JerQuavia Henderson named Big Ten floor champion, Iowa women’s gymnastics finishes eighth at conference Championships

The Hawkeyes scored a 196.125 — their third-lowest total of the season — at Xtream Arena on Saturday night.


Lillie Hawker

Iowa gymnast JerQuavia Henderson competes on the beam during a gymnastics meet between Iowa and Minnesota in Iowa City on Friday, Jan. 27, 2023. The Hawkeyes and the Gophers tied with each getting a score 196.875. (Lillie Hawker/The Daily Iowan)

Emma Sachs, Sports Reporter

The No. 25 Iowa women’s gymnastics team hosted the Big Ten Championships on Saturday night at Xtream Arena in Coralville. The Hawkeyes finished eighth of 10 teams, posting a 196.125.

No. 20 Minnesota dominated in session one to defeat No. 22 Maryland, No. 23 Nebraska, No. 24 Illinois, No. 33 Penn State, and No. 41 Rutgers with a score of 197.250. 

The Hawkeyes competed in session two along with No. 2 Michigan, No. 9 Michigan State, and No. 15 Ohio State. 

In front of a packed arena, Michigan took home the team crown, putting up 198 points. 

“To bring all of these people here just to watch gymnastics is so impressive,” Iowa head coach Larissa Libby said. “When I walked out, I was blown away that it was packed all the way through. That’s been the dream since I got here so it was everything we could’ve asked for.”

RELATED: Iowa excited to host Big Ten Gymnastics Championships at Xtream Arena for first time

The GymHawks started off strong on vault, where they scored a 49.1. Michigan led all four teams in session 2 with a 49.725.

During the second event, the Hawkeyes competed on bars and earned a season-high event score of 49.3.

Iowa junior Adeline Kenlin led the GymHawks with a 9.9.

“We’ve been struggling on bars to just get a good rhythm and that’s been picking up over the last few weeks,” Libby said.

On the third rotation, when the Hawkeyes took to the beam, they were forced to count a fall. But Iowa recovered when Kenlin finished out the event with a 9.950, pushing the team event score to 48.475.

“Sometimes you have to be the person to bring the fun, otherwise it’s not going to be there,” Kenlin said. “I enjoy it, I enjoy that the team thrives off of it, and I thrive off of it.”

After beam, the GymHawks trailed the other three teams going into the final event with a score of 146.875.

“We’re a lot stronger than where we are,” Libby said. “We’re making mistakes and you can’t mistakes when the stakes are high.” The Big Ten is very, very good and there’s no room for mistakes.”

For the final rotation, Iowa competed on floor, where the Hawkeyes totaled 49.250 and finished the night at 196.125.

While Iowa finished last of the four teams in session two, Hawkeye senior JerQuavia Henderson collected some individual hardware on the final rotation.

Big recognition

Henderson’s floor routine scored 9.950 to win a share of the Big Ten title — her second career conference title on floor. 

When the lights are the brightest, Henderson said she thinks back to all of the hard work she put in to get to the moment. 

“Trusting myself, my coaches, my training, and especially my team,” Henderson said. “We have our ups and downs and small mistakes, but we always say our one objective is to stay together. Every time something happens, we move forward.”

Henderson also placed fifth in the all-around, earning herself a spot on the all-Big Ten conference team, along with Kenlin.

“Adeline’s getting her stride back again,” Libby said. “I love the fact that Q was finally recognized for her gymnastics.”

Up next

The Hawkeyes await NCAA postseason assignments for the regional competitions that take place from March 29-April 1. The selection show is on March 20 at 11 a.m.

At regionals, the GymHawks will compete against the top 36 teams in the country and attempt to qualify for nationals.