IOWA CITY, Iowa – The 18th-ranked University of Iowa women’s gymnastics team opened its season with a 195.950-194.100 victory over Eastern Michigan on Saturday night inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
The Hawkeyes won four events in the meet with junior JerQuavia Henderson grabbing two event titles. The junior from Peoria, Illinois posted a 9.925 on vault and floor. Senior Alex Greenwald won bars with a 9.900, and sophomore Adeline Kenlin scored a 9.925 to take the beam title.
Henderson tied two career bests, three gymnasts tied career bests and two GymHawks made their debuts.
QUOTING HEAD COACH LARISSA LIBBY
“The first one is always so hard, and this year and last year is double hard. Just this week, we were surrounded by a lot of change, with COVID-19 and Omicron. In a world that we thought we wouldn’t be back to again, and it’s scary. We saw 10 teams that didn’t make it to their first competition.
“You always want to win, and I keep reminding myself, the girls, and the staff that at the end of the day… this is an opportunity that a lot of people will not get to have this year. The world is changing so much, and I am grateful that we made it here, and I am grateful that Eastern Michigan made it here.
“I am proud of my team. There is never a time that they don’t push hard or don’t work hard, they listen and stay together, which is one of their best qualities. I am so excited for the fans to be back. It was so great to hear people clap again. We have a lot of things to fix, but we are in the mix. Hopefully our score will keep up there.
“We made a lot of mistakes, and we know we easily can be high 196. That would have been nice, but we are a week earlier than last year. I am pleased that they are happy, healthy, and safe. We will push a little harder going into the next week.”
Iowa posted an overall score 48.950 with the team occupying six spots. Henderson tied her career best with a score of 9.925 to notch the win, while Kenlin and junior Linda Zivat tied for second with 9.775s. Seniors Lauren Guerin and Bridget Killian scored a 9.750 and 9.725 to place fourth and fifth, while freshman Marissa Rojas posted a 9.675 in her collegiate debut.
The Hawkeyes scored an overall 48.625 on the bars with two Hawkeyes setting career-highs. Greenwald set a career-high score of 9.900 to take the win, while senior Mackenzie Vance tied for second with a career-high score of 9.850. Senior Carina Tolan scored a 9.775 and junior Allyson Steffensmeier scored a 9.600.
The GymHawks posted an overall score of 49.150 on beam with two gymnasts taking first and second place. Kenlin scored a 9.900 to win the event title and senior Clair Kaji was the runner-up with a 9.900 score. Vance, sophomore Aubrey Nick, and senior Allie Gilchrist all scored a 9.750, while senior Bridget Killian posted a 9.650.
The Hawkeyes posted a 49.225 to round out the dual and the team earned the top four spots. Henderson, the reigning Big Ten floor champion, scored a 9.925 to take the event title. Guerin was second with a 9.900, while Greenwald scored an 9.825 to take third and Killian was fourth with a 9.800. Kenlin and Zivat both scored a 9.775 to tie for fifth.
Kenlin was the only Hawkeye to compete in all-around scoring a 38.175 to finish third.
The GymHawks return to Carver-Hawkeye Arena to host their Princess/Superhero Night against Texas Woman’s University on Jan. 14 at 6:30 p.m. (CT). The meet will be streamed on B1G+ and tickets can be purchased online at hawkeyesports.com/tickets