Iowa women’s gymnastics to travel to No. 26 Iowa State for Cy-Hawk series

The Iowa women’s gymnastics team will travel to Ames for its annual meeting with the Iowa State Cyclones on Friday. Last year’s Cy-Hawk meet was canceled because of COVID-19.


Ayrton Breckenridge

Iowa’s Linda Zivat talks to head coach Larissa Libby during a gymnastics meet between No. 18 Iowa and Eastern Michigan at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022. The Hawkeyes defeated the Eagles 195.950-194.100.

Grant Hall, Sports Reporter

The Iowa women’s gymnastics team will face off against Iowa State this weekend, marking the first competition between the in-state rivals in two years.

The meet will start at 6:30 p.m. at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, with streaming available on ESPN+.

In 2020, the Hawkeyes secured a road win in Hilton Coliseum, scoring 196.425 points. Last season’s meet was canceled because of COVID-19 concerns, as the Hawkeyes had a conference-only schedule in 2021.

Sophomore Adeline Kenlin, who joined the Hawkeye program in the 2021 season, has never had the chance to participate in the Cy-Hawk series.

“I’ve never had a chance to compete against Iowa State in Ames, so I’m really looking forward to this meet,” she said. “We did face off at regionals last year, and it was a lot of fun to come out with a win. I’m hoping we get the same result this year.”

At the 2021 NCAA regional meet, Iowa placed third, while Iowa State placed fourth out of the four-team field.

The Gymhawks are aware of the rivalry implications that this weekend’s matchup presents, but Kenlin said Iowa isn’t worried about coming back to Iowa City with a victory.

“We’re focusing on getting a really good score this weekend,” she said. “Even if we lose, as long as we get one of our highest scores of the season, we would be really happy.”

The GymHawks are coming off a loss on Feb. 25 against then-No. 8 Minnesota. The Hawkeyes scored 196.375 team points to the Gophers’ program-record 198.025.

RELATED: Iowa women’s gymnastics falls to Minnesota, wraps up Big Ten regular season competition

The meet was Iowa’s second time losing to Minnesota in Minneapolis this season after placing second in a triangular meet on Jan. 17. The defeat dropped the Hawkeyes three places in this week’s Road to Nationals poll, from No. 16 down to No. 19.

Freshman Marissa Rojas said the GymHawks are unbothered by the loss to the Gophers and the subsequent drop in the rankings.

“It doesn’t really worry me,” she said. “We have so much potential, and I’m very confident in our team. I’m certain we’re going to be able to put it all together soon.”

With just two weeks until the Big Ten Championships in Columbus, Ohio, the GymHawks are hoping to reach that potential quickly. But Kenlin’s return from injury has boosted the Hawkeyes’ hopes.

Kenlin sat out for nearly a month after suffering a leg injury in Minneapolis on Jan. 17. The reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Year has returned to the lineup, with head coach Larissa Libby exercising extreme caution.

Kenlin has not yet returned to her role as the GymHawks’ all-around competitor, competing only on bars and beam on Feb. 25. Junior JerQuavia Henderson has been Iowa’s all-around athlete in Kenlin’s absence.

After her return from injury, Kenlin said she’s looking forward to the Big Ten Championships on March 19.

“It felt amazing to get back out on the mat,” she said. “I really missed competing, but a few weeks off never hurts in the middle of the season, especially when trying to get your body healthy for the postseason.”

After Friday night’s chapter of the Cy-Hawk rivalry, Iowa women’s gymnastics will return to action on March 13 as it travels to California to take on UC-Berkeley for its final regular season match.

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