GymHawks lose another close matchup

The GymHawks lost another heartbreaker, while the men sent three athletes to Las Vegas for the Winter Cup.

Iowa+Gymnast+Clair+Kaji+performs+on+the+balance+beam+during+a+gymnastics+meet+against+Rutgers+on+Saturday%2C+Jan.+26%2C+2019.+The+Hawkeyes+defeated+the+Scarlet+Knights+194.575+to+191.675.+

David Harmantas

Iowa Gymnast Clair Kaji performs on the balance beam 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 recorded a new season-high team score, but fell to Illinois 195.650 – 195.400 in a close match-up on Feb. 16, while the men sent three athletes to Las Vegas for the Winter Cup.

It was a hard fought battle and though the Iowa women came up short, the GymHawks held their heads up high with the success they were able to achieve.

“We lost tonight but we aren’t going to walk away upset and we shouldn’t,” head coach Larissa Libby said. “They controlled the things that they could control and they did what we wanted them to do. The Big Ten is so good. You want the conference to be that way, you want to be challenged.”

Along with registering a new team season-high team score of 195.400, the Hawkeyes also registered new season-highs on bars (49.200) and floor (49.400).

The GymHawks stood out and went all out to garner those new season-highs while supporting each other.

“We had high energy and we were so happy with the end result, no matter what happened we put it all out there today,” junior Clair Kaji said. “We went all out and got after it and we were there for each other throughout the whole competition.”

Freshman Jax Kranitz and Senior Nicole Chow both scored 9.900s on bars, and Kranitz scored her career-best while Chow tied her career-best.

But it was a sight to see once the GymHawks rotated to floor. Iowa’s energy and passion came out through each one of the gymnast’s routines.

Floor was Iowa’s best rotation by far with three GymHawks earning 9.900s – sophomore Erin Castle and Kaji both earned new career-highs while freshman Lauren Guerin tied her career-best.

After Guerin scored her 9.900, she and Libby had a moment of celebration but it was actually more than just celebrating.

“It was amazing; it was one of the best routines that I have done,” Guerin said. “[Libby] was so proud of me and it is so rewarding to perform so well and have her be so happy for me.”

The GymHawks also came through with a trio scoring 9.850 on floor. Freshman Allie Gilchrist, junior Charlotte Sullivan, and freshman Bridget Killian all earned 9.850s.

As the GymHawks competed at home, the Iowa men’s team had two gymnasts advance to the Winter Cup finals – sophomore Bennet Huang and freshman Evan Davis.

Both gymnasts competed in the all-around, Davis scored a season-best 78.700 to place 18th overall while Huang placed 35th with a 74.250.

Senior Jake Brodarzon also competed in the early rounds of the competition. He tallied a 74.950 in the all-around competition to tie for 32nd overall.

Davis earned a season-best on high bar to tie for fifth place overall with a 13.650, giving him another opportunity to move onto the Winter Cup finals. Huang earned a 13.750 with his floor routine to tie for seventh place.

Huang tied for fifth with a score of 27.750, and Davis was at No. 17 with a total score of 26.300.

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