Hawkeyes Win First Of Season Against Illinois-Chicago

Jan. 22, 2011

IOWA CITY, Iowa –The University of Iowa men’s gymnastics team picked up its first victory of the season, with JD Reive also earning his first victory as a head coach, as Iowa rolled to a 342.000-329.300 victory against Illinois-Chicago Saturday night. The No. 10 Hawkeyes had a gymnast end up on top of the podium after every event against the 12th-ranked Flames en route to a convincing triumph in front of 801 fans inside the UI Field House.

The Hawkeyes met up with Illinois-Chicago in the first event of the season at the Windy City Invitational, placing fourth with just a 5.5 point advantage over the Flames. With 19 gymnasts placing in the top-five, the Hawkeyes were able to increase their victory margin this time around and also improve their team score by 9.3 points. Iowa out-scored the Flames on every event, keeping a lead from the first rotation until the last.

“This was fun. It’s our first regular season meet here, and we had a pretty big crowd come out to offer support,” said Reive, the first-year head coach. “It was exciting. The guys did well, and I’m proud of the final result.”

Iowa began the meet on floor exercise, where sophomore Matt McGrath came in first with a 14.500. Freshman Lance Alberhasky, who improved from his Windy City Invite scores on every single event by at least a .4 margin, came in third with a 13.900. Sophomore Timm Krueger, who graduated from Wheaton North High School with McGrath, placed fourth (13.700) and Iowa finished with a team score of 55.700.

Senior leadership paved the way for Iowa on pommel horse, with seniors Ben Ketelsen and Mike Jiang providing a one-two punch. Ketelsen placed first with a 14.600, while Jiang, a returning All-American on pommel horse, finished runner-up with a 14.400. Sophomore Anton Gryshayev also placed in the top five with a fifth place finish to help Iowa acquire a 55.500 team score.

Gryshayev also came away with a victory on rings, just one week after coming away with Iowa’s top finish at the Windy City Invitational with a fifth-place finish on rings. Gryshayev topped the competition with a team season-best 14.900. Freshman Javier Balboa placed third (14.400), and McGrath placed fourth (13.800).

The Hawkeyes earned five of the top-six finishes on vault, topping the Flames 61.900-60.000 on the event. Balboa and Ketelsen tied to earn the first-place finish, with both gymnasts collecting a 15.600 score. Jiang and McGrath were close behind, coming in third (15.400) and fourth (15.300), respectively.

Iowa also kept Illinois-Chicago out of the top-four individual standings on parallel bars with Jiang placing first (14.400). Alberhasky finished runner-up (14.300), while Balboa and redshirt freshman Jack McClay placed third (14.00) and fourth (13.800).

In Iowa’s final event of the night, Jiang collected victory number two, tying with Alberhasky atop the horizontal bar leaderboard. The tie for first was also Alberhasky’s first top finish as a Hawkeye. Jiang and Alberhasky tallied a 14.100 score. Ketelsen finished in third (13.900) with his third top-five finish of the night, while Balboa came in fourth (13.700) with his fourth top-five finish of the night.

“Guys like Jiang, Gryshayev, Ketelsen, all looked pretty good. Our entire vaulting lineup did excellent,” said Reive. “They worked really hard and made some improvements, but at the same token, we still feel like we have a ton of room to grow and get better. Hopefully we can continue to progress.”

Iowa will again be competing with a school from Illinois, as they will travel to Champagne their next time out to take on the top-ranked Fighting Illini. It will be a co-ed meet with the University of Iowa women also taking on Illinois. Start time will be 1:00 p.m. for the men and at noon for the women.