Feb. 9, 2011
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THIS WEEK: The ninth-ranked Iowa Hawkeyes will take on No. 7 Minnesota inside the UI Field House Friday at 7 p.m. Iowa has 50 all-time wins against the Golden-Gophers. The 50 wins are the most for Iowa against any other opponent.
SNOWED IN: The Hawkeyes will be anxious to hit the gym Friday after a two-week break from competition. Senior Mike Jiang and sophomore Matt McGrath were supposed to travel to Las Vegas last week for the U.S. Winter Cup, but the snow storms kept the Hawkeyes grounded.
HOME SWEET HOME: For the first time in nearly three weeks, Iowa will return to the UI Field House for action. Iowa’s last contest was in Champaign. The Hawkeyes will have their next two meets in the comforts of their home gym before closing out the season on the road.
LAST TIME OUT: In a top-10 battle against No. 3 Illinois, the Hawkeyes were handed their first Big Ten loss of the season by a 354.900-339.400 margin. Sophomore Matt McGrath scored a personal best and team season-high 14.800 on floor exercise to tie for third. McGrath posted another team season high on vault, as both McGrath and Ben Ketelsen earned a 15.900 to tie for first. Anton Gryshayev placed second on rings (15.1) with a team season-high, while Javier Balboa placed fourth on parallel bars with a 14.300.
ONE-UPPER: After setting the school record on rings last week, Sophomore Anton Gryshayev one-upped himself against Illinois to break the record yet again. Gryshayev scored a 15.100, which gives him the top two scores on the event in school history. Gryshayev first set the school record on rings with a 14.900 against Illinois-Chicago. The previous holder was Reid Urbain, who scored a 14.800 in 2009. The open-ended scoring system has been in place since 2008.
A NEW ERA: The Hawkeyes will have a new man at the helm this season, as JD Reive was announced to fill the head coaching vacancy left by the retirement of Tom Dunn after his 30th season. Reive is the seventh men’s gymnastics coach in program history. Reive comes from Stanford, where he served as an assistant coach for seven seasons and helped the Cardinal reach four top-three finishes at the NCAA Championships. He was also honored as the Collegiate Gymnastics Association Assistant Coach of the Year on three occasions. Reive also coached the U.S. National Team at the 2009 Toyota Cup in Japan. Reive graduated from the University of Nebraska in 2000. Assisting Reive will be Dmitri Trouch and Brad Virkler.
Mr. ALL-AMERICAN: Iowa’s Mike Jiang walked away from the 2010 season with All-America honors, placing seventh at the NCAA Championships on pommel horse. Jiang scored a 14.550 and a 14.000 to place among the best in the nation. Jiang scored a 13.500 at the NCAA Qualifier to reach the NCAA Championships. Jiang is back this season as one of three seniors on the roster.
HAWKEYE NEWCOMERS: There will be an abundance of youth this season for Iowa, with underclassmen out-numbering upperclassmen by a 12-5 margin. The Hawkeyes will also have six newcommers in the gym this season. Iowa City’s own Lance Alberhasky will compete for the Hawks after being named Iowa Gymnast of the Year. Angelo Bronzino of Aurora (IL), David Dyckman of Foster City (CA), Brandon Hill of Sparks (NV), and Samuel Wright of Lafayette (CO) round out the freshmen. Javier Balboa will also be in his first year at Iowa, transferring as a junior from Mexico’s Instituto Technologico y de Estudious Superiores.
2011 BIG TEN GYMNASTS TO WATCH: Iowa garnered some preseason recognition with the release of the 2011 Big Ten Gymnasts to Watch list, which featured Iowa’s own Lance Alberhasky and Javier Balboa. Alberhasky won state titles in five events his senior year, and also placed third on high bar at the Junior Olympic Nationals on top of being a three-time academic All-American. Balboa will be in his first year at Iowa after transferring from Monterrey, Mexico. Balboa placed first on the parallel bars at the 2010 Mexico Nationals. Balboa also placed second in all-around at the 2010 Central American Trials. Balboa is a junior this season.
UP NEXT: Iowa will stay at home will they will take on to-be Big Ten newcomer Nebraska. Start time is 7 p.m. The Cornhuskers are currently ranked 10th.