The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Iowa gymnastics notebook | Gymhawks look to bounce back against Southern Utah

Iowa fell to Minnesota on Monday, 196.850-196.150.
Grace Smith
Iowa’s Bailey Libby hugs head coach Larissa Libby during a gymnastics meet between No. 23 Iowa and No. 21 Washington at Xtream Arena in Coralville, Iowa, on Friday, Jan. 12, 2024. Libby scored 9.875 on the floor. In the fourth meeting between Iowa and Washington, the Hawkeyes defeated the Huskies, 196.400-196.250.

The Iowa women’s gymnastics team is set to face No. 41 Southern Utah on Friday in a bounce-back effort.

On Monday, the Gymhawks fell to No. 17 Minnesota, 196.850-196.150. Despite the losing effort, head coach Larissa Libby commended her team’s ability and finish until the final routine. 

“We had a lot of unusual mistakes, but the fact that on every single event they backed it up with a stronger routine says a lot,” Libby said. “To fight a really strong Minnesota [team from] score to score to score is impressive. I was very proud of that. I was very proud we didn’t just fold.”

Libby acknowledged her team’s ability to grow and learn from mistakes, noticing players meet up after the competition to talk about what went right and wrong. Seeing this leadership gives her the utmost confidence in her team. 

“They’ve done a really good job with the process of what they need to do and improve,” Libby said. “They sat on the bus coming home by themselves at the back. Adeline [Kenlin] talked to them about what things went well, what things didn’t go well, and what [she can] do personally to help the team.”

Iowa now has an opportunity to respond against a familiar foe in Southern Utah — a team who the Gymhawks have tangled with in recent years. 

“We know what Southern Utah is and what they bring, and we respect their gymnastics 100 percent,” Libby said. “In any given year that we have competed against them, it’s like a back-and-forth thing. They are very good.”

Libby and the coaching staff are simply focused on their team goals and nothing more. Instead of worrying about who its next opponent is, the team knows what it needs to work on to reach its end goal.

“We have specific goals for ourselves, things we know we need to improve on,” Libby said. “We have our own things that we know we need to do in this process of how we are going to get to the final day to qualify onto the Final Four.”

The meet will take place at 6:30 p.m. at Xtream Arena in Coralville. Coverage of the competition can be found on Big Ten Plus. 

Freshmen stepping up

In their first two competitions of the season, the Gymhawks have been throwing out first-year duo Alyse Karenbauer and Eva Volpe consistently in the rotation. Both players have been making impacts early for Iowa.

Hailing from Mercer, Pennsylvania, Karenbauer has been impressive with her floor routine this year — earning a 9.850 against Washington in her collegiate debut. 

Karenbauer has also been a steady presence on the vault, averaging a 9.637 while competing in both meets. 

Other than Kenlin, Volpe has been the only other Hawkeye to compete in every apparatus in meets this season — averaging a 38.800 two meets into her college career. 

“Those two are tough as nails,” Libby said. “They are hungry to compete, and that’s what you want in your freshmen. When they are not in a lineup, they are angry, and that’s what I like.”

Looking ahead

The Iowa women’s gymnastics team has a quick turnaround into Sunday. The Gymhawks will travel to East Lansing, Michigan, to take on Michigan State. 

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About the Contributors
Jake Olson, Sports Reporter
Email: [email protected] Jake Olson is a Sports Reporter for The Daily Iowan. In his three years with the paper, he has covered everything from rowing to basketball. He is studying journalism and mass communication with a minor in sports and rec management.
Grace Smith
Grace Smith, Senior photojournalist and filmmaker
Grace Smith is a fourth-year student at the University of Iowa double majoring in Journalism and Cinematic Arts. In her four years at The Daily Iowan, she has held the roles of photo editor, managing summer editor, and visual storyteller. Outside of The Daily Iowan, Grace has held an internship at The Denver Post and pursued freelance assignments for the Cedar Rapids Gazette and the Des Moines Register.