By Taylor McNitt
On the women’s end, 6:30 p.m. in Ames will mark the start of the annual Cy-Hawk meet. As a side dish, No. 19 Missouri will also compete.
“It’s a tough weekend,” said women’s gymnastics head coach Larissa Libby. “Obviously, we don’t want to be the one that blows it. But to be honest, I’ve tried not to focus my team on that. Making sure our mentality is all about the lineups we’ve got to put up, the types of routines that have to go, and just being completely locked and loaded for championship season. That being said, yes, we want to have a good showing.”
No. 29 Iowa is not only outranked by Missouri, but also No. 25 Iowa State. Missouri tops all four events, but the GymHawks outrank the Cyclones on beam and floor.
The key to the GymHawks’ success will be to focus on the details of their routines.
“We’re just keeping the same focus of attacking every handstand, every landing, every routine,” said senior Nikki Youd. “It is against Iowa State, in the back of our mind, but we really want to use this to get another exhibition out there, to just practice getting into championship mode before it actually starts.”
With preparation for postseason on their minds, the results of tonight’s meet shouldn’t affect the GymHawks too much.
For the men, their meet on March 11 will be their last in Carver-Hawkeye for the season.
“I’m excited to get out there for the last time, especially coming off of last weekend’s huge upset,” said senior Mark Springett. “Just knowing that we can go in there and compete with any other team, especially Minnesota, which is traditionally a team that has beaten us in the past. Penn State was supposed to beat us, but we sure showed them. So we’re just ready to get out there and stick it to Minnesota.”
Sticking it to the Gophers won’t be as easy for the Hawkeyes as laid out in words. Minnesota ranks No. 6 with an average team score of 403.158, under 1 point lower than Iowa’s season-high team score.
Men’s gymnastics head coach JD Reive isn’t too concerned about the rankings, however.
“We’re coming off a great meet with Penn State,” he said. “If we’re able to continue the momentum that we had in training last week and in competition, and ideally, this week, we should be very well positioned to do that again.”
No. 11 Air Force will also compete in the meet, but No. 9 Iowa is, understandably, more concerned about Minnesota.
The Hawkeyes’ previous match, against Penn State and Arizona, was Iowa’s first win of the season. Senior Dylan Ellsworth said turning it into a streak is simple.
“[We need to do] exactly what we did last week, and that [means] understanding that if we’re going to win, we have to hit all of our routines,” he said.