Feb. 3, 2012
IOWA CITY, Iowa -The University of Iowa women's gymnastics team crowned three individual event champions in a 195.150-195.800 loss to No. 10 Penn State Friday evening. Fans were treated with a high-scoring meet inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena, site of the 2012 Big Ten Championships. The GymHawks posted season high team marks on two events - bars and floor.
"It makes a difference to have the types of experiences we did tonight," said Head Coach Larissa Libby. "When we're in here for the Big Ten Championships and something goes wrong, we have something to draw on. There is no bigger arena than this. Our arena is as big as it gets, it's as loud as it gets and as dangerous as it gets. The importance of doing well in here can't be stated enough. All of this was the perfect prep for Big Ten Championships."
No. 24 Iowa began the meet on vault where it scored a 48.650. Junior Emma Stevenson began what would be a very impressive meet with a 9.800. The Winfield, Ill., native finished second in the event. Junior Maya Wickus posted a 9.775 to finish tied for third as freshman Sydney Hoerr tied for fifth with a 9.750.
The GymHawks were able to count five scores of 9.775 or better on bars, topping the Nittany Lions 49.175-48.425. Senior Jordan Eszlinger took home the event title with a 9.875 performance, improving her career best by a half of a point. Senior Jessa Hansen and sophomore Tesla Cox scored a 9.850 apiece and tied for second. Stevenson finished fifth with a 9.825 and senior Kaitlynn Urano tied for sixth with a mark of 9.775.
"Jordan's performance on bars was stunning," said Libby. "If there was one thing to be pleased about tonight, it was Jordan winning bars. It was just the right thing to happen to a great kid. She works so hard all the time. She's never down, she pushes every one every day and she expects the best every day."
Iowa posted a score of 47.975 on beam. Hansen paced the GymHawks with a season high of 9.850. The Clive, Iowa, native finished tied for third in the event. Cox tied for sixth with a 9.775 and Urano finished eighth with a score of 9.725.
The GymHawks closed the meet in demanding fashion, posting a season high of 49.350 on floor. Hansen and Stevenson were Iowa's final two competitors and both recorded a 9.900 to tie for first place. Senior Rachel Corcoran, along with freshmen Emma Willis and Hoerr, scored a 9.850. They were part of a four-way tie for fifth. Additionally, freshman Miranda Meyer tied for 10th after recording a 9.750.
"Tonight was a huge step forward for us, but there is a lot of work that needs to be done," said Libby. "We are more than capable of beating anyone we compete against, but the girls need to see that. They're so close and it's going to happen. They're going to figure it out and we're going to make a statement."
The GymHawks will return to the road to take on Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio Feb. 10. Action is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. (CT) inside St. John Arena.