RALEIGH, N.C. — Sophomore Adeline Kenlin advanced to the NCAA Championships after scoring a 9.950 on the balance beam during Thursday’s action. The Iowa City, Iowa, native is the first Hawkeye to move on since Clair Kaji in 2017.
The top scoring individual on each event (not on an advancing team) advances to the NCAA Championships. Kenlin, who scored a 9.950 to finish second on the event, is the 11th Hawkeye individual to advance to the NCAA Championships and the second on the beam (Kaji).
Iowa closed out its season by scoring a 197.075 on Saturday in the NCAA Raleigh Regional final. The score is the second-highest all-time, trailing only the 197.150 set in 2004. The Gymhawks posted five of the top seven times in program history this season and the 197 was just the third all-time in the record books.
Michigan claimed the regional title, finishing with a 197.800, followed by Missouri with a 197.425. The Wolverines and Tigers both advance to the NCAA Championships in Fort Worth, Texas. UCLA was third with a 197.400 and Iowa was fourth with its 197.075.
QUOTING HEAD COACH LARISSA LIBBY
“It’s hard to explain. Last year we felt so awful. It was not a good feeling walking away from (this event). This year, we got to the Sweet 16 when nobody thought we had a shot to make it once we got into this bracket.
“We showed up on the right day, so that was an amazing feeling. At the end of it, I have been dreading this moment since the end of the seniors’ freshman year. How it would end and how awful it would feel, losing these kids.
“The one thing I didn’t want as they were going through this year, is I never wanted them to regret or think they didn’t impact us this year. I didn’t want it to end early and not be ourselves and have a blast out there and do great gymnastics.
“There is going to be nobody that looks at that competition and say we didn’t belong. We put our foot down on the pedal and went the whole time. We elevated with each event, and we stayed in the mix until the very last score.
“I am sad that the seven seniors are finished, but I don’t feel sad. I feel complete. I feel we did everything we could and put it all out there. One of those teams is the defending national champions and another is made up of Olympians and National Team members.
“I don’t feel like we didn’t do a great job and send the message that we should not be overlooked. I am very proud of this team and am excited for the seniors that they were able to finish this way. I am thrilled for Adeline, that she is moving on and that the Hawkeyes are still represented at the National Championships. That was the goal, and this is the start.”
Iowa recorded its highest score of the season, finishing with a 49.225 on bars in its first rotation. Kenlin anchored, tying her career-high 9.900 for the third time this season to place fourth. Senior Carina Tolan recorded a season high with a 9.850 along with senior Alex Greenwald. Sophomore Allison Zuhlke posted a 9.825 as the leadoff, and freshman Marissa Rojas followed with a 9.825. Junior Allyson Steffensmeier finished with a 9.350 to wrap up the first rotation.
The Hawkeyes posted a 49.075 in the second rotation with Kenlin posting her second 9.900 of the day to tie for third. Senior Bridget Killian recorded a 9.825 to finish her beam career tying for 11th place. Senior Mackenzie Vance and Kaji both scored a pair of 9.800s. Rojas stuck her beam routine to finish with a 9.750, tying junior JerQuavia Henderson.
The GymHawks scored a 49.425 in their second-to-last rotation with senior Lauren Guerin tying for the floor title after scoring a 9.950 — her 12th straight meet with a 9.900 or higher. Kenlin and Henderson both posted 9.900s to tie for eighth, Greenwald scored a 9.850, and Killian and Kaji finished their floor careers by both posting 9.825s.
Iowa finished the meet with a 49.350 to break the 197 barrier for the third time in program history. Junior Linda Zivat and Henderson both posted 9.900s to tie for fourth place. Three gymnasts (Zuhlke, Guerin, and Killian) all scored a 9.850, and sophomore Kendall LaPlante scored a 9.800 for the third time this season.
Kenlin will compete at the NCAA Championships from April 14-16 at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas.