No. 10 Iowa women’s gymnastics picks up win against No. 11 Minnesota

The GymHawks picked up a win in Carver-Hawkeye Arena Saturday afternoon against the Golden Gophers.



Iowa’s Clair Kaji is seen during her beam routine during a women’s gymnastics meet between the Iowa Gym-Hawks and the Minnesota Golden Gophers at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Saturday, Feb. 6, 2021. The Hawks defeated the Gophers, 196.800-196.375.

Hunter Moeller, Sports Reporter

The No. 10 Iowa women’s gymnastics team defeated No. 11 Minnesota, 196.800-196.325, Saturday afternoon inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The score was good enough to tie its fourth-best team score in program history and is the No. 1 score in the Big Ten this season.

Senior Clair Kaji, who has seen her fair share of success this season, was overcome with emotion and excitement after the team’s performance.

“This week, it was all about the details,” Kaji said. “That’s how we were going to get ahead of Minnesota because they are a meticulous team. I am so proud of this team. I can’t do what I do without them. I can get all the high scores, but it’s the team that set me up to get those high scores. It has always been all about us.”

The Hawkeyes performed well in every facet of the competition.

Along with the win, the GymHawks set three new team highs, as well as two individual team highs. The Hawkeyes had gymnasts tie for first on beam and floor. Kaji tied on beam with a score of 9.900, and junior Lauren Guerin tied for first on floor with a 9.950, good enough to tie her career-best. Six GymHawks set season-highs in the win.

On vault, the GymHawks scored a 49.125, a new season high. Guerin set a new team-high and her season-best with a 9.900. Sophomore JerQuavia Henderson tied her career-best, posting a 9.850. Junior Bridget Killian scored a 9.825, and freshman Adeline Kenlin scored a 9.800.

On bars, Iowa scored a 49.075. Kenlin finished tied for third place with a score of 9.850. Kaji, not far behind, finished fourth with a 9.825. The Hawkeyes had four others finish tied for sixth place. Henderson, junior Alex Greenwald, sophomore Ellie Rogers, and senior Emma Hartzler.

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The Hawkeyes scored a 49.150 on beam, which is a season high. Kaji tied for first place with a season-high score of 9.900. Kenlin followed in third with 9.875, and junior Mackenzie Vance finished fourth with a 9.850. Junior Allie Gilchrist tied her season-best with a 9.750, and Henderson scored a 9.725.

On floor, the GymHawks shined, posting a season high of 49.450. The score also ties the team for fifth-best in school history. Three GymHawks tied their career bests, with Guerin scoring a 9.950, good enough to tie her for first.

Guerin’s routine, which she has known for less than a week, was enough to tie for third place in program history and a career best. Henderson tied for third place with a 9.925, which was a career high. Greenwald also tied for her career best with a 9.900.

Kaji finished with a 9.875, and junior Bridget Killian and senior Erin Castle both posted a 9.800.

In all-around, Henderson — who was out last season because of an achilles tear — completed her second run-through, finishing with a score of 39.300.

Iowa head coach Larissa Libby was thrilled with the team’s performance and ability to stay focused during a time that seems like anything can be taken away.

“I am extremely proud,” Libby said. “It’s hard. The stakes rise every day, and not just from the gymnastics standpoint, but with staying healthy. We have learned to control the things that we can control, and I believe that is why the great performances are happening. We are so happy to be out there with each other.”

Iowa will return to Carver-Hawkeye Arena for its next matchup on Feb. 13 at 1 p.m., playing host to Maryland.