front of 8,871 fans inside Stegeman Coliseum.
"We were definitely greeted with Southern Hospitality," said UI head coach Larissa Libby. "The fans were amazing, and as supportive of us as they were of their own team."
The GymHawks had a point to prove entering Stegeman Coliseum, following an uncharacteristically season-low score at Ball State.
After an explosive introduction, the GymHawks took to the bars to open the competition. Junior Sydney Hoerr led the Hawkeyes to a season-best score of 48.775 on the bars, posting a team-best 9.875.
The Hawkeyes moved to the vault, where the lineup featured only freshmen (Mollie Drenth, Caroline McCrady, Jordyn Doherty, Ashleigh Edlin, Angel Metcalf, and Amanda Kowalski). In total, 17 of Iowa's 24 routines were completed by freshmen.
The Hawkeyes posted a 48.350 on the vault, led by Kowalski (9.775).
Iowa danced its way to a 49.000 on the floor, posting its highest event score of the season. The Athens crowd erupted with enthusiasm at the energy the Hawkeyes brought to their routines, as they danced along with their team.
"The more crowd involvement you have, the better overall impression there is on the judges," said Libby.
Hoerr posted a 9.875 on the floor, tying for the second-best score. Each GymHawk garnered a 9.700 or higher.
Iowa concluded the competition on the beam, posting another season high (48.550). Kowalski paced the GymHawks, registering a 9.800.
Metcalf posted a season-best 39.100 in the all-around to finish second behind Georgia's Brittany Rogers (39.525). Drenth took third, recording a 38.550.
Despite the long weekend of travel following road duals at Ball State and Georgia, the Hawkeyes enjoyed their first dual competition at an SEC opponent since March 12, 2010, when they competed at LSU.
"The atmosphere of the Coliseum was unlike anything we had experienced, but regardless of our status as the underdogs, the crowd was very encouraging," said Hoerr. "You could tell that the fans understand and appreciate the sport of gymnastics."
Iowa returns home to host No. 9 Nebraska inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Friday at 7 p.m. (CT). Fans interested in attending home meets at Carver-Hawkeye Arena should visit hawkeyesports.com or contact the UI Athletics Ticket Office at 1-800 IA-HAWKS for tickets.