March 26, 2007
By Josh Mitchell
It’s not every day that an all-American athlete falls into a program’s lap, yet that is what happened for Hawkeye gymnastics coach, Tom Dunn, when he signed Geoff Reins. After taking in the Hawkeye atmosphere while in high school, with the help of his brother who played for the Iowa football team, Reins knew he wanted to be a Hawkeye.
During high school, Reins was an all-American gymnast on floor exercise as a freshman. Vaulting, he was an all-American as a sophomore and senior. As a senior, he finished first at the Junior National Championships. That was the first time Dunn had seen him in real competition. At that time, Dunn was feeling very lucky, because during the fall, Reins had committed to Iowa.
To be a Hawkeye was what Reins wanted so he made it happen himself. He recruited Iowa. Without really seeing him in competition, Dunn decided to sign the gymnast.
“I was feeling pretty lucky that we already signed him,” said Dunn about his reaction after what he saw of Reins at the Junior National Championships. “Other coaches at nationals were wondering who’s that kid and where’s he going. He was already committed to Iowa, so that was good.”
In high school, Reins didn’t consider himself to be the best student when it came to academics. He merely did what he needed to do to get by. When he signed with Iowa, he quickly realized that he would have to change his ways.
“I came in with the mindset that what I do in college is setting me up for a job. I’ve definitely changed my attitude,” said Reins.
His hard work during his freshmen year paid off as he was named a second team all-America scholar athlete. His changed attitude toward school equaled that of his work ethic in the gym.
While some athletes drag out practices because they’re not motivated, Reins is always ready to go from the start.
“He’s not a guy that wastes a lot of energy,” said Dunn. “He knows what he’s gotta do. He does it and he’s ready to go. He’s not one that stays in the gym for hours and hours. He does what he needs to do and leaves.”
For a long time, he’s been his own person, very independent and doing things on his own. The change in lifestyle, when he came to Iowa, wasn’t much of a change at all. This along with knowing what needs to be done and how to do it has allowed him to be efficient with his time. He learned quickly how to manage his time, between academics and athletics, and it’s served him well.
Not only was he an all-American academically as a freshman, he was an all-American gymnast athletically.
Throughout the season he was always ranked somewhere in the top 20 in both floor exercise and vault. When he came to Iowa, Dunn knew he was good on vault, but didn’t expect him to perform so well on floor.
“He played football in high school and kind of worked floor ex like a football player,” said Dunn. “He wasn’t real fluid, just strong and powerful. I didn’t think he’d do as well on floor, but he smoothed things out by the end of the year.”
At last year’s NCAA Championships, Reins was short on his vault, which caused him to take a big step on his landing. The result for him was that he didn’t qualify for the finals, but he was still able to qualify for the finals for floor exercise. In the finals, Reins shocked even himself finishing seventh with a 9.3, earning him all-America honors.
“I had a good time with it,” said Reins of the NCAA Championships. “I think a lot of people, especially freshmen, don’t know what it’s all about and there’s a lot of nerves. I felt good with it.”
Now in his sophomore year, he feels like he has some unfinished business. He knows his potential as a gymnast and wants to prove he can be an all-American on floor and vault.
His floor exercise routine has been good all season and he’s currently ranked fourth. nationally, but he has admittedly struggled, at times, on vault, yet is still ranked sixth.
“My vault is one of the better one’s out there,” said Reins. “I think if I do it up to my potential, I’ll be an all-American. There’s a lot of guys who do pretty good vaults, but I think I’m right up there with them.”
Still in only his second season, Reins has plenty of time to prove himself as a gymnast. He has the potential to not only be an all-American and national champion in both events. His goal is to be known as one of the best gymnasts out there. With one all-America honor in his first year, he may very well be on his way to accomplishing that goal.
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