March 16, 2010
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Editor’s note: 24 Hawkeyes to Watch is a feature released Wednesday, Aug. 12, highlighting one athlete from each of the 24 intercollegiate sports offered by the University of Iowa. More than 700 talented student-athletes are currently busy preparing for the 2009-10 athletics year at the UI. Hawkeyesports.com will introduce you to 24 Hawkeyes who, for one reason or another, are poised to play a prominent role in the intercollegiate athletics program at the UI in the coming year.
By Lindsay Douglas
IOWA CITY, Iowa — To most of the population, the Olympic Games serve as entertainment. To five-year-old Jonathan Buese, they sparked a passion for gymnastics that hasn’t quit. Now, in his final season at the University of Iowa, Buese doesn’t know what’s next.
Raised in Gainesville, Fla., Buese followed in the footsteps of older brother Tom, who also competed in gymnastics at the UI. Growing up Buese competed for coach Mark Nelson, someone he considers to be an inspiration, in Florida at the Sun Country Sports Center, where he did all of his training and spent long hours with his team.
“It’s a lot more fun with your friends in the gym,” Buese said.
With the hardware and titles Buese has collected over the years, it seems the four-hour, six-days-a-week practices unquestionably paid off. In high school he qualified for the U.S. championships in 2004 and 2005 and received ninth all-around at the 2006 Junior Olympics. At nationals his senior year of high school, Buese was in second place after the first round of competition. Twice he took seventh place overall at nationals. Buese was also given the title of Florida state champion on vault, all while being a member of National Honor Society.
While competing for the UI gymnastics team, Buese has continued to rack up impressive highlights. In 2007 he was one of four Hawkeyes to compete in the Winter Cup and with a 50.75 all-around score, placed eighth at the Big Ten championships. Buese has been a letterwinner the past three seasons as well. He has received the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award, Iowa Coaches Appreciation Award, and has been named co-captain of the team.
Buese competes in all of the events offered in men’s gymnastics. This season he’s No. 1 for the Hawkeyes on parallel bars, horizontal bars, and vault.
“We are looking for him to improve consistency on floor and to improve all around,” UI head coach Tom Dunn said.
“I guess I try to make working out more fun. In an individual sport you don’t need to really rely on other people. If you mess up, it’s entirely your fault so it makes you push yourself.”
UI senior Jonathan Buese
During the final home meet of the season — a 357.5-346.6 setback to Illinois — Buese finished fifth on pommel and parallel bars, six on rings, seventh in vault and ninth on the high bar. The point total for the Hawkeye team was a season-high.
Dunn also said that Buese leads by example.
“I guess I try to make working out more fun,” Buese said. “In an individual sport you don’t need to really rely on other people. If you mess up, it’s entirely your fault so it makes you push yourself.”
Last weekend in Minneapolis, Buese tied for first on the vault (16.050) and was third on pommel horse (14.200). The Hawkeyes scored 346.750 points to finish second in the triangular with Minnesota (353.900) and Illinois-Chicago (342.200).
Before his senior season comes to a close, Buese hopes to become an All-American. But after that he doesn’t know what will come next. In the spring he will graduate with a double major in French and economics. Although his future is yet to be determined, Buese’s passion for the sport of gymnastics will remain.
Iowa returns to action Saturday, March 20, against the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. The Hawkeyes will compete in the Big Ten championships April 2-3 in Columbus, Ohio.