Dec. 3, 2011
Editor's Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa's Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Gymnastics competitions don't "officially" begin for another month, but that isn't stopping the University of Iowa men's and women's teams from hosting its own event at the UI Field House tomorrow.
The annual Black and Gold intrasquad meet is scheduled for Sunday at 2 p.m., with combined men's and women's teams competing for this year's bragging rights.
Both head coaches use the event as a test to see how far along their athletes are in the season's training schedule. JD Reive and Larissa Libby both understand their gymnasts aren't ready to take on a full competition a month early, but are eager to see what their athletes look like in a competitive setting.
"It's really early in the season for us," Reive said. "It's great for us to see how far along we are heading into the holiday break. We have a plan that we put in place for the year. This is a chance for us to see if we are on track with that plan."
Libby is anxious to see how her younger athletes perform in a different setting.
"It's really hard to duplicate a competitive situation," Libby said. "This is as close as you can get with the crowd, the judges and the lineups. This is also an opportunity to see what the younger student-athletes can do under pressure and for them to get that experience before our first meet."
Even though it's early in the season, both coaches are looking for specifics out of their squads.
"I want to see the mental toughness out of our team," Libby said. "We haven't paced to be completely ready at this point. I still want to see everything done very well. I'm not concerned about falls. I just want the complete package to be there."
"On paper, we are already ahead of where we were in April at the NCAA Championships last year," Reive said. "That's exciting to see. I want to see our guys making progress and showing that they have stuck to the plan we put in place for them."
While the event has its positives in terms of competition, the Black and Gold event is mostly for the fans.
"There are very few college programs left in the country that have both men's and women's gymnastics," Libby said. "This is a great opportunity to showcase gymnastics at its finest. It's meant to be fun for the fans more than anything else."
"We can get people in the gym, show them gymnastics and get our fans amped for the season," Reive said. "Iowa City will be hosting great gymnastics this year. We have some great opponents coming to Carver-Hawkeye Arena, and we are hosting the Big Ten Championships. This is the first opportunity for our fans to get a taste of Iowa gymnastics."