No. 17 Hawkeyes Upset No. 12 Michigan State

CORALVILLE, Iowa- The 17th-ranked University of Iowa women’s gymnastics team battled back in the final event to defeat undefeated No. 12 Michigan State, 196.100-195.725, on Saturday night inside Xtreme Arena.

The Hawkeyes placed in the top three in all four events, with JerQuavia Henderson placing first in two. The senior took first place on floor for the third week in a row, after scoring a 9.950. She set a new season-high, 9.900, on vault to tie for first place with her teammate Linda Zivat, which is her fourth event title in a row. Adeline Kenlin captured her third beam title in a row after setting a new season-high score of 9.950.

Iowa started strong, securing its second-highest vault score of the season after posting a 49.250. Henderson and Zivat tied for first place after back-to-back 9.900s, and freshman Karina Muñoz tied her career-high of 9.850 to tie for fourth. Allison Zuhlke posted a 9.825 to tie for sixth, and Avery Chambers scored a 9.775 to set a new career high. Kendall LaPlante finished with a 9.725 to go into the second event tied with Michigan State.

The Hawkeyes posted a 49.025 on bars, with Muñoz earning her first top-three bars finish after scoring a 9.850. Zuhlke finished with a score of 9.825 to earn sixth overall, and Kenlin followed with a 9.800 to tie for seventh. Kareena McCsweeney and Marissa Rojas both finished with a 9.775 to tie for ninth, and Ella Castellanos scored a 9.725.

The GymHawks scored a 48.450 on beam, with four Hawkeyes scoring a 9.800 or higher. Kenlin scored a 9.950 to set a new season-high and capture the event title. Aubrey Nick scored a 9.850 to tie for third place, which is the third time this season the junior placed in the top three. Henderson and Alexa Ebeling both scored a 9.800 to tie for sixth place, and Zuhlke posted a 9.050. Rojas scored a 9.000, and the GymHawks headed into the final event down by .625.

Iowa scored a 49.425, the second-best score this season, on the final event to take its first lead of the meet and capture the conference win. Hanna Castillo opened the floor lineup for the second straight meet and the freshman set a new career-high and tied for second place overall with her teammate, Kenlin, after scoring a 9.925. Henderson anchored for the Hawkeyes and scored a 9.950 to take first place overall. Zivat posted a 9.825 to tie for seventh place, and Freshman Bailey Libby scored a 9.800 to place ninth. Muñoz finished with a 9.775 to help give Iowa its second Big Ten win of the season.

Hear From Head Coach Larissa Libby  
“I’m not pleased with the score because that’s what we need to move on and to rise in the rankings, however, this Michigan State is an incredible team who was undefeated before tonight. I’m not thrilled at how we competed, but they’re learning. The girls were great in the beginning and not making too many mistakes, and now they’re making mistakes and having to push back. Hats off to Hannah Castillo, a freshman, who was first up on floor and scored a 9.925. It completely changed the entire energy in the arena. I don’t think that we could have done this had we not felt the energy behind us from the crowd. I don’t think that we would have finished this strong as we did if we were away or even if we were in Carver.”

Up Next 
The Hawkeyes will return to action on Feb. 18, hosting Rutgers inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena for their 70s/kids’ night. The meet is set to start at 5:00 p.m. (CT) and will be aired on B1G+ (subscription needed). Fans are encouraged to dress for the 70s theme.