Hawkeyes Travel to Big Ten Championships

March 15, 2004

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THIS WEEK — The fifth-ranked University of Iowa men’s gymnastics team will travel to Champaign, IL, Friday and Saturday to compete in the Big Ten Championships. Team competition and all-around performances will start Friday at 7 p.m., and individual event finals will take place Saturday at 7 p.m. The conference championships will be held at Huff Hall, and all-session tickets are $5 for adults and $2 for students.

IOWA IN BIG TEN HISTORY — The Hawkeyes have won the Big Ten title six times and have tied for first once. Two of those titles have come under Coach Tom Dunn. Iowa’s most recent title came in 1998 when the Hawkeyes finished a perfect 8-0.

SCOUTING THE BIG TEN — All six Big Ten men’s gymnastics teams are ranked in the top-15 nationally, including top-ranked Illinois (220.708), No. 4 Penn State (217.208), No. 5 IOWA (216.717), No. 6 Ohio State (216.317), No. 7 Michigan (214.808), and No. 11 Minnesota (211.217). Six of the nation’s top ten all-arounders will be competing, including Ohio State’s Randy Monahan (No. 1), Minnesota’s Guillermo Alvarez (No. 3), Penn State’s Kevin Tan (No. 4) and Chad Buczek (No. 5), IOWA’s Michael Reavis (No. 9) and Michigan’s Geoff Corrigan (No. 10). Big Ten athletes hold at least three of the top-ten spots on all individual events.

IOWA VS. THE BIG TEN — The Hawkeyes recorded dual victories over Minnesota and Michigan, but fell to Illinois. At the Windy City Invitational, the Hawkeyes placed fourth behind Ohio State, Illinois and Michigan, but defeated Minnesota.

LAST YEAR AT BIG TENS — The Hawkeyes placed third at last year’s Big Ten Championships with a team total of 215.6 and advanced seven gymnasts into the event finals. Then-sophomore Linas Gaveika was crowned Big Ten champion on horizontal bar with a season-best score of 9.725. He also placed third on pommel horse (9.3) and fourth on parallel bars (8.95). He was named to the all-Big Ten team. Eric Block took third on parallel bars (8.975), Cameron Schick placed fourth on floor exercise (9.25) and Ryan Meeks finished fourth on pommel horse (9.275).

IOWA IN THE RANKINGS — In the latest GymInfo rankings (March 8), the Hawkeyes jumped from sixth to fifth nationally. As a team, the Hawkeyes are ranked in all six individual events. The Hawkeyes are the second-ranked team on floor exercise, fifth on vault and sixth on pommel horse and horizontal bar. The Hawkeyes are also ranked seventh on parallel bars and eighth on rings.

NATIONALLY-RANKED INDIVIDUALS — Hawkeye sophomore Michael Reavis leads the Hawkeyes in the rankings. Reavis is seventh on floor exercise and vault and ninth in the all-around. Sophomore Michael McNamara is sixth on floor exercise and 16th in the all-around. Junior Linas Gaveika is first on horizontal bar and 11th in the all-around. Senior Eric Block is ranked 11th on pommel horse and 17th on parallel bars. On the still rings, junior Kenny Lin is 17th, while senior Mike Kelly is 17th on floor exercise and 19th on pommel horse.

HAWKS HIT THE RECORD BOOKS — With an experienced senior class and an improved set of returnees, the 2004 Hawkeyes put a dent in the record books. As a team, Iowa has set four new records: floor exercise (37.325), rings (36.775), and vault (37.075), and have set a new team meet record of 217.925. Individually, four records have gone down, as Michael Reavis set a new record on floor exercise (9.55), Kenny Lin on rings (9.55) and Linas Gaveika on horizontal bar (9.8). Gaveika also holds the Iowa record in the all-around, recording a 53.95 vs. Illinois-Chicago.

SENIORS GO OUT IN STYLE — Iowa sent its seniors out with a bang in their final home meet, defeating the seventh-ranked Michigan Wolverines and the Wisconsin Badgers’ club team 217.925- 213.55- 152.1. The seniors bid farewell in an impressive fashion, as Eric Block was crowned event champion on parallel bars, matching a personal and season-best score of 9.05 set earlier this season vs. Oklahoma. He also recorded a third place finish on pommel horse (9.3). Mike Kelly was crowned event champion on pommel horse with a season-best score of 9.55, tying Gaveika’s mark set earlier this season. Matt Metzger took second on rings (9.2) and placed fifth on horizontal bar (8.8). Paul Summers was unable to compete due to injury.

GAVEIKA NO. 1 ON HORIZONTAL BAR — Junior Linas Gaveika is the nation’s top competitor on horizontal bar according to the latest GymInfo national rankings. He also holds the University of Iowa record, since the new rules, on horizontal bar, recording a 9.8 three times this season, including the Rocky Mountain Open and Iowa victories over Michigan and Nebraska.

BLOCK CONSISTENT ON POMMEL HORSE AND BARS — Senior Eric Block has 12 top-five finishes on pommel horse and parallel bars this season. He won event titles on pommel horse three times this season, including Iowa’s duals against Illinois-Chicago, Illinois and Minnesota. He also claimed a parallel bars title against Michigan and was runner-up at Illinois-Chicago and at Nebraska. Block is currently ranked 11th nationally on pommel horse (9.275) and 17th on parallel bars (8.933).

REAVIS SHINES FOR THE HAWKEYES — Sophomore Michael Reavis has put up an impressive season, as he is nationally ranked in two events and the all-around heading into the Big Ten Championships and the NCAA Championships. He is currently ranked seventh on floor exercise and vault and is ninth in the all-around. Reavis has been particularly consistent on vault, placing in the top-three seven times this season. He took the event crown against Oklahoma, Nebraska and at the Rocky Mountain Open. Reavis also holds the Hawkeyes’ season-best score on vault with a 9.45. Reavis’ success on vault has helped him to win the all-around title two times this season, vs. Michigan and Illinois.

QUOTING HEAD COACH Tom Dunn — “The Big Ten is wide open this year; Iowa has as good a chance to win as any other team. Illinois may have a slight edge competing at home, but they only beat us by .025 points this year. The Conference is very strong and we will have to perform well to come in first and stay out of fifth.”