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 women’s gymnastics falls to No. 13 Ohio State, posts season-best on floor

Despite the loss, head coach Larissa Libby sees her squad improving.
Isabella Tisdale
Iowa all-around gymnast Ilka Juk competes in 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. Volpe scored 9.750 on her beam routine. (Isabella Tisdale/The Daily Iowan)

The Iowa women’s gymnastics team fell to No. 13 Ohio State, 197.125-196.075, at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Friday night. 

The GymHawks celebrated their five seniors as they competed in their last meet in Iowa City. 

Iowa started the competition with a vault score of 48.950 on its first rotation. Reining Big Ten Freshman of the Week Eva Volpe matched a career-best with a score of 9.850 to lead all GymHawks. Second-year Karina Muñoz finished the rotation with a 9.825.

Iowa followed up with a score of 48.800 on beam. Muñoz and Volpe led the GymHawks with scores of 9.800. Third-year Ilka Juk and second-year Gianna Masella each contributed with a 9.750.

In the team’s third rotation on beam, the GymHawks recorded a 48.925. Muñoz tied for first place in the event with a score of 9.900, matching her season best. Muñoz ranks 26th individually on beam in the Big Ten. Following Muñoz was Juk with a powerful score of 9.850. Aubrey Nick capitalized on her last home meet as a GymHawk and recorded a 9.825. 

The GymHawks ended the meet on a positive note, breaking their season-best on floor with a score of 49.400. Starting the rotation off was first-year Alyse Karenbauer with a near-perfect score of 9.900, bettering her career best in the process.

Second-year Hannah Castillo and Volpe followed Karenbauer with scores of 9.875 — a new career best for Volpe. Second-year Bailey Libby finished the night off for Iowa with a strong score of 9.850. 

“If you just control your landings it will change every outcome,” head coach Larissa Libby said. “Their landings were in control a lot more. If you land with conviction you force [the judges] to take your score up.”

Muñoz continues to shine

Following her season debut competing in all four apparatuses, Munoz put up another strong performance with a score of 39.425 — earning second place in the meet and breaking a personal best. 

Despite being a sophomore, Muñoz has stepped up after the injury of fourth-year Adeline Kenlin, being the vocal leader this young team needs. 

“I’m thrilled for her because she works her butt off,” Libby said. “She’s never thought she was really that good. She never thought she was a great competitor. It amazes me what she is capable of.”

Big picture

Despite the loss, Libby and her coaching staff see their young Hawkeye squad continuing to improve.

“Since we came back from Rutgers, this is a completely different team,” Libby said. “The total package didn’t show up today. I know what they are, and I refuse to believe we can’t do this. We will come back and keep plugging away, and I will do my best to figure out what I can do to help make what happens in practice happen in competition.”

Up next

The Iowa women’s gymnastics team returns to action on Feb. 24 to compete in the Big Five meet. Hosted by Penn State, the GymHawks will face Illinois, Maryland, and Michigan. The competition starts at 3:00 p.m. and will be streamed on Big Ten Plus. 

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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.