March 16, 2009
The University of Iowa women's gymnastics team will compete at the 2009 Big Ten Championships this Saturday, hosted by the University of Illinois. Competition will take place at Huff Hall in Champaign and begin at 2 p.m. (CDT).
The meet will be shown live on the Big Ten Network, marking the fourth time Iowa has been on the Network this season. Iowa won a quad meet at Michigan State Jan. 17 but dropped road dual meets at Ohio State (Feb. 7) and at Minnesota (March 14).
Scouting The Big Ten
Penn State comes into this weekend's Big Ten Championships leading the pack with a regional qualifying score of 195.920 and a rank of 13th nationally. Michigan (No. 15), Illinois (No. 16), Minnesota (T- No. 17) and Ohio State (T.- No. 17) are close behind, while Michigan State (No. 26) and Iowa (No. 27) round out the conference.
Last Time Out
The GymHawks closed out the dual meet slate last Saturday at rival Minnesota, but fell despite putting up their second-best team point total of the season (195.125). Senior Jenifer Simbhudas, last week's Big Ten Gymnast of the Week, finished third in the all-around (39.325) and led Iowa on uneven bars (9.8), balance beam (9.850) and floor exercise (9.875). Sophomore Houry Gebeshian finished fourth in the all-around (39.150) and sophomore Rebecca Simbhudas came in sixth (38.775).
Iowa's vault lineup continued its superb efforts, scoring a meet-high 49.0 as a team. Sophomore Arielle Sucich recorded a career-high effort (9.850; tie for first), with Gebeshian and both Simbhudas sisters finishing in a three-way tie for fifth place (9.8).
Despite Iowa's dual meet loss last weekend to Minnesota, the GymHawks hold a record of 10-5, including an even 2-2 mark in the Big Ten. Iowa has equalled last season's win total (10-4-1 in 2008). The GymHawks have won four straight home meets and four of six overall.
Iowa is also 7-3 against ranked opponents this season, with wins coming against Michigan State, West Virginia, Illinois, Iowa State (twice), Maryland and Kentucky.
Last Year At Big Tens...
At the 2008 Big Ten Championships from Ann Arbor, MI, the GymHawks finished in fifth place (194.775). Six GymHawks reached top ten finishes, including Gebeshian on uneven bars (T-6, 9.850), R. Simbhudas on balance beam (T-8, 9.825), and J. Simbhudas on floor exercise (T-10, 9.800). Brandi Loffer was an all-around competitor, finishing in 12th place (38.825).
Michigan won the conference championship last season, scoring a 196.750, a full point higher than second place Illinois.