LIVE BLOG: No 35. Iowa at No. 34 Iowa State

Talk about a close matchup! This Friday night, no. 35 Iowa travels to no. 34 Iowa State for the Cyclones’ senior night for one of the last Big 12 Conference competitions of the season!

These two teams NQS’ are separated by one tenth of a point heading into this week, and, with postseason inching closer, this could be a great opportunity for two pretty evenly matched teams to pull ahead and get out of these ‘bubble spots’ heading into conference championships and regional seedings. 

Last week, Iowa competed in a dual meet against Sacramento State where they came away with the win, and another score over a 196. Bars was the lowest scoring event for the Hawkeyes last week with the highest score coming from Karina Munoz with a 9.825. The majority of the scores in this lineup were in the 9.7 range, so Iowa will be looking to get a few extra tenths back here to up their team total just a little more. On the flip side, the highest scoring event for the team was on floor, with a pair of 9.9s from Munoz and Bailey Libby, and an overall event score of 49.250. This team is strong with a great deal of potential, but if they want to come away with the win this week and move into a safer spot heading into postseason, they will have to focus in on or more of the details and get these tenths back to at least match or top their highest score of the year from week six of a 196.300. 

Coming off a second place finish at a quad meet last week, Iowa State scored their second highest team total of the year with a 196.700. Beam and floor were the highlights of the competition last week for the Cyclones where they came away with two scores over a 49.3, led by all counting scores on beam over a 9.85, and a big 9.925 on floor from Kaia Parker. Iowa State is still counting a handful of 195s toward their NQS, so they will be looking to improve on their lower scoring events to get some tenths back and break that 197 mark for the first time this season.

This meet will be streamed on ESPN+ on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. ET! 

Rotation 1: Vault Iowa State, Bars Iowa

Commentators are talking about the rivalry of these teams, SO excited to see them go head to head!

Wills (ISU): Starting off this meet strong with a Yurchenko full, small hop back, great start for the Cyclones! 9.775.

Vanney (Iowa): Starts with a nice Maloney down to Pak, struggles on the pirouette, ends with a nice double layout, small hop back. 9.725.

Loyim (ISU): Second up, Yurchenko full, another small scoot back, two great back to back! 9.75.

Juk (Iowa): Opens with a nice Maloney to Pak, really nice. Ends with a little wobble handstand, blind full, double tuck, small hop back. 9.725.

Parker (ISU): Yurchenko full, again, another hop back, but a really nice vault, lots of height! 9.8.

Volpe (Iowa): Huge piked Jaegar to start, nice back down to the low bar and a STUCK double layout to finish. 9.850.

Adams (ISU): Yurchenko full, really small hop back to finish! 9.825.

Masella (Iowa): Opens with a HUGE Jaegar, short on the shoot over, STUCK double layout! Starting to dial in on these landings, love it! 9.85.

Bergstrom (ISU): STUCK Yurchenko full, with a little arm swing and a little chest down, won’t be a 9.95, but WOW, thats huge for ISU! 9.850.

Munoz (Iowa): Hop handstand to nice piked Jaegar, down to the low bar with a Pak, ends with free hip handstand right to double layout. 9.825.

Hong (ISU): Yurchenko 1.5, small hop forward, really nice 10.0 vault for ISU! 9.850.

Rojas (Iowa): Toe handstand to Geinger, really nice, a little wobbly on the shootover, nice blind full to full on, comes up pretty short, and ends on her knees. 8.925.

*exhibition from Iowa on bars, opens with a nice Maloney to beautiful shoot over to handstand and ends with double layout, small hop back. BIG moment to hit after a fall, love that for her!

After 1: Iowa State 49.1, Iowa 48.975

Nice opening for both teams! Only separated by a little less than two tenths, and both teams started off strong! Even with a mishap on bars, Iowa was able to count the first five scores and drop the uncharacteristic fall from Rojas in the anchor spot. Vault started and ended strong for Iowa State; they really started to find the landings a couple of routines in. Vault is really turning into such a make or break event depending on how many landings are controlled or stuck, giving teams back a few extra ‘easy’ tenths, and Iowa State definitely did this tonight! Their form on and off the vault was great also, and the addition of the 10.0 start value in the anchor spot was a great way to cap off this rotation. This is going to be a close one all the way through!

Rotation 2: Vault Iowa, Bars Iowa State 

Only five up for Iowa vault so everything REALLY counts in this rotation!

Masella (Iowa): Starts with a nice Yurchenko full, really tiny hop back, good start for Iowa! 9.75.

Loyim (ISU): Opens this rotation with a nice blind to Piked Jaegar, a little close and with a little leg separation, nice Pak down. Ends with a nice double layout, small hop back. 9.70.

Chambers (Iowa): Yurchenko full, a ‘medium’ hop back, but really controlled on the landing. 9.775.

Wills (ISU): Maloney up HUGE back swing to a nice Pak down. Double layout dismount, step forward on the landing. 9.650.

Volpe (Iowa): Yurchenko full STUCK. WOW. That was huge!! 9.825.

Schell (ISU): Nice handstand to blind to HUGE Piked Jaegar, down to the low bar, nice shoot over, ends with a blind full to double tuck, big step back on the landing. 9.725.

Munoz (Iowa): Huge Yurchenko full, lots of distance with a big hop back. 9.85.

Basuel (ISU): Opens with a nice blind to Straddle Jaegar, so nice to shoot over handstand, ends with a STUCK double tuck. That was a HUGE routine for Iowa ! 9.925. (new career high! Wow!!)

Karenbouer (Iowa): Yurchenko full, really small hop back, very nice! That was all five up for ISU, and a great five up for Iowa! 9.825

Cooke (ISU): Nice Maloney to Pak and ends with a huge double layout, smallest hop in place. Really nice last routine for the senior in this arena! 9.8.

Thomas (ISU): Huge straddle Jaegar, a little messy Pak, saves the last handstand and a double layout to finish with a small step back.

After 2: Iowa 98.00 ISU 98.00

Tied after two!! I said it was going to be close!! Wow. Another great rotation for both teams! Iowa was locked in on vault with only five up, but five great vaults nonetheless. Volpe stuck a HUGE Yurchenko full, like absolutely drilled that; definitely a highlight of the rotation. The most tear jerking though of rotation two, Basuel’s new career high 9.925 on senior night! I love that. At the half, this is TRULY anyone’s meet. This has been a great showing for both, and they both look like they are putting it together after two, so, hopefully, both teams can come away with a high home / away score to contribute to their NQS. Onto the back half!

Rotation 3: Beam Iowa State, Floor Iowa

Loyim (ISU): Another time for Loyim in the opening spot, she starts with a switch leap right to switch side. So difficult. BHS LOSO, really solid. Front aerial, to beat jump, right now to beam choreo, nice. Ends with a Gainer full, really low chest on that and hops forward. 9.675.

Karenbauer (Iowa): Opens with a HUGE double tuck to start. Switch side 1/2 to straddle full, gets it around. Ends with a really nice double pike, really controlled. What a lead off for Iowa! 9.85.

O’Brachta (ISU): Really pretty opening choreography, starts off with BHS LOSO LOSO, solid, wow. Switch leap to split jump, nice. Side split 1/2, a little under 180, but good. Gainer pike, STUCK off the end. Really nice in the second spot! 9.775.

Volpe (Iowa): After a big opening score, starts with a layout to front rudi, a little sloppy on the landing, but controls it. Torjete 1/2 to straddle full, good. Ends with a really nice double pike. Another great routine for Iowa! 9.775.

Wilke (ISU): Cat leap to tucked front toss right to back tuck, really nice, unique connection. Switch half, a little under 180, STUCK 1.5 dismount! 9.85.

Munoz (Iowa): Starts with front through to double tuck, really nice landing. Switch half to wolf full wolf full, good. HUGE double pike to end. LOVE this choreo, so entertaining. 9.875.

Adams (ISU): BHS LOSO, really nice. My favorite part, smiling as she’s landing. Switch leap to switch leap, good. Side aerial, fights for it but is off the side. Cat leap to front aerial, good recovery after that fall. Gainer full off the side, stuck but a little arm wave on the landing. 9.225.

Erb (Iowa): HUGE double pike to start, good landing. Good leaps down to the ground. Ends with a really high back 1.5 to front full, so difficult, but a really nice routine! 9.85.

Bergstrom (ISU): A little more pressure here following up a fall, starts with a solid cat leap, front toss to BHS. Switch leap switch leap, a little off, but keeps it on, no wobbles. Ends with a tucked front full dismount STUCK! Exactly the routine they needed to get this team back on track. 9.875.

Libby (Iowa): Front double full, really nice control on that landing. Back 1.5 to front layout, really nice. Switch ring to switch half, good. Love this performance from here, ends with a front 1.5, perfect landing. Great routine for Iowa. 9.85.

Thomas (ISU): Very important routine in this anchor spot, front tuck to BHS to start, really crooked but no wobbles really nice correction. Switch leap to straddle half, really nice extension. Round 1.5 small step forward on the landing, but a great last beam routine for her here! 9.825.

Masella (Iowa): Front through to double tuck, a little chest low on the landing and steps forward. Ends with a double pike, ends short on that landing again. 9.7.

After 3: Iowa 147.200, Iowa State 147.00

These teams have their game faces on tonight! Iowa State had a fall in the middle of the lineup, but the back half of this team handled it like true veterans and was able to come back and have a really great overall event total of a 49.00. Floor was a really great event for the Hawkeyes; they looked confident and strong throughout, with only one counting score below a 9.8. Still only separated by two tenths heading into the last rotation, it will be very telling to see how both teams handle this pressure with this being SUCH a close competition.

Rotation 4: Beam Iowa, Floor Iowa State

Volpe (Iowa): Opens for Iowa on this final rotation with a nice BHS LOSO. Switch leap to straddle 1/4, nice. Cat leap, front aerial, a little wobble. Ends with a round off tuck 1.5 STUCK. Every tenth counts and Volpe showed up in this lead off spot! 9.775.

Manternach (ISU): Front thru to double tuck, chest was down, a little hop forward. Second pass, double pike, much better landing. Good lead off for ISU! 9.425.

Ebeling (Iowa): BHS LOSO, big wobble on the side. Side aerial, really squatty, but saves it I truly don’t know how. Good leap series, Gainer full hop back on the side. That was a fight for that routine, but she stayed on! 9.575.

Wilke (ISU): Really nice back 1.5 to front layout to start. Switch side half to straddle. Second pass, really nice double pike, really controlled landing right to the corner. 9.80.

Rojas (Iowa): Trying to drop that last 9.575, opens strong with a really nice BHS BHS LOSO. Switch leap switch leap to split jump, very good. Gainer full off the side STUCK. Wow, what a routine when they needed it! 9.825.

Cooke (ISU): First pass, front double full, really nice control on that. She is having SO much fun, I want to go!!! Really nice leaps in the middle. Ends with a back 1.5 to front layout, LOVED THAT. She’s so happy, that made me happy. Last floor routine vibes, what an ending. 9.775.

Nick (Iowa): Leaps onto the beam, nice. Front aerial to BHS, perfect. Love her extension and smile through the choreo. STUCK round off 1.5 to end, wow. That was a beautiful routine. 9.85.

Loyim (ISU): BIG double layout to open, great height, but a little low chest on the landing. Back 1.5, to front layout, good. Switch half to straddle full, to wolf full. Good ending. 9.8.

Juk (Iowa): BHS onto the beam. BHS LOSO LOSO, very good. Switch leap to beat jump, very nice. BHS full, that was so nice. I love how much Juk pushed the difficult here, cartwheel Gainer full off the side, small hop back. 9.9 (!)

Parker (ISU): Wolf turn to open and first pass front through to the biggest double tuck, wow. Switch side 1/2 to straddle jump, good. Last pass in this arena, (cue the tears) PERFECT double pike to end. My heart!! I love seeing these seniors so happy on their last time in this arena. 9.875.

Munoz (Iowa): Switch leap to switch side, good. BHS LOSO, lifts her foot off the beam with a small wobble. BHS Gainer full off the side STUCK.

Adams (ISU) : In the anchor spot, front lay to front 1.5, very nice. Double tuck to close, a really nice routine to end! 9.925.

Final: Iowa 196.450, Iowa State 196.175

What a meet all the way through, and such a special night for these Iowa State seniors. Iowa came away with the win, but both teams put up a great meet, one of their best of the year. There were some mistakes having falls midway through the lineups for both teams, but neither had to count a fall which was HUGE in keeping this meet close throughout. Both Iowa and Iowa State had a good last rotation, but, they still had areas they could focus in on to gain back a couple more tenths to these overall team scores. As a whole, this meet really showed not only the potential of these teams moving forward in this season and seasons to come, but also showed mental toughness in a tough, high pressure meet, having to make up for some mistakes along the way. I hope the seniors have the best night, it’s such a special meet for them, and, each of them truly deserve such a great showing in their last home meet. Happy Friday night! Looking forward to a lot more great gymnastics to come this weekend!

Event Winner:

VT: Bergstrom, Hong (ISU), Munoz (Iowa) 9.85

UB: Basuel (ISU) 9.925

BB: Juk, Munoz (Iowa) 9.9

FX: Adams (ISU) 9.925

AA: Munoz (Iowa) 39.450

READ THIS NEXT: Judge’s Inquiry: Breaking Down February’s Perfect 10s

Live blog by Julianna Roland

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