No. 16 Iowa Rolls Past Nebraska

LINCOLN, Neb – The 16th-ranked University of Iowa women’s gymnastics team defeated No. 36 Nebraska, 196.475-195.300, inside the Bob Devaney Sports Center on Monday night. Iowa gymnasts placed in the top three in all events, and Iowa took home first-place event titles in four of the five events.

Freshman Karina Muñoz captured three event titles and tied her career highs on vault and floor. The New Jersey native competed in the All-Around for the first time in her career and placed first after scoring a 39.350. She tied her career high, 9.850, on vault to tie for first place with her two teammates, Linda Zivat and JerQuavia Henderson. A late lineup change saw Muñoz make her season debut anchoring the beam lineup where she scored a 9.925 to tie with Adeline Kenlin for first place. Lastly, she came in second on floor after tying her career-high 9.875 to finish behind Henderson who won the overall floor title after posting a 9.925.

The GymHawks scored a 48.825 with Ella Castellanos setting a new career-high and tying for second place with Kenlin after both scored a 9.800. Allison Zuhlke scored a 9.775 to take fourth place overall, and Kareena McSweeny followed with a 9.750 to tie for fifth. Muñoz posted a 9.700, and Kendall LaPlante scored a 9.175.

Iowa posted a 49.125 to take the lead back against Nebraska, with Zivat, Henderson, and Muñoz all scoring a 9.850 to tie for first place. Zuhlke finished with a 9.825 to tie for fifth place, and LaPlante scored a 9.750. Avery Chambers scored a 9.650 in her collegiate vault debut.

The Hawkeyes scored a 49.225 with Henderson taking first place overall. The senior scored her second 9.925 of the season to secure her second-floor title of the season. Muñoz tied her career high, 9.875, to finish in second place overall, and Hanna Castillo scored a 9.825 in her season floor debit to set a new career high. Freshman Bailey Libby, Zivat, and Kenlin all scored a 9.800 to tie for fifth.

Iowa posted a new season-high 49.300 with three gymnasts either setting a new season or career-high. Kenlin and Muñoz closed out the night with back-to-back 9.925s to tie for first place overall. Henderson came in fourth place after scoring a 9.875, and Zuhlke earned a new season-high score of 9.875 to take sixth place. Alexa Ebeling posted a 9.750 and Aubrey Nick followed with a 9.725 to help the Hawkeyes end their final event strong.

Muñoz is the first Hawkeye to compete in the All-Around this season. She scored a 39.350 in her collegiate all-around debut.

Hear From Head Coach Larissa Libby

“Rough night for us. Fifth week in and I think all of the travel and the 8 p.m. start tonight was just a little tougher than anticipated. Overall, I’m very proud of our team for not giving up tonight. They could have easily thrown in the towel after bars, and given in to the momentum that Nebraska created on their first event, but they didn’t. Tonight they taught themselves how to handle adversity. They recognized when they were in trouble and struggling and they figured out how to get back on track. No, it wasn’t the greatest night from a gymnastics standpoint, but there was definitely positive things going on that will help us down the road.

Karina moving in to the all-around tonight was huge for many reasons. It has always been the plan to compete her as an all-arounder but we wanted to make sure she was comfortable with collegiate competition and her role within the team before we tried it. While it wasn’t in the plans for this evening, a few different circumstances made the choice much easier. As with former freshman, Marissa Rojas, Karina anchored the beam lineup tonight, scoring a 9.925 just as Marissa did her first time anchoring the beam team. Karina’s huge beam score not only allowed her to win the all-around title tonight, but it surpassed our lowest counting score from the beginning of the year.

For now, we will get home and take a day to rest. After that, we will get back in the gym, take a look at the videos from tonight, and figure out where we went wrong and how to correct those mistakes before Saturday. How do we stay motivated with two meets so close together? Simple. We are coming home to compete in Xtream with the greatest fans in the country. When you have Hawkeye Nation backing you that’s all you need to be motivated.”

Up Next
The Hawkeyes host Michigan State in their first-ever meet inside Xtream Arena in Coralville, Iowa on Saturday, February 18. The meet is set to start at 5 p.m. (CT) and fans are encouraged to wear black.