The 12th-ranked University of Iowa women’s gymnastics team will travel to Ann Arbor, Michigan, to compete in the Big Five Meet on Saturday at the Crisler Center. The Hawkeyes will square off against No. 5 Michigan, No. 30 Penn State, No. 31 Michigan State and No. 43 Rutgers. Action is set to begin at 1 p.m. (CT). Due to the coronavirus pandemic, there will be no general admittance to the meet.
• Saturday’s meet will be streamed live on B1G+.
• Fans can follow along via live results at hawkeyesports.com.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
•The GymHawks are 5-1 overall (5-0 in Big Ten) and are 12th in the Road to Nationals rankings with an average score of 196.458 . The Hawkeyes started the season ranked 25th before climbing to No. 9 for three straight weeks. Iowa’s No. 7 ranking during the week of Feb. 15 was the highest in school history.
• The Hawkeyes posted three season-high scores in the victory over No. 29 Maryland en route to a score of 196.775. The score is tied for fifth-best in school history and is the second highest by the program since 2004.
• Iowa currently has a No. 1 national ranking and leads the Big Ten on floor with a 49.4383 average. Clair Kaji is currently No. 2 in the Big Ten and is tied eighth nationally on floor with an average of 9.908. Iowa set the program record with a 49.600 against Maryland.
• The Hawkeyes are third in the Big Ten and 16th nationally on vault and 25th in the country on uneven bars.
• Iowa posted a season high on beam, tallying a 49.125 against Nebraska on Feb. 20.
• Iowa has earned six Big Ten weekly honors through the first five weeks with Lauren Guerin, Clair Kaji, and Adeline Kenlin all being multiple award winners. The Hawkeyes had a record seven weekly honorees during the 2004 season.
PREVIOUS BIG FIVE MEET
Iowa competed against Nebraska, Ohio State, Illinois, and Rutgers last year in the Big Five Meet. Nebraska came away with the win, scoring a 196.750 followed by Ohio State with 196.475. Iowa posted a 195.725 while also recording its highest score of the season on floor with a 49.275. Erin Castle completed her first all-around, finishing with a 39.100.
A START FOR THE AGE
The Hawkeyes climbed to as high as No. 7 in the national rankings during the week of Feb. 15, which was the highest ranking in program history. Iowa started the season ranked 25th in the preseason poll before jumping 16 spots to No. 9 in the rankings following a season-opening 196.450 at Minnesota.
• Iowa posted its highest score of the season and its highest score under Libby — a 196.800 — in a come-from-behind victory over No. 11 Minnesota. The score is the highest since 2004.
• The Hawkeyes followed up the score with a 196.775 against Minnesota and Maryland. The score was tied for sixth all-time.
• Iowa’s 196.450 was a high under Larissa Libby in a season opener and in the month of January. Iowa followed it up with a 196.550 in the decisive win over No. 13 Ohio State.
Q’S SCHOOL RECORD
Sophomore JerQuavia Henderson tied a school record on floor, scoring a 9.975 in Iowa’s tri-meet against Minnesota and Maryland. The Illinois native received a 10.000 from one judge en route to her career-best score. Her performance tied Alexis Maday and Stephanie Gran for the school record, which was set during the 2004 season.
KAJI NOMINATED FOR AAI AWARD
Senior Clair Kaji is one of 30 nominees for the American Athletic, Inc. (AAI) award, one presented to the most outstanding senior female gymnasts in the country. This award can be considered the Heisman Trophy of women’s gymnastics.
• Freshman Adeline Kenlin scored a 9.950 on beam — a career-best — to finish as the event winner against Nebraska. The 9.950 is tied for the second highest score in school history.
• Sophomore JerQuavia Henderson and junior Bridget Killian set new season bests after posting a 9.850 on vault against Nebraska on Feb. 20.
Sophomore JerQuavia Henderson is the only Hawkeye to compete in all-around this season. The Illinois native posted a career-best — a 39.325 — in her debut at Illinois en route to the all-around win. Henderson has a 39.175 average, which puts her seventh in the Big Ten and No. 38 nationally.
HAWKEYE EVENT WINNERS
Iowa has shared or won 15 individual events this season. Senior Clair Kaji has won five event titles, junior Lauren Guerin and Iowa City native Adeline Kenlin have three wins and sophomore JerQuavia Henderson has a two victories. Junior Alex Greenwald and senior Emma Hartzler have one victory apiece.
B1G WEEKLY HONOREES
• Junior Lauren Guerin was the Big Ten Specialist of the Week on Feb. 8 after scoring a 9.950 and sharing the event title on floor against No. 11 Minnesota.
• Adeline Kenlin earned her second Big Ten Freshman of the Week honor on Feb. 8 after placing third on the bars and beam posting a 9.85 and 9.875. She was award her first honor on Jan. 25 after sharing the bar title and placing third on vault in the win over Ohio State.
• Senior Clair Kaji was named the Big Ten Specialist of the Week on Feb. 1 after winning floor (9.900) and finishing as runner up on the beam (9.875) and bars (9.725) against Illinois. Kaji was also earned the distinction Jan. 25 after earning a share of beam title and tying a career-high on floor for a second consecutive week.
• Guerin was also the Big Ten Specialist of the Week on Jan. 18 after sharing the floor title at Minnesota. She posted a 9.950 for the fourth time in her career.
IN THE RECORD BOOKS
Five Hawkeyes currently are in the Iowa record books. They are as follows:
• JerQuavia Henderson – t1st – 9.975 – Floor
• Clair Kaji – t2nd – 9.950 – Beam
• Adeline Kenlin – t2nd – 9.950 – Beam
• Lauren Guerin – t4th – 9.950 – Floor
• Allyson Steffensmeier – 6th – 9.925 – Uneven Bars
• Lauren Guerin – 9th – 9.925 – Vault
• Lauren Guerin – t11 – 9.925 – Floor
• Clair Kaji – t11 – 9.925 – Floor
• Clair Kaji – t14th – 9.900 – Beam
• Clair Kaji – t15th – 9.900 – Uneven Bars
Following a four-year stint as an assistant coach at UC Davis, former Hawkeye Jessa Hansen Parker has returned to Iowa City as an assistant coach. Hansen Parker was a four-year letterwinner at Iowa from 2008-12 where she earned two All-Big Ten, three Academic All-Big Ten, and two Big Ten Sportsmanship Award honors.
19 & COUNTING
Head coach Larissa Libby has led GymHawks to 19 straight NCAA Regional appearances (either as a team or individually). The 2021 season is Libby’s 17th as Iowa’s head coach and 21st overall with the program.
FOLLOW THE HAWKEYES
For a behind the scenes look at the program, follow the GymHawks via social media at Facebook/IowaGymnastics, Twitter/@IowaGymnastics, and Instagram (@IowaGymnastics).
The Hawkeyes will host No. 19 Illinois on March 6 inside Carver Hawkeye Arena. The meet will serve as Iowa’s Senior Day and it will begin at 1 p.m. (CT).