University of Iowa graduate and former Gymhawk, Jessa Hansen Parker is in her fourth season as an assistant coach with the Iowa women’s gymnastics program.
During her first three seasons with the Hawkeyes, Hansen Parker has coached an NCAA Championships runner-up, six WCGA All-Americans, one Big Ten Freshman of the Year and 11 All-Big Ten selections. The GymHawks ended two of the three seasons ranked in the top 20 nationally, including a No. 15 national ranking in 2022.
The Hawkeyes finished the 2023 season third in the Big Ten and ranked 26th nationally. Six GymHawks finished in the top-30 in the Big Ten Conference. Iowa qualified for NCAA Regionals for the 23rd straight time (either as a team or individually). Six different gymnasts won event titles in 2023 with senior JerQuavia Henderson winning 14.
The GymHawks posted the fifth best team score in school history with a 196.925 to finish in second at the Big Five meet on February 24. They posted the highest floor score of the season and the program’s sixth-best score all-time with a 49.450 at the Wasatch Classic.
The GymHawks had four gymnasts earn Big Ten Weekly honors, which is the most in program history. Henderson led the way with two Big Ten Weekly honors earning specialist of the week on February 8 and 20. Junior Adeline Kenlin was named Gymnast of the Week on January 24 and freshman Karina Muñoz was named Freshman of the Week on March 12,
Henderson shared the Big Ten Championship floor title after scoring a 9.950 to earn her second Big Ten Floor Champion title in her career. She became the 19th Big Ten champion and ninth-floor champion in school history. She earned her third All-American honor of her career after being named to second-team on floor and became just the third Hawkeye to be a three-time All-American. Henderson also earned first-team All-Big Ten honors after winning 12 event titles and tallying 20 top-three finishes during the regular season. She tied her own school record on floor, posting a 9.975 over Minnesota, and has scored a 9.925 or higher seven times in the event. Henderson, who was named Big Ten Gymnast of the Week on Feb. 8 and 21, has a national qualifying standard (NQS) of 9.940 on floor.
Kenlin earned her third straight All-Big Ten honors after being named to second-team. She had five event tiles and 15 top-three finished in the 2023 season. he has posted a 9.950 twice on beam, which is second-best in school history as well as ties for best in school history with a 9.975.
The Hawkeyes logged 45 scores of 9.900 or higher during the 2023 season. Henderson led the team with 16 9.900 or higher scores while eight other GymHawks had at least one, including Adeline Kenlin who finished with 14.
Hansen Parker’s second season was a stellar follow-up to Year one as the GymHawks posted five of the top eight scores in program history during the season, won the first session and finished third at the Big Ten Championships before knocking off No. 6 LSU in NCAA Regionals to advance to the NCAA Regional Final for the first time under the current format. The Hawkeyes scored a 197.075 in the Regional Final — the second-highest score and just third 197 in program history.
Iowa finished the season ranked 15th nationally and the Hawkeyes climbed as high as No. 9 in the Road to Nationals poll during the regular season, which was the second-highest ranking in school history.
Sophomore Adeline Kenlin earned an individual spot at the NCAA Championships on the balance beam after scoring a 9.950 in the NCAA Regionals. She then shined on the grand stage, posting a second 9.950 to finish as the event runner-up to Olympic Gold Medalist Suni Lee. Kenlin’s finish was the highest by a Hawkeye all-time and was the highest beam score for the program at the NCAA meet. She earned first-team All-America honors at the NCAA Championships, becoming the sixth such All-American in program history.
The Hawkeyes also earned two WCGA All-America honors during the regular season, as Lauren Guerin and JerQuavia Henderson earned the distinction on floor. Iowa also had five gymnasts — Guerin, Clair Kaji, Bridget Killian, Henderson and Kenlin — garner All-Big Ten honors, a figure that tied a school record set in 2017. Henderson was a first-team honoree for a second straight season, while Guerin and Kaji earned their fourth career honor.
During the Big Ten Championships, Guerin shared the floor title for a second straight season, becoming the 18th Big Ten champion and eighth floor champion in school history. Iowa was masterful on floor during the year as Guerin and Henderson both tied school records on the event with 9.975s and the team set a school record on floor, scoring a 49.650 in the comeback win over Penn State.
The Hawkeyes finished the year with 64 scores of 9.900 or higher during the season and nine different gymnasts won at least one event title.
Academically, the program shined with a program record 14 Academic All-Big Ten honorees. Twenty-two Hawkeyes earned Dean’s List honors over the course of the fall and spring semesters and five gymnasts were President’s List honorees.
Hansen Parker’s first season on the coaching staff was one for the ages, as she helped lead the GymHawks to one of the best seasons in program history in 2021. Iowa finished the regular season with an 8-0 record to claim the first Big Ten title in program history. The team posted four of the top 10 scores in school history during the season, including a 197.050 — the second-best score all-time — at the NCAA Tuscaloosa Regional. The Hawkeyes also won the Big Five Meet in Ann Arbor, and finished tied for third at the Big Ten Championships.
Two Hawkeyes — Guerin and Henderson — shared Big Ten floor titles, making them the third and fourth Big Ten floor champions in school history and the first since 2004. Guerin, Henderson and Kaji were all named to the Big Ten All-Championships team.
Iowa climbed as high as No. 7 in the Road to Nationals rankings — the highest in program history — before finishing the year ranked 17th. Iowa was rated as the No. 1 floor team in the country for much of the year and the group finished fourth nationally. The GymHawks set the school record on floor, scoring a 49.600 in a tri-meet against Minnesota and Maryland on Feb. 13 in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Hansen Parker coached four All-Big Ten selections, including first-teamers Kenlin, Kaji and Henderson. Kenlin also became the fourth Hawkeye all-time to earn Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors.
For the first time in school history, Iowa had three All-Americans in the same season as Guerin, Henderson and Kenlin all earned the distinction. Guerin was a first-team selection with a national qualifying score of 9.950 on floor. Henderson and Kenlin also tied school records — on floor and beam, respectively — as both athletes posted 9.975 scores (including one perfect 10.000) to tie records previously set in 2004 and 2002.
Iowa was honored early and often in 2021 as the program had a school-record nine Big Ten weekly honors. Kenlin was recognized four times, while Kaji (three) and Guerin (two) were multi-time honorees.
Academically, the Hawkeyes had 11 student-athletes earn Academic All-Big Ten honors, six were Big Ten Distinguished Scholars, and 21 earned Dean’s List honors over the course of the fall and spring semester.
Hansen Parker returned to Iowa City after serving four seasons as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at UC Davis. While with the Aggies, Hansen Parker was tabbed as the 2019 Assistant Coach of the Year by the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) and in the West Region by the Women’s Collegiate Gymnastics Association.
During the 2019 season, Hansen Parker’s beam crew finished with a national-qualifying score of 49.075 to rank 23rd nationally and the team posted two of the program’s top six all-time beam scores. Seven of the program’s top 10 beam scores (including the top four) and all five of the individual school-record 9.925s came under Hansen Parker’s watch.
Hansen Parker coached three NCAA qualifiers and two MPSF balance beam champions — Alexis Brown (2018) and Katy Nogaki (2017) — during her UC Davis tenure. A total of 14 student-athletes garnered All-MPSF honors, including nine first team selections from 2017-20.
Prior to joining the UC Davis staff, Hansen Parker was an assistant coach for three seasons at California Berkeley. During that time, the Golden Bears finished 16th, 18th, and seventh nationally, culminating with a 2016 appearance at the NCAA Championships — just the second in program history.
She helped Alicia Asturias (2014) and Toni-Ann Williams (2015, 2016) to All-America honors, with Williams later becoming the first Cal gymnast to qualify for the Olympic Games.
Hansen Parker also served as a coach for the Emeryville-based Head Over Heels club during her time at Cal. Working with athletes of Levels 3-10, she helped guide teams and individuals to Junior Olympic state, region, and national championships.
Hansen Parker was a four-year letterwinner as a Gymhawk from 2008-12, earning two All-Big Ten, three Academic All-Big Ten, and two Big Ten Sportsmanship Award honors. She was also a NACGC Scholastic All-American from 2010-12, a Dean’s List honoree from 2009-11, a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar, and was a part Iowa’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee from 2009-12.
Prior to her collegiate career, Hansen Parker was a teammate with 2008 Olympic gold medalist Shawn Johnson at Chow’s Gymnastics, the same club that later produced Team USA members Gabby Douglas and Rachel Gowey.
The Des Moines, Iowa, native graduated from the University of Iowa in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communication and minors in studio art and sport studies. She and her husband, Bryan, were married in 2020.