Olympic Sports Roundup: 4/6

By erut17 on April 6, 2022 at 5:00 pm
go hawks go
@IowaGymnastics (Twitter)
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If you've never watched college gymnastics, the NCAA regionals are an awesome way to give it a shot. TV coverage is a constant quad-box, with all four teams rotating through the four events and scores updating in real-time. 

It's beautiful chaos, hard to follow, and as exciting as any March Madness Basketball game. And it's even better when your team is upsetting one of the top gymnastics programs in the country as the Hawkeyes did last week. 

I mentioned a few weeks back that Iowa looked to be peaking at the right time, but would still need the stars to align to advance. Turns out, that's exactly what happened en route to Iowa qualifying for its first-ever Regional Final (so what if the format only debuted in 2019, first-ever still sounds cool).

Let's take a closer look.

Gymnastics

  • Iowa went up against #6 LSU, #11 Missouri, and NC State in the regional semifinal. For much of the meet, it was Iowa and Missouri fighting for the second regional final spot, with LSU holding a comfortable, if small, lead. The Hawks posted a season-high score on the beam and their second-best score of the season on the bars. A disappointing floor event--if only because of the incredibly high standard the team has set in that event this season--put the Hawks .100 behind Missouri and .300 behind LSU heading into the final event. 
  • The Hawkeyes performed best when the lights were brightest. In the final rotation, the Hawks posted a 49.225 on the vault, with Allison Zhulke setting a career-high. Missouri put together a strong floor routine to claim the meet win, while LSU struggled on the beam, which opened the door for Iowa to sneak into second place. Mizzou won with a score of 197.150, Iowa claimed 2nd with the 4th-best score in school history (196.900), and LSU finished just a few tenths behind with a 196.575.
  • Did Iowa catch LSU on an off day? Definitely. But that doesn't take away from the extraordinary performance the Hawks put together to advance. Luck is when preparation meets opportunity and all of that jazz. In the postseason, it's about who can perform when the pressure is highest. LSU didn't, Iowa did, and the Hawkeyes earned their spot in the regional final.
  • Saturday's regional final included Iowa, Mizzou, and perennial powerhouses UCLA and Michigan. The Hawkeyes again put together an incredible meet, this time posting a 197.075, 2nd-best in program history. It was only the third score greater than 197 in school history and a perfect finale for a wonderfully productive senior class. 
  • While the Hawkeyes didn't advance as a team, (Michigan and UCLA advanced with a 197.800 and 197.425 respectively) the Hawkeyes' season isn't over. Adeline Kenlin's 9.950 on the beam during the regional final was good enough to qualify for the NCAA championships in the event. 
  • This senior class will go out as one of the best in school history. They won conference championships, set a bevy of historic marks for the program, and led the team to a miraculous regional final berth in their final season. This season can be considered nothing less than a massive success and a monumental accomplishment. Congratulations to Coach Libby, the senior class, and the entire Hawkeye gymnastics program. We'll miss the seniors, but there's no doubt they've set this program up for continued success in the future.

Track & Field

  • The Hawkeye track and field squad divided and conquered over the weekend, splitting the team between Stanford and Florida for a pair of meets.
  • In California, the distance runners put together multiple strong performances. Max Murphy set the 4th-best time in school history in the 10,000-meter race (28:57) and Nick Trattner wasn't far behind, claiming 6th on the all-time list in the same event (29:39). All four women in the 5,000-meter race set personal bests and Amber Aesoph set a personal best in the 1,500-meter and won her section in the 800-meter. 
  • On the east coast, Iowa was only able to compete on one of the two days due to weather, but that didn't stop them from making their presence felt. LaSarah Hargrove finished 3rd in the 200-meter dash (and if you ask her coach he'll tell you she didn't even get a good start off the line) to lead the Hawkeyes at the meet. Peyton Wensel improved on his 400-meter hurdle personal best by more than three seconds and posted the 6th-best time in school history. Mariel Bruxvoort did one better, posting the 5th-best time ever for a Hawkeye (57.83). For the women, Paige Magee ran a top-10 time of her own in the 400-hurdles, finishing in 58.48 to claim the 8th spot on the Hawkeye top-10. A smattering of other Hawkeyes set personal bests at the events are were in contention for the finals had they not been rained out.
  • Early in the season, improvement is the best result to see. The Hawks are rounding into form, gaining ground on their personal bests and setting top-10 all-time marks. It's all a good sign of future success. Oh, and this doesn't hurt either:

 

  • The Hawks are back in action next week in Arizona.

Baseball

  • The Hawkeye baseball team was scheduled for four games against Michigan last week, and while one was postponed, the Hawks still took two of three from the Wolverines.
  • Friday's game was postponed so the festivities kicked off with a Saturday doubleheader. In Game 1, Iowa took it to Michigan, jumping out to a 1-0 lead and then piling on in the fourth with four more. Dylan Nedved pitched seven innings, giving up two runs and only four hits to lead the Hawkeyes to a comfortable win. Iowa tacked on a few more, led by a 4/4, 3 RBI day from Sam Petersen to earn the 8-2 win.
  • In Game 2, offense was much harder to come by. Hawkeye starter Adam Mazur gave up only three hits, but the Wolverines scraped together a run in the 2nd and tallied another in the 8th to come away with the 2-0 win. Iowa stranded eight base runners and put runners in scoring position in the 8th and 9th, but wasn't able to push the runs across.
  • The Hawkeyes left no room for doubt in the Sunday rubber match, bashing the Wolverines en route to a 10-3 victory and series win. Iowa put up two in the top of the 1st and two more in the 4th to take a 4-0 lead. A three-run homer by Keaton Anthony in the 6th and three more Hawkeye runs in the 8th banished any hopes of a Michigan win.
  • Keaton's solid performance on the week earned him Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors.
  • The Hawkeyes are now 14-10 on the year and are off to a solid 2-1 start in Big Ten play. Road wins are hard to come by, so the Hawks will be more than pleased with the results this past weekend. The offense looked as good as it has all season and the pitching was more than capable on their side. Iowa was a few breaks away from a series sweep to open up conference play and will no doubt be feeling confident heading into their games next week, which get started April 6th against Bradley.

 

Rowing

  • Iowa rowing continued its early-season schedule last weekend, competing in the Sunshine State Invitational. Both of Iowa's eights crews qualified for the A finals in the final, as did their two fours crews.
  • One of Iowa's fours crews won the grand final, finishing in 7:20.66, while the second crew improved by over ten seconds on their preliminary time to take 2nd.
  • For the eights, Iowa had a crew finish 2nd in their finals, while the second boat finished 4th in their race. 
  • All four boats improved from their preliminary times and the fours crew's strong performance earned them Conference Boat of the week honors.

 

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