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 squeezes by Southern Utah, 195.800-195.425

The Gymhawks used a 49.275 in their final rotation on the floor to top the Thunderbirds.
Isabella Tisdale
Iowa all-around gymnast Emily Erb competes on floor during a gymnastics meet between No. 20 Iowa and No. 41 Southern Utah at Xtream Arena in Coralville on Friday, Jan. 26, 2024. The Hawkeyes defeated the Thunderbirds, 195.800 to 195.425. Erb scored 9.850 on her floor routine, placing fifth in the meet.

The Iowa women’s gymnastics team topped Southern Utah, 195.800-195.425, at Xtream Arena in Coralville on Friday. 

The Gymhawks started the meet battling adversity. During the team’s first rotation on the vault, fourth-year athlete and two-time All-American Adeline Kenlin fell to the ground with an apparent ankle injury.

Kenlin was escorted to the locker room and later returned to the floor on crutches. 

“I’m a mom, and I am their mom,” Iowa head coach Larissa Libby said. “So when things like that happen, it hurts the same way as if it was your own child. I know what she has put into this; she is in the best shape of her life. Sometimes things happen that we don’t understand.”

Hawkeye second-year Karina Muñoz capped off the vault with a team-high 9.825, giving Iowa a 48.800 after its first apparatus. 

Libby and her coaching staff had to quickly adjust to the injury and fill in roster spots for the rest of the competition — relying on a lot of new faces to step up in a big moment.

“We had to change every single lineup,” Libby said. “When you lose a kid like Adeline, she is irreplaceable. You have to put three more kids in to replace one. Every one of them stood up and stepped up into all different positions.”

The Gymhawks improved on their second rotation of bars with a score of 49.975. First-year Eva Volpe earned a career-high 9.850, tying for first in the event. 

Iowa third-years Marissa Rojas and Ilka Juk gave Iowa a boost with scores of 9.825 and 9.800. Second-year Kaia Vanney made her bars debut with a 9.725. 

Iowa notched a 48.750 on its third apparatus of the beam. Juk earned the second event-high of the day for the Gymhawks with a score of 9.900. Muñoz and Volpe earned a 9.775 and 9.750, respectively. 

Entering the final rotation on the floor, the Gymhawks found themselves down 0.575 points to the Thunderbirds. But a score of 49.275 powered Iowa to a narrow victory. 

Hawkeyes second-year Hannah Castillo and third-year Alexa Ebeling provided the Gymhawks with a pair of 9.800s — a career-high for Ebeling.

First-year Alyse Karenbauer made her second floor appearance for Iowa, earning a season-high 9.875 in the process. 

Second-year Bailey Libby capped off the comeback effort with a career-high 9.900, earning the top spot in the third event for the Gymhawks. 

“I am proud of the whole crew,” Libby said. “It’s a total team effort every single time we come out here. But I can tell you today we would not have made it without the Hawkeye nation. There is no way. [I’m] super grateful for everyone who took time to come out today because we needed it.”

Up next

The Iowa women’s gymnastics team has a quick turnaround. The team travels to East Lansing, Michigan, to take on Michigan State on Sunday. The event will take place at Jenison Field House at 1:00 p.m. ET. 

“We will get back on track and do the very best we can against Michigan State,” Libby said. “They are a killer team — but so are we.”

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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.
Isabella Tisdale
Isabella Tisdale, Photojournalist
Isabella Tisdale is a photojournalist for The Daily Iowan and is a senior at West High school. In her free time, she stage manages for the theater program at West High. She plans to double major in political science and journalism.