Feb. 19, 2011
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IOWA CITY – The University of Iowa men’s gymnastics team earned a big victory over seventh-ranked Nebraska on Saturday night inside the UI Field House, and set school records in the process. The Hawkeyes defeated the Cornhuskers 348.100-342.700 on Senior Night.
The Hawkeyes’ team score was just 1.3 points away from setting a school record, this coming after just one week after Iowa’s lowest team score of the season against Minnesota (330.100). The match provided Iowa’s second dual victory of the season, and crushed their previous team high score of 342.100 against Illinois-Chicago. The Hawkeyes set team season highs on five of the six total events.
“That was night and day difference from last weekend to now,” said head coach JD Reive, who graduated from Nebraska in 2000. “It was the push we needed to get better. They were disappointed after our last meet. Our guys went into the gym, and we pushed them really hard and they did the work, and this is the reward they get for it.”
Iowa made three additions to the school record book, two of them coming from strong individual performances. Sophomore Matt McGrath scored a 15.500 on floor exercise to win the event by a full point, and topped Geoff Reins’ record of 15.450 in 2009. The 15.500 score was also a season-high team score on the event by .700.
Fellow sophomore Anton Gryshayev broke his own record on rings for the second time. Gryshayev scored a 15.200 on the event to place tied for first, breaking his previous school record of 15.100 against Illinois. Gryshayev owns the top three scores on the event in school history.
As a team, Iowa broke the school record on parallel bars with a 57.700 team score. Iowa’s previous record was a 57.050 against Oklahoma in 2008.
“That was huge (McGrath’s 15.500). We’ve been waiting for that out of him, because he does it all the time in the gym,” said Reive. “Anton also had another great score. The really positive thing about it is that both guys have room to improve on those scores, and we think they can.”
McGrath’s routine on floor exercise helped Iowa jump out to a two point lead after the first rotation, and the Hawkeyes improved that lead in four of the next five events. Senior John Haines also scored a 14.200 on the event to place fourth, tying his season high score on the event for the second time. Freshman Lance Alberhasky also scored a 14.200, and Gryshayev placed sixth (14.00). Iowa’s team score of 57.900 marked a season high score.
Sophomore Broderick Shemansky kept the momentum going for Iowa on pommel horse, scoring a team season high 14.800 on the event to place second. Senior Mike Jiang placed third (14.400), junior Adam Wilson placed fourth (14.200), and senior Ben Ketelsen placed fifth (14.00). The Hawkeyes scored a 57.400 as a team, also a season high.
Iowa added another team season high score on rings with a 58.100 thanks in large part to Gryshayev’s routine. McGrath and junior Javier Balboa tied for third place as well (14.400).
Gryshayev had another first place finish, this time on vault with a 15.700 to set his season high. McGrath came in third (15.500).
Iowa’s record setting performance on parallel bars was fueled by Shemansky’s first place finish and team season high score of 14.700, a score that was just one tenth away from an individual school record. Jiang finished runner up with a 14.600. McGrath, Alberhasky, and Balboa all tied for fifth place (14.200).
“Broderick was great for us, and I was proud of the effort he gave,” said Reive. “The big thing tonight was that our entire team really stepped forward in the same direction, and they made some great improvements.”
Iowa scored a season high 56.00 as a team on horizontal bar, as freshman Samuel Wright earned his first career first place finish. Wright scored a team season high 14.300 to tie for first. Shemansky placed third (14.200), and Jiang placed sixth (13.900).
“This was really fun to do this on senior night and our last home meet of the season,” said Reive. “We feel like this is happening at a point where we can really carry the momentum from this towards finishing the season strong.”
The Hawkeyes have three road meets before the Big Ten Championships. Iowa’s next contest will be against the ninth-ranked Golden Gophers on March 5th. Start time is 7 p.m. in Minneapolis.