Hawkeyes Seek NCAA Championships Finals Berth

March 29, 2004

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THIS WEEK — The sixth-ranked University of Iowa men’s gymnastics team will travel to Champaign, IL, Friday to compete in the NCAA Qualifier. The Hawkeyes will be one of six teams competing in Session I of the qualifying competition at 1 p.m. Friday at the University of Illinois’ Assembly Hall. Session II will begin at 7 p.m. with the other six qualifying teams competing. The top three teams from each qualifying session will advance to the NCAA Championships Saturday and Sunday. Competition will begin at 7 p.m. Saturday to determine the team and all-around champion, while the top eight individuals on each event will compete in the individual event championships Sunday at 2 p.m.

TICKET INFORMATION — All-session tickets are $32, while single-session tickets are $8 for Sessions I and II and $10 for Sessions III and IV. All seating at the championship will be general admission. Tickets may be purchased by contacting the UI Ticket Office at 1-866-ILLINI-1 or by logging onto www.fightingillini.com and following the “Tickets” link.

QUALIFYING SESSIONS — The top three teams for each of Friday’s qualifying sessions will advance to Saturday’s team finals.

IOWA IN NCAA HISTORY — The Hawkeyes have finished in the top five 15 times. Iowa’s only NCAA title came in 1969. If the Hawkeyes advance to the team championships, it will mark the 36th time the program has done so. Iowa has crowned 11 individual champions in the history of the program, with the most recent being Linas Gaveika in the horizontal bar title last year (9.712). Gaveika and Michael Reavis were all-Americans last year, while the Hawkeyes placed sixth in the team competition. Reavis finished seventh (9.025) in the horizontal bar finals.

IOWA VS. THE COMPETITION — The Hawkeyes are ranked sixth out of the 12 teams competing, and have competed against seven of the teams this season. Iowa defeated Nebraska, Minnesota, Michigan and Illinois-Chicago in dual competition, but fell to Oklahoma and Illinois. The Hawkeyes also took fourth at the Windy City Invitational, topping Minnesota and Illinois-Chicago, but losing to Ohio State, Illinois and Michigan. The Hawkeyes also posted a fourth place finish at the Big Ten Championships.

QUOTING COACH Tom Dunn — “It was clear that we could have done better at the Big Ten Championships. I am confident we will have our best performance of the year next week. We are determined to polish up the rough spots and qualify for the 2004 NCAA Championships team final.”

HAWKS TAKE FOURTH AT BIG TENS —The Hawkeyes placed fourth at the Big Ten Championships, advancing four gymnasts into the event finals. The Hawkeyes came into the Big Ten meet ranked fourth out of the six teams competing. Senior Eric Block took second on parallel bars (8.925) and seventh on pommel horse (8.3). Sophomore Michael McNamara was runner-up on floor exercise with a score of 9.475. Sophomore Michael Reavis also recorded two high finishes, tying for third on vault (9.4) and taking fourth on horizontal bar (9.4).

IOWA IN THE RANKINGS — In the latest GymInfo rankings (March 22), the Hawkeyes are ranked sixth nationally. As a team, the Hawkeyes are ranked in all six individual events. Iowa is the second-ranked team on floor exercise, fifth on horizontal bar and sixth on pommel horse and parallel bars. The Hawkeyes are also ranked 10th on vault and 11th on still rings.

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 McNamara set a new record on floor exercise (9.575), 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 53.975 at the Big Ten Championships.

SENIORS GO OUT IN STYLE — Iowa sent its seniors out on a winning note by defeating seventh-ranked Michigan and Wisconsin 217.925- 213.55- 152.1. 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.

BLOCK CONSISTENT ON POMMEL HORSE AND BARS — Senior Eric Block has 16 top-five finishes on pommel horse and parallel bars this season. Block took second on parallel bars (8.925) at the Big Ten Championships and won event titles on pommel horse three times this season. He also claimed a parallel bars title against Michigan and was runner-up at Illinois-Chicago and at Nebraska. Block is currently ranked sixth nationally on pommel horse (9.425) and seventh on parallel bars (9.035).