IOWA CITY, Iowa – The 16th-ranked University of Iowa women’s gymnastics team broke the school floor record and had two gymnasts tie the top floor score in a 196.125-195.325 victory over No. 26 Penn State on Friday night inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Senior Lauren Guerin and junior JerQuavia Henderson both scored 9.975s on floor to not only share the event title, but also tie the programs highest score. Iowa’s 49.650 score on floor saw the Hawkeyes rally from a .600 deficit through three events to improve to 3-0 in the Big Ten.
“It was a picture-perfect ending,” said Guerin. “I will be happy with a 9.975, but hopefully I’ll get to a 10. I am so proud of this team and how we finished. I’m going to miss Carver so much.”
Iowa won three of the four events in the meet with Linda Zivat winning on vault and Henderson winning beam as well as all-around. Henderson now has 10 event titles this season.
Following the conclusion of the come-from-behind win, the program honored its six seniors in Mackenzie Vance, Allie Gilchrist, Carina Tolan, Bridget Killian, Lauren Guerin and Alex Greenwald.
The Hawkeyes posted a 49.100 on vault with two gymnasts placing in the top three. Zivat scored a 9.875 to take her second vault title of the season. Henderson followed, posting a 9.850 to tie for second place. Senior Bridget Killian scored a 9.825, and sophomore Allison Zuhlke followed with a 9.800 and senior Alex Greenwald and Guerin both scored 9.750s.
Iowa scored a 48.900 on bars with one gymnast scoring a season-high, and two gymnasts tying for third place. Junior Elinor Rogers posted a season-high 9.825 to tie for third place with teammate, Allyson Steffensmeier. Greenwald scored a 9.775, and Henderson followed with a 9.750. Kaji recorded a 9.725, and senior Carina Tolan scored a 9.150.
The GymHawks posted a 48.425 on beam with Henderson taking the event title for the first time this season. The Peoria, Illinois, native scored a 9.850 to take her beam title. Killian posted a 9.800 to tie for third place and recording her second top-three finish. Kaji scored a 9.775, and senior Mackenzie Vance followed with a 9.750. Sophomore Aubrey Nick scored a 9.300, and senior Allie Gilchrist scored an 8.900.
Iowa set a program record with a 49.650 on floor with five gymnasts scoring a 9.900 or better. The previous record was 49.600, which was set last season against Maryland and Minnesota. Guerin and Henderson both scored a season-high 9.975 to take the event title and tie the highest score in program history. It was the second time Henderson has achieved the score, as she also posted a 9.975 last season. Both gymnasts had one 10.0 from the two judges. Kaji made her floor debut and posted a 9.900 to set a season-high along with Zivat and Greenwald, who all tied for third place. Killian scored a 9.775 to assist the Hawkeyes in their comeback victory.
Henderson was the only Iowa gymnast who competed in the all-around and she took the event title for a second straight meet, scoring a 39.425.
QUOTING HEAD COACH LARISSA LIBBY
“This is why you never give up on the Hawkeyes. Fourth event, and we tied three school records. I know this team, and sometimes when you are as close as they are, these (Senior Day) meets are hard.
“We started off great on vault and then we made some mistakes. The team kept sucking each other in, so I pulled them apart and I asked my seniors this because I never had to. I said, ‘I need you to lead and use your voice’. They did a great job tonight, and I only asked them to not give up.
“On a Friday night, and all of these fans came out to see us. It was awesome to see so many student-athletes come out and support this team. We are the Hawkeyes, and we are one big group.”
The Hawkeyes are on the road the rest of the season, traveling to Piscataway, New Jersey to face Rutgers on Friday, Feb. 11. The meet is set to start at 6 p.m. (CT). Updates can be found on the team’s Twitter @IowaGymnastics.