IOWA CITY, Iowa – The No. 17 ranked University of Iowa women’s gymnastics team scored a season high 196.875 – tied for the fifth-best score in school history – in a 196.825-195.525 victory over No. 43 Nebraska on Saturday in front of 2,425 fans inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
The Hawkeyes set three season-high event scores and had four gymnasts win event titles, including junior JerQuavia Henderson, who won the all-around. Henderson and junior Linda Zivat tied for first on the vault, junior Allyson Steffensmeier placed first on bars, and senior Lauren Guerin and Henderson shared the floor title.
Iowa posted a season-high 49.250 on vault with two gymnasts setting career-highs. Zivat set a career-high score of 9.900 to tie for first place with Henderson. Senior Bridget Killian recorded a season-high 9.850 to place third. Sophomore Allison Zuhlke made her vault debut, scoring a career-best 9.800 to tie for fifth place with Guerin. Sophomore Kendall Laplante scored a 9.625.
The Hawkeyes set a season-high score of 49.175 with four gymnasts either tying or scoring a season-high. Steffensmeier posted a season-high and tied her career-best after scoring a 9.925 to take her second bar title of the season. Senior Clair Kaji scored a 9.850 to tie her season-high and place fourth. Senior Carina Tolan scored a 9.800 along with her teammates junior Elinor Rogers who set a new season-high, and Henderson who tied her season-high. Senior Alex Greenwald posted a 9.775.
The Gymhawks posted a 48.975 on beam with Henderson tying for second place in her season debut. The Peoria, Illinois, native scored a 9.850. Killian and freshman Marissa Rojas scored 9.800s with sophomore Aubrey Nick behind with a score of 9.775. Kaji posted a 9.750 and senior Mackenzie Vance scored a 9.650.
Iowa posted a season-high 49.425 on floor, which is just shy of the 49.450, which ranks sixth in program history. Four gymnasts either set or tied their season-highs and two gymnasts tied for the event title. Henderson and Guerin both earned their third-floor titles of the season after scoring 9.925s. Killian posted a 9.875 to set a season-high and take third. Greenwald set a new season-high and tied with Zivat for fourth place with a 9.850. Rojas scored a 9.825 for a season high.
Henderson was the only Hawkeye gymnast to compete in the all-around and she set a career high 39.475 in her season debut to finish first.
“It’s a blessing every weekend that I get to put on sparkly and do what I love to do,” said Henderson. “It means a lot for this team to be 2-0 in the Big Ten. We’ve pushed and pushed and pushed to be where we are. For us, it just means we’re making our mark, we’re getting recognized, we’re getting the respect that we deserve that we’ve worked for.”
QUOTING HEAD COACH LARISSA LIBBY
“This is a great environment to be in. Nebraska is a perennial powerhouse in gymnastics and their head coach was a national champion, she knows exactly what it takes to be great, and we were matched all the way around. I am on cloud nine and am so excited for the team and the potential.
“We had a lot of different people and a lot of young and up-and-coming (gymnasts compete today). We’re trying to push the envelope a little bit and are trying to be smarter and look big picture, which is so hard to do. (With COVID), you don’t know if you’re guaranteed the next day, let alone over the long haul, so we’re trying to give ourselves enough depth to get there. If we don’t use our young ones now, we’ll never know whether they could.
“I’m proud of these kids and their resilience and the way they push each other. The way they stand behind each other and we would not have gone that high if they didn’t trust each other.”
The Hawkeyes return to Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Friday, Feb. 4 to host their final home meet of the season. Iowa will face Penn State in its Senior Night/Cancer Awareness Meet at 6:30 p.m. (CT).