Iowa women’s gymnastics honors seniors at final home meet of 2022 season

The GymHawks completed a comeback victory against Penn State Friday night to improve to 2-0 in conference play.

Iowa%E2%80%99s+Mackenzie+Vance+jumps+in+excitement+during+the+Women%E2%80%99s+Gymnastics+Cancer+Awareness+Meet+between+Iowa+and+Penn+State+at+Carver-Hawkeye+Arena+on+Friday%2C+Feb.+4%2C+2022.+Vance+earns+9.750+points+for+the+beam.+Hawkeyes+beat+the+Nittany+Lions+196.125+-+195.325.+

Larry Phan

Iowa’s Mackenzie Vance jumps in excitement during the Women’s Gymnastics Cancer Awareness Meet between Iowa and Penn State at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Friday, Feb. 4, 2022. Vance earns 9.750 points for the beam. Hawkeyes beat the Nittany Lions 196.125 – 195.325.

Grant Hall, Sports Reporter


Iowa women’s gymnastics had a bittersweet meet on Friday night with a 196.125-195.325 win against Penn State at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

After the final home dual of the 2022 season, the Hawkeyes honored seven graduating athletes with a senior night ceremony: Allie Gilchrist, Alex Greenwald, Lauren Guerin, Clair Kaji, Bridget Killian, Carina Tolan, and Mackenzie Vance.

During the meet, the GymHawk seniors wore black sashes with gold lettering, declaring them as “Senior 2022” athletes.

Iowa gymnastics head coach Larissa Libby said her athletes deserved the fanfare they received from an enthusiastic crowd at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

“They are the past, present, and future of this team,” said Libby. “This is their legacy, they set this culture, and this program follows their lead because they’re amazing young women. It will be such a sad day when they leave us.”

Iowa had a slow start on the mat as Penn State had the lead after three events. But junior JerQuavia Henderson and Guerin propelled the GymHawks on the floor event as they each scored a 9.975 —tying a school record.

“Today was a little emotional and overwhelming,” Guerin said. “I’m just happy that I got a chance to go out there, have a lot of fun in front of this amazing crowd, and get the win. I’m really proud with how we finished. Tonight was a picture-perfect ending.”

Overall, the GymHawks scored a collective 49.650 points on the floor, surpassing the previous Iowa gymnastics program record of 49.600.

Iowa’s Aubrey Nick poses on the beam during the Women’s Gymnastics Cancer Awareness Meet between Iowa and Penn State at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Friday, Feb. 4, 2022. Nick scores 9.300 points for the beam. Hawkeyes beat the Nittany Lions 196.125 – 195.325. (Larry Phan/The Daily Iowan) (Larry Phan)

Guerin and Henderson were named co-MVPs of the meet. Henderson earned a 39.425 score in the all-around — winning the event.

Kaji, although content with the victory, wasn’t satisfied with her final meet at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

“I almost feel a little bit unfinished, because this was far from our best performance,” she said. “At the end of the day, though, we got the win, and that’s what really matters.”

Big picture

The victory over Penn State gives the Hawkeyes a 2-0 mark in conference play. Iowa took down Nebraska on Jan. 29, but that meet was ruled an exhibition.

Iowa, the reigning Big Ten regular season champions, is tied with Michigan and Ohio State at the top of the conference standings. 

The Michigan women’s gymnastics team is the reigning NCAA champions.

Kenlin remains absent

Sophomore Adeline Kenlin, the 2021 Big Ten Freshman of the Year, sat out of competition with minor knee pain — her third consecutive meet out of the lineup.

Libby said Kenlin is still on the mend.

“Adeline’s still doing great in the recovery process,” she said. “It’s unfortunate that we have to rest, but it’s a necessary precaution.”

Up next

The GymHawks will travel to Piscataway, New Jersey next weekend to face off against Rutgers. The meet starts at 6 p.m.

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