GymHawks take the gold at Big Five Meet

The Iowa women’s gymnastics team hit a season-best score to dominate competition in Toledo, Ohio.


The Daily Iowan; Photos by Lily

Iowa’s Clair Kaji performs on the beam during the Iowa/Ohio State gymnastics meet in Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Friday, Jan. 19, 2018. The GymHawks defeated the Buckeyes, 195.725 to 195.300, to win their home opener. (Lily Smith/The Daily Iowan)

Sydney Becker, Sports Reporter

Traveling to Toledo, Ohio, over the weekend, the Iowa women’s gymnastics team took the competition by storm at the Big Five Meet.

The GymHawks won the meet with 196.450 points, beating their previous season-high score (195.400) against Illinois earlier this year.

Nebraska took second place (195.900), followed by Penn State (195.700), Maryland (195.500), and Michigan State (194.525). Placing in the top three of the teams over the weekend, the GymHawks will compete in the Big Ten Championships.

The team is ranked No. 35 in the country on beam, No. 30 on bars, and No. 33 on floor, according to the Road to Nationals Poll.

Two athletes — senior Nicole Chow and junior Charlotte Sullivan — were named to the 2019 Big Ten Women’s Gymnasts watch list earlier this season.

The team on the beam with 49.050 points. Clair Kaji led the event with a 9.875 for her first title of the day.

Following on floor, the team scored 49.175. Lauren Guerin and Kaji shared the title, both finishing with a 9.900.

In the third rotation, the GymHawks marked 48.825 points as well as new positions for individual athletes. Emma Hartzler (9.725), Bridget Killian (9.825), and Sullivan (9.825) hit or tied personal bests on vault.

Finally, the team hit the second-highest bars score in program history with 49.375 points. Chow and Kaji each notched a 9.900 to lead the team.

In all-around events, Sullivan took fourth at 39.100, only .100 away from her previous career best.

The GymHawks will host Iowa State on March 1, and the five seniors will be recognized during Senior Night at Carver-Hawkeye.

The men’s gymnastics team took a break after the Winter Cup Challenge on Feb 15-17, in which three athletes traveled to Las Vegas to compete.

Jake Brodarzon completed the first day of the meet but didn’t score enough points to remain in the competition for the rest of the weekend.

Bennet Huang and Evan Davis competed in all events in the second round of the competition, highlighted by a fifth-place spot for Huang on floor (27.750) and an eighth-place spot for Davis on high bar (26.750). Davis was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Week after his performance at the Winter Cup.

The men’s team will compete again on March 2, when it hosts Nebraska.

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