LIVE BLOG: No. 29 Penn State at No. 16 Iowa

It’s senior night at Carver-Hawkeye Arena! Tonight the Hawkeyes are honoring their terrific senior class that is made up by sixth-year Clair Kaji, Allie Gilchrist, Alex Greenwald, Lauren Guerin, Bridget Killian, Carina Tolan and Mackenzie Vance. Look to see each gymnast in this class (with the exception of injured Alex Greenwald) contributing tonight in some way whether it be in the lineup or in an exhibition routine. Some GymHawks to watch are, of course, Lauren Guerin and JerQuavia Henderson as well as Allyson Steffensmeier. Guerin and Henderson are still on the hunt for their elusive 10.0s and Steffensmeier recently matched her career-high 9.925 on bars last week.

Penn State is 2-2 in the season so far and 0-2 in the Big Ten. The Nittany Lions are especially happy to have Lauren Bridgens back from injury last season as well as fellow COVID seniors Alissa Bonsall and Kourtney Chinnery back for fifth years. Injured athletes this season for PSU come from Jessie Bastardi, Olivia Yarussi, and Sarah Duhe so don’t expect to see them tonight. For athletes that are healthy and already competing this season, freshman Bella Salcedo has been exceptional on vault and floor as well as Bonsall on bars, already notching a 9.950 in week four.

You can watch tonight’s meet on BTN+ and view the scores here.

With that being said, let’s begin!

Intros are underway and Alex Greenwald ran out of the tunnel looking fine, so hopefully she can compete tonight?

YESSSSSS One of my favorite NCAA gymnasts ever and GymHawk alum Erin Castle is commentating tonight!

Here are Penn State’s tentative lineups:

And Iowa’s:


Greenwald (IOWA): Looks like she is back! FTY, some bent arms on the table, hop back on the landing. 9.750

Johanson (PSU): Leadoff switch here from Astartita to Johanson. Good first handstand, blind full to tkachev. Pak, great height. Double layout, stuck landing. 9.825

Zuhlke (IOWA): I am SOOO excited for this vault! FHS half on, full off I believe? Stuck wow! 9.800

Johnston (PSU): Maloney to bail, right on top of the bar. Another switch in the projected lineup? Hmmmm. Blind full to double tuck dismount, stuck, cowboyed tuck position in the air. 9.800

Killian (IOWA): FTY, pretty close to the right side on the table, hop back. 9.825

Beckwith (PSU): She salutes and gets started right away, she is ready to go! Straddled jaeger and Pak for her releases, nothing too crazy so far. Hits the last handstand, great. Double layout, good landing. 9.900

Zivat (IOWA): Tsuk full, stuck landing!! Some leg separation in the air and on the landing, not sure it’s gonna be a 10 but her teammates say otherwise? 9.875

Rushlow (PSU): Straddled jaeger, AMAZING distance away form the bar, almost looked like she wasn’t going to catch. Really swings that double tuck high and sticks it! 9.800

It has just occurred to me that I was reading the wrong part of Penn State’s lineups graphic this whole time, but in my defense, the graphic was made kinda wierd? Like why put it vault, beam, bars, then floor if you won’t compete in that order??

Guerin (IOWA): Awkward shoulder angle on the table, FTY, chest forward on the landing and doesn’t move. 9.750

Bridgens (PSU): Another male commentator that knows nothing about gymnastics, HATE THAT!!! Blind full, to cowboyed double tuck landing. 9.825

Henderson (IOWA): Great height on her FTY, definitely has the potential for the 1.5, tiny hop back. Great form on that as well. 9.850

Bonsall (PSU): Waiting for the judges…ok here we go. Straight body cast to Maloney to bail, steady swing on this routine. Straight body giants too, stuck landing on the double layout. 9.850

Mace (exh, PSU): Bit over on the first handstand but saves it. Leg separation on the Pak, misses the first pirouette. Has to WORK to get that last handstand up and a bound forward on the double layout.

AFTER 1: Iowa 49.100, PSU 49.200

Penn State leading after the first rotation? WHAT??? I’m okay with it. Looks like according to the live scores we have Iowa’s Henderson and Penn State’s Bridgens up for the all around.


Bonsall (PSU): She gets started with a FTY,  good landing, nothing too crazy. 9.800

Tolan (IOWA): Blind half to jaeger, really far away on that but gets it going into the overshoot. Blind full to double tuck dismount, lots of steps forward to save a fall, hate that for this senior. 9.150

Johanson (PSU): FTY, some pike down on the landing. 9.825

Some score discrepancy between the judges following Tolan’s bars routine. Goddess commentator Erin Castle is saying Tolan clipped her foot on the low bar and put a hand down so that could be it. Still waiting…

Rogers (IOWA): The tiniest bit over on the first handstand, loose form on the Pak. Solid last handstand, double layout dismount, hop forward. 9.825

Chinnery (PSU): FTY, chest down on the landing and pops out of it. 9.650

Greenwald (IOWA): Straight body cast handstands on this routine. Pak, right down there. Just saves the pirouette on the low bar. Double layout, tiny hop back. 9.775

Salcedo (PSU): Yurchenko half on front pike, off, GOERGEOUS!! Love seeing that. Little hop forward, should be a good score for the Nittany Lions. 9.800

Steffensmeier (IOWA): Doing the floss before she competes, because what else do you do before competing bars? Beautiful first handstand, piked jaeger, pays great attention to her handstands, just misses the low bar handstand, so won’t be a 10.0. Hop back on the landing. 9.825

Rushlow (PSU): FTY, short on that landing and kinda crawls forward? 9.100

Kaji (IOWA): Higgins grip to straddled jaeger. REALLY far away on the Pak and drags her entire legs on the ground. She was having trouble with that in the warmups too. Double layout dismount, good recovery. 9.725 WHATTT THIS DOESN”T MAKE SENSE

Bridgens (PSU): FTY, gets the landing. 9.850

Henderson (IOWA): Maloney to slightly crooked handstand on the bail. Full in dismount, hop back. 9.750

Mace (exh, PSU): Tucked FTY, extremely crunchy landing and her knees buckle. She does walk off the mat, but gets some assistance from coach Russo when doing so.

Vance (exh, IOWA): Straddled jaeger and bail, no problems so far. Blind full, over on the handstand and goes over. Tries the blind full double tuck again, slightly short landing on that, steps forward.

AFTER 2: Iowa 98.000, PSU 98.150

Penn State still leading after two in Carver-Hawkeye. We’ve seen some falls for both teams so far at this halfway point but also some exhibition routines which means that both teams have depth in case they need to switch out the lineups.


Henderson (IOWA): BHS LOSO, solid. Switch leap to straight jump, no wobbles so far. Double tuck dismount, pretty quick routine, great chest level after finishing the second flip, little hop back on the landing. 9.850

Bonsall (PSU): Ooh I like this dance so far! Double tuck to start off. RO whip half to front full, good energy after landing that front full. Last pass achieves that tenth bonus for finishing with a D or above element with her double pike, slight chest down but she pulls it off. 9.825

Gilchrist (IOWA): I love her technique and form on her dance. Side aerial to BHS and you could see that she was off right from the side aerial. Chooses not to redo the acro series so should be a lower score than normal. Hitch kick to side somi. Piked gainer for her dismount, little shuffle in place. 8.900

Johanson (PSU): Double pike and an OOB. RO 1.5, front layout for her acro series, fine. Double tuck to close, step forward. 9.700

Killian (IOWA): BHS LOSO, kinda splits late on her step outs which is rare to see. Front tuck, you don’t see that too often in college. Double full dismount, great set on that. Stuck landing! 9.750

Bridgens (PSU): I wish these leotards could be a little more blue. From afar the top looks grey. I miss the first pass, but I can tell you that her second pass, a FHS Rudi LOSO, had some lovely technique. So glad to see her back this year. FHS front full to front layout. That should be in the 9.8s or possibly 9.9s if the judges are feeling generous. 9.825

Nick (IOWA): BHS LOSO, tries to save it through her arms but falls. This is not looking good for Iowa. Switch leap to split jump, could increase that split position more if she REALLY wanted to. RO 1.5, stuck dismount. 9.300

Vihrova (PSU): Amazing double tuck for her first pass. Rachel Gowey floor music, okayyyy! Double pike to end, short and falls. 9.125

Vance (IOWA): BHS LOSO, hits it. Barani, one of my favorite skills ever to perform and she does it great here. Straddle jump to straddle 3/4 for her jumps, those are new. Side aerial to back tuck full, stuck dismount. 9.750

Salcedo (PSU): Double front, kinda locks her legs out but holds on. She is having loads of fun on this in this creative choreo! Front layout to front full to front pike for her combo pass, boy she is a star! 9.825

Kaji (IOWA): BHS LOSO, lifts the front leg but keeps it on. Cat leap to side aerial, little balance check on that one. Split jump to straddle 3/4 just like Vance did before her. BHS gainer full, clean landing. 9.775

Astarita (PSU): Open double tuck, no trouble on that! I wasn’t expecting to see that! RO 1 1/2 to front layout for her middle pass. Doesn’t quite get her leaps right around. Double pike, buckly knees but controls it. 9.800

Ebeling (exh, IOWA): BHS LOSO, and falls. Split jump to ring jump to beat jump, unique connection. Piked gainer, stuck. Fun fact: I believe that I’ve competed against her before and if not that, then I have definitely competed at a couple of the same JO competitions as her when I used to compete. 🙂

AFTER 3: Iowa 146.425, PSU 147.025

This meet is showing both teams that they need to work on form on their strongest events and endurance on their weakest events. I would bet that Penn State would win this meet if Iowa weren’t so good at floor, so this upcoming rotation should be a fun one. Also coming up in this last rotation is Lauren Guerin’s last chance to get a 10.0 on floor at home, so PLS PRAY EVERYONE!!!


Astarita (PSU): Front tuck, kinda low but saves it. BHS LOSO, and a fall! Oooooh! Hitch kick to switch side, could use a bit more kick on the hitch kick. BHS gainer full, REALLY kicked that gainer up high I thought she almost hit the beam! Woo! 9.175

Killan (IOWA): Lovely triple full, gets it right around. FHS front full, front pike, perfect. Double tuck to end her career here in Carver-Hawkeye. 9.775

Romagnano (PSU): Triple series for her flight series. Split jump to double stag jump, some flexed feet on that. Side aerial to back tuck full, good comeback routine for the Nittany Lions after that leadoff fall. 9.700

Greenwald (IOWA): HUGE full-in, great landing. 2.5 to punch front to end her career in Carver-Hawkeye. Kaji up next! 9.900

Bridgens (PSU): Last event in her all-around run tonight. Hitch kick to front toss, slight balance check. Switch leap to side aerial, interesting connection. BHS LOSO, different for her to put her acro series at the end of the routine. Stuck dismount and a big fist pump from Sarah Brown Shire 🙂 9.800

Kaji (IOWA): RO 1.5 step out to RO BHS double twist, no problem. This is her season debut on this event, great to have her back. Double pike, clean landing. Love this music! 9.900

Salcedo (PSU): This is a great playlist! BHS LOSO, solid. She moves very quick on this event! Split jump to split 3/4, looking good so far. Front full dismount, small hop, she’s feeling great! 9.800

Zivat (IOWA): Is that Kareena McSweeney suited up? OMG!! Exhibition? Front tuck through to double tuck, big step back on that landing. Hopefully she will upgrade that to her iconic double layout later this season. Really floaty LOSO on her last pass. Hilarious dance to her teammates after completing her routine! haha 9.900

Johnston (PSU): BHS LOSO, and side aerial, no wobbles so far. RO 1.5, step forward. 9.825

Henderson (IOWA): Humongous full-in, tiny hop forward, some might call it a stuck landing, but I swear I saw a hop. I just adore this music! Front through to double tuck, now that one was stuck! That will be HUGE!!! 9.975

Bladon (PSU): BHS LOSO, beautiful. Cat leap to side somi, and a fall back. Another fall, not sure on what though. Gainer full, hop back. 8.250

Guerin (IOWA): This is it folks! Henderson set her up pretty well with her 9.975!! I am SO EXCITED!! Full-in, ABSOLUTELY HUGE with a great landing! I am feeling it right now!! AHHHHHH Last pass, here we go!!! Front through to double tuck, hangs on to that landing!! Will it be a 10.0? MY STREAM FREEZES NOOOO 9.975! Almost gets it

McSweeney (exh, IOWA): This is her first routine ever has a Hawkeye! So happy for her! FHS double twist, gets it. RO 1.5 to front layout, beautiful! Anastasia Webb floor music, ok girl! Last pass, double tuck, step forward, but produces a clean routine! Congrats girl!

FINAL RESULTS: Iowa 196.125, PSU 195.325

AA Winner: JerQuavia Henderson 39.425

VT Winner: Linda Zivat (Iowa) 9.875

UB Winner: Nikki Beckwith (Penn State) 9.900

BB Winner: JerQuavia Henderson (Iowa) 9.850

FX Winner: JerQuavia Henderson (Iowa), Lauren Guerin (Iowa) 9.975

And Iowa wins this one! Crazy comeback for the Hawkeyes tonight after their monstrous 49.650 floor that was helped tremendously due to Lauren Guerin and JerQuavia Henderson’s 9.975s. The senior ceremony is up next but my time tonight here is done! Thanks for joining me! So long my friends, farewell, goodbye!

Live blog by Carolyn Lien

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