Quest Hayden is in his third season as an assistant coach with the University of Iowa women’s gymnastics program.
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.
During his first season in Iowa City, Hayden coached the GymHawks to 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.
Hayden joined the Hawkeyes following stints at North Carolina, Michigan and Penn State. He spent the 2020 season at North Carolina, where he helped the Tar Heels to a No. 41 national ranking. Hayden coached Elizabeth Culton to All-America honors and to an EAGL bar and all-around title. Culton also represented the Tar Heels at the NCAA Athens Regional.
North Carolina opened the season with a school record score of 195.200 against New Hampshire and the program finished 39th nationally on the bars, moving up 11 spots from the 2020 season.
Prior to moving to Chapel Hill, Hayden served as a volunteer assistant at Michigan during the 2020 season. He was named the WCGA Northeast Regional Assistant Coach of the Year after helping the Wolverines to the 2020 Big Ten regular season title. The team posted the top two team scores in program history with a 197.950 at the Elevate the Stage meet in Toledo, Ohio, and a 197.900 at home against New Hampshire.
Hayden spent the 2018-19 season as a volunteer assistant coach at Penn State, helping the Nittany Lions to a 10-9 record and a fifth-place finish at the Big Ten Championships. He also worked for Centre Elite Gymnastics in State College, Pennsylvania, from 2016-19, helping coach bars and spotting on floor, while managing the strength and conditioning program.
Hayden was a member of the United States’ 2013 Junior National Team. He competed collegiately at Penn State from 2015-18, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology. He was a team captain as a senior and competed on four events during the team’s 2015 Big Ten Championship run.
Hayden and his wife, Kira, were married in June, 2022.