Iowa gymnastics notebook | GymHawks prepare for No. 10 Ohio State

Coming off of a third-place finish at the Wasatch Classic, the Hawkeyes will face the Buckeyes on Jan. 22 in Columbus.


Daniel McGregor-Huyer

Iowa head coach Larissa Libby instructs her team during a gymnastics meet between Iowa and Texas Women’s University at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Friday, Jan. 14, 2022. The Hawkeyes defeated the Pioneers, 196.125-189.300.

Jake Olson, Sports Reporter

The No. 15 Iowa gymnastics team is set for its first taste of Big Ten competition against No. 10 Ohio State in Columbus on Jan. 22.

Scouting the competition

The Buckeyes are 6-0 on the season with wins against No. 17 Georgia and No. 9 Kentucky. Ohio State is the second highest-ranked team in the Big Ten, trailing only No. 3 Michigan.

“Our team has always been taught to acknowledge the talent of whoever you are going up against,” head coach Larissa Libby said. “We know how great they are. Knowing how great they are does not affect us. We are not a defensive sport. The only thing we can control is what we do.”

The Buckeyes are averaging 196.512 per competition, only one-tenth higher than Iowa’s 196.4 average.

Last time out

The GymHawks placed third of four teams in the Wasatch Classic in Salt Lake City, Utah. Iowa’s 196.575 was short of No. 18 Oregon State and No. 6 California, which finished with scores of 196.850 and 197.450, respectively. Pittsburgh scored 193.650.

Five GymHawks broke or tied career bests, and two-time All-American JerQuavia Henderson came away with second place overall on her floor routine.

Muñoz impresses early

Freshman Karina Muñoz is already contributing to the GymHawks.

The East Brunswick, New Jersey, product showed out in the Wasatch Classic, securing the highest score for the Hawkeyes in the opening bars rotation. Her score of 9.875 was good enough to tie for fourth place.

“It is really exciting as a freshman to be put in lineups,” Muñoz said. “Just to be a part of this team and to see how much we have grown and to see where we will go is exciting.”

Muñoz also posted a 9.875 in her collegiate floor debut, enough to get ninth place overall.

“Competing in floor and the opportunity to express myself has been something that has been huge for me,” Muñoz said. “I can finally express my feelings and facial expressions, something I couldn’t do previously.”

Road trip continues

Iowa’s competition against Ohio State will be the Hawkeyes’ third consecutive road event.

“We have had pretty much faraway meets this season,” Munoz said. “To have something that is closer to us and that is sort of a rivalry, I am really excited to see what’s going to happen.”

The GymHawks will end their road trip on Jan. 27 as they welcome Minnesota into Carver-Hawkeye Arena.