Karenbauer Signs with Iowa

Grove City’s Alyse Karenbauer — pictured with her parents Jason and Heather and younger brother Chase — signs her national letter of intent to continue her academic and athletic careers at the University of Iowa.

For Alyse Karenbauer, it was love at first sight.

The Pennsylvania State and Region 7 vault champion knew almost immediately the University of Iowa was would be her home for the next four years.

“The University of Iowa accepted me academically, athletically and medically,” said the daughter of Jason and Heather Karenbauer. “I don’t remember who contacted who first, but there definitely was mutual interest. I went out there for a couple of summer camps to train, visit the campus and work with the coaches. Eventually, we started texting and emailing back and forth. After a while of us going back and forth, they offered me and I said ‘Yes!’

“It was a great fit right from the start. I loved the coaches, the facility and campus. It was absolutely beautiful. There’s a river running right through the middle of it – which will make walking a little difficult – but there are so many places to eat and study. There’s a lot of new facilities for all the sports. They’re trying to make it an Olympic campus where all the sports are in the same spot. You can’t go wrong with some of the best football and wrestling teams in the country.”

It turns out the Hawkeye gymnastics program isn’t too shabby either. Iowa is ranked in the top-20 nationally after securing a spot in the Sweet 16 last spring.

“It’s definitely daunting,” she said. “They’re moving up the ranks, which makes me feel a little bit of pressure. I really need to push forward for my team and make sure I’ll be the best asset for them that I can be not only on the equipment while I’m competing but as a teammate. Yeah, there’s going to be pressure, but I think I can handle it.”

Karenbauer chose Iowa over Rutgers, West Virginia, Penn State, Ohio State and Towson.

“I was offered multiple scholarships from a couple different schools,” she said. “I really liked a couple of those schools, but it ultimately came down to who was the best fit for me. Not how was I going to make myself fit into them. I needed to find somewhere where I fit in immediately. It immediately clicked (at Iowa). All the quirky jokes people were throwing out, the conversations and personalities, it all clicked at Iowa.”

A handful of schools showed initial interest in Karenbauer, but a heart condition scared them off.

“It’s called Nonobstructive Hypertrophic Cardiomyopthy,” she said. “It’s a really long word, but what it means is the center of my heart is thicker than the rest of the population.

“I actually had four or five schools offer me but declined me medically, because my heart condition is a little risky. It has an off-chance of putting people in the hospital, so there were a couple schools that felt it wasn’t worth the risk.”

When she steps foot on campus in Iowa City, Iowa, next summer first time as a Hawkeye, Karenbauer won’t have to change her color schemes up too much.

“I actually said that when I committed,” said Karenbauer, who would like to major in criminology. “Everything in Grove City is black and gold. Same in Pittsburgh with the Steelers, Penguins and Pirates. Now, I’m going to Iowa which is also black and gold. Not too much of a color difference, I’d say.”

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