GymHawks earn first Big Ten win against the Scarlet Knights


David Harmantas

Iowa Gymnast Allie Gilchrist celebrates with her team during a gymnastics meet against Rutgers on Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Scarlet Knights 194.575 to 191.675.

Jess Westendorf, Sports reporter

The Iowa women’s gymnastics team garnered its first Big Ten win of the season on Jan. 26 in Carver-Hawkeye, dropping Rutgers, 194.575-191.625.

After losing its first Big Ten meet to Minnesota, the victory over Rutgers gives the GymHawks — especially its young gymnasts — some momentum.

“We are just going to keep plugging away,” Iowa head coach Larissa Libby said. “The thing with this team is that anything you ask them to do, they’re going to do it. It’s never about how much they’re working or the effort they’re putting in. We have the right difficulty, we have the right people. We are just young and need a little bit more time.”

Iowa has some impressive young GymHawks. Freshmen Bridget Killian and Lauren Guerin combined won firsts and recorded season highs in three events.

Killian was an absolute star, scoring a 9.750 on vault and a 9.725 on beam to lead the GymHawks to an overall score of 48.350 on vault and a 48.200 on beam.

“I thought that, overall, we made a lot of improvements and adjustments to help us focus on each routine individually so we can move forward,” Killian said.

Her teammates’ support helped to set the atmosphere and motivate her to strive for success.

“We really have the best team, and I think it is really special to have all of them behind me,” Killian said. “They are the ones who make the best me; it is an amazing feeling to know that I have their support.”

Guerin saved her best performance for last when the GymHawks took to perform on the floor. She hit and stuck each part of her floor routine to give her a 9.875.

“It was so much fun with this team, and the atmosphere was amazing,” Guerin said. “I started off on vault and wanted to focus on that and not get ahead of myself, then I was just cheering on for bars and beam, then when it came time for floor, I was just focusing in on what was ahead of me.”

Once Guerin got on the floor, she was spot on, so it was a bit of shock that she actually changed up her routines before getting on the floor. Though no one could have guessed, she forgot a bit of her routine.

“I just changed my routine a little bit,” she said. “I moved it down to two passes, and I honestly forgot my dance there a little bit, but overall, it worked out well.”

Senior Nicole Chow also took home first place on bars (9.900), helping the GymHawks score 49.125. Right behind her was freshman Jax Kranitz (9.875), a season best.

Getting this victory means more to Iowa now as it prepares to hit the road to take on Ohio State in Columbus.

“Going into the rest of the season and Ohio State, it gives us a lot of confidence,” junior Clair Kaji said. “We got that first down that we always talk about. We take it one step at a time, and this is just another building block to where we want to be at the end of the season.”

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