No. 9 Iowa women’s gymnastics down No.29 Maryland in tri-meet with No. 12 Minnesota

The No. 9 Iowa women’s gymnastics team picked up a win against No. 29 Maryland in Carver-Hawkeye Arena Saturday afternoon.


Hannah Kinson

Iowa’s all-around JerQuavia Henderson practices on the beam before the competition round during a women’s gymnastics meet between Iowa, Minnesota, and Maryland on Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021 at Carver Hawkeye Arena. The Hawkeyes came in second with a score of 196.775 after the Gophers won with 196.975 and Maryland lost with 195.350. Henderson went on to receive a score of 9.875.

Hunter Moeller, Sports Reporter

The No. 9 Iowa women’s gymnastics team brought the fire into Carver-Hawkeye Arena Saturday afternoon, as it posted the fifth-best score in program history with a 196.755 in a tri-meet against No. 29 Maryland and No. 12 Minnesota.

Iowa topped Maryland, 196.755-195.350, while Minnesota finished with a score of 196.975. This Golden Gophers’ score wasn’t counted head-to-head against the GymHawks because the Feb. 6 meet against the Golden Gophers was the competition between the two teams measured for Big Ten standings.

While the score showed another great performance, Iowa head coach Larissa Libby could tell her team was fatigued. She’s proud that they fought through the adversity.

“This week was long for us and hard,” Libby said. “You could see we were tired and were low in the tank. It was the first time in five weeks that I had to pull them together to focus. When you 100 percent trust the six that are going, look at how the back two or three events went. Even with the beam lineup changed completely, they scored one of their highest scores.”

JerQuavia Henderson was the only individual winner for the GymHawks in the competition. She posted a 9.975 on the floor, tying a school record set in 2004 by Alexis Maday and Stephanie Gran along the way. The score is a career-best for Henderson and the highest by a Hawkeye this season on floor.

Henderson was out last season because of an Achilles injury.

“I am happy to be here,” Henderson said. “Every opportunity that I have to compete, and going through the pandemic and everything else, I am taking every moment for what it is worth.”

The GymHawks’ success on the floor Saturday was nothing new. Iowa ranked No. 3 in the nation on floor and No 1 in the Big Ten. The Hawkeyes finished the event with a 49.600 and the top two spots.

While Henderson finished first, junior Lauren Guerin continued her success on floor, finishing runner up with a score of 9.950. Junior Alex Greenwald rounded out the GymHawks, scoring a 9.925, good enough for a third-place finish.

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On vault, the GymHawks set a new season-high with a 49.050. Three GymHawks all scored 9.825. Henderson, Guerin, and Greenwald all tied for eighth overall.

Iowa also set a season-high on bars. The GymHawks — who are No. 2 in the Big Ten on bars —scored a 48.925 on the event. The results saw five gymnasts tied for fourth place, two being Hawkeyes. Senior Clair Kaji and sophomore Ellie Rogers both scored a 9.825. The score is a season-high for Rogers. Freshman Adeline Kenlin and sophomore Allyson Steffensmeier each scored 9.775.

The GymHawks set another season-best on beam, finishing with a 49.200. Kenlin — who is having a seller freshman campaign — set a new career-best and came away with second overall with a score of 9.925. Henderson scored a career-best and finished third with a 9.875. Junior Bridget Killian and freshman Aubrey Nick both scored a season-best, each finishing with a 9.825.

Henderson is the only GymHawk this season to compete in all-around. She finished third overall in the competition.

Guerin expressed what it will take to keep the team’s momentum going.

“Honestly, just putting in the hard work and focusing on the details day in and day out in the gym,” Guerin said. “I feel like today wasn’t even our strongest day, so the fact that we got that high of a score is impressive to me, and I’m so proud of us for being able to pull that out.”

Next, Iowa will make the trek to Lincoln, Nebraska, on Feb.19 to face Nebraska.