Feb. 24, 2012
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- University of Iowa gymnast Emma Stevenson won a third consecutive event title on bars as Iowa fell to No. 22 Minnesota, 196.250-194.100, Friday evening inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The GymHawks won two events against the Golden Gophers and finished with two individual event titles.
Iowa started the meet on vault, setting a season high team score of 49.075 on the event. The GymHawks were led by freshman Emma Willis and junior Maya Wickus, who each scored 9.850 to tie for second place. Stevenson placed tied for fourth with a 9.825.
The GymHawks led 98.275-98.075 through two rotations thanks to an event title from Stevenson. The Winfield, Ill., native scored a 9.900 on bars to lead Iowa. The score was a career best for Stevenson, who won beam at Ohio State and tied for first against Iowa State. Stevenson has now won an event title in the past five consecutive meets. Sophomore Telsa Cox (9.850), Jordan Eszlinger (9.825) and Willis (9.825) also paced Iowa on bars. Iowa's team score on bars also set a team season high (49.200).
"Emma has upgraded her routine on bars," Head Coach Larissa Libby said. "For her to upgrade as a junior, going into your senior year, is pretty amazing. Her routine is as strong as the strongest in the country right now. She has established herself as a rock. Emma has always had a great work ethic. It's nice to see that work ethic pay off. Emma has a great mindset and it's working for her."
Senior Jessa Hansen won an event title on beam, tying for first with Minnesota's Dusti Russell. Hansen pulled through with a 9.875 to lead Iowa on the event and tie a career best mark. Freshman Sydney Hoerr (9.775) and Cox (9.700) also paced the GymHawks on beam.
The GymHawk's fourth and final rotation was on floor, where they were led by Stevenson yet again with a third place finish on the event. Stevenson scored a 9.850 on floor. Hoerr (9.800) and Willis (9.750) also paced Iowa on the event.
"We impressed upon our team to take the lead early, and we did that," Libby said. "We have to show that we are dominating and in control. They came to beam and struggled. Champions don't struggle like that. If they want to be a champion, they have to find that mindset. It's not physical and it's not talent. It's all mentality. They are going to have to make some changes to get that fixed."
The GymHawks will return to the road for a four-team meet hosted by Texas Women's University on March 3 in Denton, Texas. Along with TWU, the GymHawks will see Brigham Young and Southeast Missouri State. Action is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. (CT).