GymHawks Post Second Highest Season Opening Score in Program History at Super 16

LAS VEGAS – The 18th-ranked University of Iowa women’s gymnastics team opened its season with a 196.225 score to take second place in the third session at The Super 16 Presented by Ozone on Saturday afternoon inside the Orleans Arena. 196.225 is the second-highest season opener score in program history (196.450 at No. 11 Minnesota in 2021).

Iowa finished behind No. 11 California but in front of Arizona State and No. 24 BYU

The Hawkeyes placed in the top three in three events, with senior Linda Zivat tying for the vault title after posting a 9.925. Junior Aubrey Nick tied for second place on balance beam after scoring a 9.900, and junior Adeline Kenlin scored a 9.900 on floor to tie for third.

Eight gymnasts set career bests, three gymnasts tied career bests and three GymHawks made their college debuts.

“I think that we weren’t even the strongest we could be. We talk about things like who is the strongest lineup, we have several situations that can put us in the strongest lineup. That’s nice, we have depth.

We’re using so many different people than we have in the past. We’re in a different situation because we have had the same people in the lineup for the past four years, so having different options is something new and it’s exciting but it’s also scary, so just trying to put your faith and your trust in your team and knowing that they’ve done the training.

I liked what I saw. I liked that I could see the nerves. I liked that I could see where they were struggling, but that they pushed forward, and they leaned on each other, and they figured it out. We made mistakes, but after each thing there was somebody else that took the next step up.

I’m super pleased with them because it’s been a struggle for us from the start of preseason to now. So many conversations and so many different things that we have to talk about to be a great team. What is that going to take, and what is that going to look like. I told them ‘That is what it is going to look like’. Great teams aren’t perfect, they figure out where they need to be better, and they work harder.

I couldn’t be prouder, and I think they made a huge statement, not to the gymnastics world but to themselves, to separate from their past. Today starts the journey of who they are as a team not who we were.”

The Hawkeyes scored a 48.850 overall on the bars with two Hawkeyes setting career-highs. Junior Kendall Laplante set a career-high, posting a 9.850, along with her teammate Allison Zuhlke. Kareena Mcsweeny scored a 9.775, and Nick followed with a 9.750. Marissa Rojas posted a 9.675, and freshman Gianna Masella scored a 9.475 in her first collegiate event.

The GymHawks posted a score of 49.050 on beam with two gymnasts setting career-highs. Nick tied for second after scoring a career-best 9.900 to tie for 16th overall in program history. Sophomore Alexa Ebeling posted a 9.850 to set a new career high. Rojas followed, scoring a 9.825, and Kenlin scored a 9.800. Zuhlke finished with a 9.675, while senior JerQuavia Henderson scored a 9.200.

The Hawkeyes scored a 49.125 overall on floor, with three gymnasts either tying or setting career-bests. Kenlin tied her career-high 9.900 score to tie for third place. Henderson followed, posting a 9.875 to tie for sixth place. Freshman Bailey Libby made her collegiate debut, scoring a 9.825. Zivat posted a 9.775, while Nick and Masella both made floor debuts, scoring 9.700 and 9.075 respectfully.

Iowa posted an overall score of 49.200 on vault to round out the session, with Zivat tying for the top spot. The senior tied her career best with a score of 9.925, which ties for ninth best in program history. Zuhlke placed fourth after tying her career best with a 9.875, while Henderson posted a 9.850 to place fifth. In her collegiate debut, Karina Muñoz scored a 9.800 to tie for eighth place. Laplante and Masella both scored 9.750 to keep the Hawkeyes in second place overall.

No. 11 California-Berkley – 197.475
No. 18 Iowa — 196.225
Arizona State – 195.775
No. 24 BYU – 193.775

The GymHawks remain on the road, traveling to Salt Lake City, Utah on Jan. 14 to compete in the Wasatch Classic. The evening session is scheduled to start at 9 p.m. (CT), which includes No. 11 California-Berkley, No. 17 Oregon State, No. 18 Iowa, and Pittsburgh.