Iowa gymnastics ends weekend with victory and defeat

Iowa women’s gymnastics picked up a win at Nebraska, and the men’s team fall at Ohio State.


Hannah Kinson

Iowa’s all-around Adeline Kenlin performs on the beam during a gymnastics meet against Ohio State on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021 at Carver Hawkeye arena. The Hawkeyes defeated the Buckeyes with a score, 196.550-193.800. Kenlin earned a score of 9.825.

Hunter Moeller, Sports Reporter

Iowa gymnastics picked up both a win and a loss this weekend on the road. The No. 8 men’s team traveled to Ohio State and suffered a 406.100-395.750 loss to the Buckeyes Saturday. The No. 19 women’s team journeyed to Nebraska and picked up a 196.825-196.100 victory over the Cornhuskers Sunday.

The loss is the second of the season and the second in a row for the men’s team, who previously lost at Michigan, 402.650-398.650.

As the men’s team continues to wind down their final season as a sports program at Iowa, Bennet Huang knows that they need to find their rhythm.

“I think we had some good individual routines, but overall, we didn’t have consistent rhythm or hit sets across each event,” Huang said in a release.

Iowa saw individual winners in Huang, who claimed the all-around title, with an 81.100. Stewart Brown won the floor crown with a career-best 14.350. Noah Scigliano finished first on horizontal bar with a 13.200.

On the opening rotation, Iowa scored a season-best on floor with a 69.100. Alongside Brown’s first-place finish, Huang tied for second with a 14.250, and Kulani Taylor finished seventh with a season-best 14.000.

Ohio State dominated on pommel horse, taking the top four spots. Iowa’s Drew Helberg led the Hawkeyes with a fifth-place finish and a score of 13.100. Huang finished seventh with a 12.800, and Addison Chung scored a season-high 12.500 for eighth place. Brown added to his all-around score with a career-best 12.250.

On rings, Huang and Evan Davis tied for second with a 13.450. Peyton Hobson posted a 13.400, good enough for fourth place. James Friedman rounded out the rings team with a score of 13.250 and a sixth-place finish.

Amari Sewell led the way for the Hawkeyes on vault. He scored a 14.400 in a tie for second. Huang finished sixth with a 14.150, and Davis finished seventh with a 13.950.

On the parallel bars, Carter Tope secured a second-place finish with a 13.800. Huang and Brown both tied for fourth after scoring a 13.700. The Hawkeyes scored a season-high 66.500.

Scigliano led Iowa on high bar with a first-place tie. The junior scored a 13.200. Davis got himself a third-place finish with a 13.150, and Brown finished fourth with a 13.000.

For the remainder of the season, the Hawkeyes know they need to perform better out of the gates.

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“We need to find a way to start our competition out stronger so that we aren’t competing from behind right at the start,” Huang said. “Our team needs to train and improve on going from the start to the end of each event lineup with better consistency and minimal deductions.”

The Hawkeyes will return to Carver-Hawkeye Arena to host Nebraska for Senior Day on March 20 at 3 p.m. It will be the final home meet in program history.

The women, on the other hand, picked up a victory in their regular-season finale. Not only did the GymHawks get the win, but they put up their highest score this year with a 196.825. The score is also the fourth-best score in school history. Their previous season-best was 196.800, which they scored against Minnesota on Feb. 13.

The GymHawks won three events and shared an event title.

“This was a good night to tend our regular season,” Iowa head women’s gymnastics coach Larissa Libby said in a release. “Even though we had mistakes, it was the first time in a couple of weeks that it felt ‘normal’ out there again. We were strong, but not perfect, and I like that.”

The Hawkeyes, who are third in the Big Ten on vault, finished tied for first and also took the second spot. Sophomore JerQuavia Henderson tied for the event title with a 9.900. Junior Bridget Killian finished in second with a career-best of 9.875. Freshman Adeline Kenlin secured a career-best with a 9.850.

Two GymHawks were atop of the leaderboards on bars. Sophomore Allyson Steffensmeier and senior Clair Kaji shared the title, with each scoring a 9.925, the sixth-highest score in program history. Kaji set a new career-high, and Steffensmeier tied her career-best. Senior Emma Hartzler and Kenlin rounded out the rotation with a 9.850 and 9.800.

On beam, Kenlin took the crown with a career-high 9.975. The score also ties the program’s best, set by Janna Alexandrova in the 2001-02 season. Kaji finished with a 9.925, and Killian scored a career-best of 9.875.

The GymHawks did not disappoint on their best event, floor. The No.5 ranked team in the country — No.1 in the Big Ten — scored a 49.450. Henderson took the event win with a 9.925, while Kaji and junior Lauren Guerin both tied for runner-up with 9.900. Kenlin made her debut on the floor, scoring a 9.875.

Kenlin had an eventful night. The freshman also debut in all-around with a score of 39.500, good enough for the all-around title.

With the regular season in the books, the GymHawks are eying the Big Ten Tournament.

“This gives us a chance to be laser-focused on all the little details we know we can improve on,” Libby said. “We are in a good place, and I am proud of my team and staff. It took a lot of effort to be able to get to this point of the season safely and successfully. We are heading to the postseason now, and we have ‘B1G’ goals. We have a day off tomorrow. Then we’re back to the grind.”