There are only so many ways that I can tell you that Iowa sports are awesome. This week, I may finally have run out of new ways to describe the awesome performances we're seeing across the board in Iowa athletics. I can put all sorts of flowery adjectives in front of the continued dominance of Hawkeye gymnastics and add a writerly flourish to my description of Iowa track & field rewriting the school record books, but what it really all boils down to is this.
Iowa sports are damn good, it's a great time to be an Iowa sports fan, and we shouldn't be taking these historic performances for granted.
Let's take a look.
- The Iowa gymnastics team hosted Nebraska last weekend and put up another top performance to beat the Huskers 196.825-195.525. Iowa's total was 5th-best in program history and another season-high for the squad.
- Iowa won four different events, led by JerQuavia Henderson. Henderson shared the vault title with Linda Zivat and split top honors on the floor with Lauren Guerin. Henderson claimed the all-around title (scoring a career-high 39.475) as well to cap off her extraordinary day. Allyson Steffensmeier took first on the bars for the Hawkeyes for good measure.
- The Hawks set season-highs in the vault, bars, and floor events at the meet. It seems like every week the team is continuing to find a way to raise the already impressively high bar they set for themselves. There's still a long way to go and already this team is bumping up against historic scores. The team is getting contributions from young gymnasts and experienced competitors and it's proving the perfect combination.
- Iowa is now 2-0 in the Big Ten and improved their national ranking to #16. They'll look to continue to build on their strong start this Friday when they host Penn St. for senior night.
Track & Field
- The Hawkeye track & field team traveled to Arkansas to compete in the Razorback Invite last weekend and used the opportunity to continue their rewriting of the Iowa record books.
- On day one, Nia Britt won the weight throw with a 20.68m toss that ranks #2 in Iowa history. Her teammate Amanda Howe finished 2nd with a 20.46m throw. Iowa's men's distance medley relay team also notched the #2 spot in the Hawkeye record book with their 9:39.60 time, finishing 4th. Spencer Gudgel and Jaiden Itson both won 600m races as well.
- Day two was even more productive for the Hawkeyes. Austin West put up the all-time best heptathlon performance in school history and the 5th-best in the country this year. He finished 3rd, but that should be an example of the incredible competition at the meet rather than a disappointment. Jenoah McKiver won the 400m race, posting Iowa's 3rd-best time ever, 45.78. His time is best in the Big Ten and 2nd in the nation so far this year. Just to flex a bit, McKiver came back to anchor the 4x400 relay, which oh, by the way, set the 5th-best mark in school history in 3:05.68 (and best in the Big Ten this season). Not to be outdone, the women's 4x400 team also set the Big Ten's best time on the season, running a 3:35.90, 4th-best in school history. Payton Wensel and Amber Aesoph both wrote their names in Iowa's record book as well, Wensel posting the 10th-best 400 time and Aesoph posting the 10th-best mile in Iowa history.
- Coming off of one of the best track seasons in Iowa history meant added expectations and pressure for this year's squad, but they look to be more than up to the task and show no signs of backing down from anyone in the conference. The Hawks are back in action next weekend at the Meyo Invitational and Frank Sevigne Husker Invite.
- The women's golf team kicked off their spring season with Big Ten Match Play event earlier this week.
- Iowa dropped matches to Rutgers and Nebraska on day one but was able to rebound and get a win over Indiana to close out the competition.
- Paula Miranda scored her first career match play win against Rutgers, continuing a string of strong performances dating back to the fall season. Against Indiana, Iowa got wins from Klara Wildhaber, Morgan Goldstein and Lea Zeitler. It was Wildhaber's first career match play win.
Swimming & Diving
- The Iowa swimming & Ddving team competed against Northwestern and Minnesota last weekend but weren't able to come away with a win against either team.
- The team continues to rebuild after a tumultuous 2020-21 season, but another smattering of personal bests in the meet is a good sign that the development is happening. They haven't reached the point where they're winning meets yet, but seeing the team improve as the season goes on is an encouraging step towards the team finding its way back to competitiveness within the Big Ten.
- The Iowa tennis team faced both Mississippi State and North Florida last weekend, losing against the former before rebounding to beat the latter.
- Against the Bulldogs, Iowa scored a win from Marisa Schmidt, but the Bulldogs were able to come away with close wins on the remaining courts. Facing North Florida, Iowa notched the doubles point, as well as points from Barbora Pokorna, Vipasha Mehra, and Samantha Gillas to seal the win.
- The Hawkeye tennis team is continuing to remain competitive, even as All-American Sophomore Alexa Noel is sidelined with an injury. Noel was one of the best in the country as a freshman and had sights on a national title this year before her injury. Hopefully she'll be back in time to get her feet under her before the postseason arrives.