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 drops second consecutive competition in loss to Nebraska

The GymHawks fell, 196.500-195.725, on Sunday at Xtream Arena.
Iowa+gymnast+Eva+Volpe+performs+on+the+beam+during+a+gymnastics+meet+between+No.+20+Iowa+and+No.+41+Southern+Utah+at+Xtream+Arena+in+Coralville+on+Friday%2C+Jan.+26%2C+2024.+The+Hawkeyes+defeated+the+Thunderbirds%2C+195.800+to+195.425.+Many+fans+dressed+up+for+Taylor+Swift+Day+at+the+meet.
Cody Blissett
Iowa gymnast Eva Volpe performs on the beam 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. Many fans dressed up for Taylor Swift Day at the meet.

The Iowa women’s gymnastics team dropped its second consecutive competition in a loss to Nebraska, 196.500-195.725, at Xtream Arena in Coralville on Sunday. 

The second meet without two-time All-American Adeline Kenlin due to her injury sustained two weeks ago saw a lot of underclassmen having to fill in big shoes. 

“When things like injuries happen, you have to switch your mindset, or you are going to lose your team,” Libby said. “I don’t remember the last time we had this many injuries to two key players on our team, but the thing that I love the most is the teaching, the learning, and the growing.”

The GymHawks started the competition with a vault score of 48.950. Second-year Karina Muñoz placed second in the event with a score of 9.850. First-year Alyse Karenbauer tied her career best on the apparatus with a 9.800.

 

 

Iowa used three scores of 9.800 or better to power the team to a total of 48.500 on bars. Second-year Gianna Masella and Muñoz each earned a 9.850 — tying for second place in the event. First-year Eva Volpe added to the total with a 9.825. 

 

 

The third rotation saw Iowa post a 48.925 on beam. Third-year Alexa Ebeling led the team with a 9.850. Fourth-year Aubrey Nick notched a season-high of 9.750 on the apparatus. Fourth-year Ella Castellanos and Muñoz each recorded a 9.725 — a career-best for the former. 

The GymHawks capped the afternoon off with their highest rotation score of 49.350 on floor. 

Second-years Emily Erb and Bailey Libby each recorded near-perfect scores for Iowa. Erb’s score of 9.950 earned her the event win along with setting a career best. Libby anchored the rotation with a 9.900, the second of her career. 

 

 

“We have athletes all over that are stepping up, and I am so proud of that,” head coach Larissa Libby said. “Can you imagine when we get everybody back how good we are going to be? Sometimes it’s really hard to be big-picture-thinking because my job is to win.”

Volpe continues to improve

After earning Big Ten Co-Freshman of the Week, Volpe continued her consistency against the Huskers. Volpe notched another career best in all-around with a 39.200, giving the GymHawks a boost with scores of 9.800 or better on bars and floor. 

“She is consistent with how she trains because she is consistent with wanting to learn and to get better,” Libby said. “She relies on her teammates and her coaches and does everything she can do to be the best. She is trying to be the best at everything.”

Big picture

Despite falling for the second-straight meet, Libby and her coaching staff have seen multiple new faces step up to the challenge in the absence of Kenlin. 

While losing is never the team’s goal, seeing underclassmen earn high scores in some of their first collegiate competitions is a good sign for the future. 

“I am just very proud of them, and maybe that’s not the right thing to be right now,” said Libby. “For right now, it’s what they need. My job is to keep the positivity behind them and make sure they know that I believe in them. 

“We are going to get this done,” Libby continued. “It’s going to take a little bit, and we might take some bruises along the way, but I still think they can be continually rising at the end.”

Up next

On Feb. 9, the Iowa women’s gymnastics team travels to Piscataway, New Jersey, to take on Rutgers.

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About the Contributors
Jake Olson, Sports Reporter
(he/him/his)
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.
Cody Blissett, Visuals Editor
he/him/his
Cody Blissett is a visual editor at The Daily Iowan. He is a third year student at the University of Iowa studying cinema and screenwriting. This is his first year working for The Daily Iowan.