March 11, 2009


By Amy Farnum Novin

Iowa’s Jennifer Simbhudas notched three career-best scores as she took first place in three events last week in the Hawkeyes’ victory over Kentucky.

The native of Markham, Ontario, compiled a career-high 39.525 for the all-around victory as she scored no lower than 9.825 in her four events.  Simbhudas registered a 9.975 on the balance beam to tie a career-best, and posted a 9.9 on the vault for the second straight week. 

Simbhudas garnered her third career Big Ten Gymnast of the Week award for helping the Hawkeyes to their highest team total of the season in the win over the Wildcats.  Iowa has won four of their last five dual meets.

COOL AND COLLECTED:  Georgia continued its dominant campaign with the team’s second-best score of the season and highest road total of the year as the Gym Dogs topped No. 6 UCLA on March 8.

Senior Courtney Kupets collected her ninth all-around victory of the season, along with wins on the bars and floor, while Courtney McCool notched her first career 10.0 on the balance beam to lead the Gym Dogs.

“This team is on a mission,” said Georgia head coach Suzanne Yoculan. “They say they are unstoppable, and I am starting to believe them.”

The four-time defending NCAA champions will conclude the regular season by hosting Michigan Saturday.

SHIRE SHINES:  Missouri’s Sarah Shire earned her sixth career Big 12 Gymnast of the Week award for her consistently strong performances last week as the Tigers took first place at the Eagle Invitational.

The junior from Columbia, Mo., recorded her eighth victory in the all-around of the year, and a share of the balance beam title as she improved her season win total to 23.  Shire also earned a second-place finish on the bars with a 9.875.

Shire is ranked ninth in the all-around this week with a regional qualifying score of 39.410, and fourth on the balance beam with a 9.90 RQS.

BUILDING MOMENTUM:  LSU vaulted five spots to No. 6 in the latest national rankings after posting its second-highest score (197.150) on the season in a defeat of NC State on March 7 as the Tigers won their fifth straight dual meet.

Junior Susan Jackson turned in one of the best performances of her career as she claimed four individual titles, including the all-around with a career-best score of 39.700.  The native of Spring, Texas, also registered a career-high 9.950 to win the balance beam, and tied her season-high with a 9.925 on the bars.

Jackson has now won 12 individual titles on the year, and was named Southeastern Conference Gymnast of the Week for her efforts.