Hawkeyes Finish Season With Record Setting Night

March 19, 2011

LINCOLN, Nebraska — The University of Iowa men’s gymnastics team finished the regular season with a bang Saturday night in Lincoln, breaking the school record for highest team score. The No. 11 Hawkeyes finished runner up in a triangular with No. 8 Nebraska and No. 9 Minnesota, finishing with a 351.800 team score.

The mark for Iowa bested the record set in 2008 when the Hawkeyes finished with a 349.400 against Illinois and Nebraska.

Iowa bested the Golden Gophers (348.600), while Nebraska took first with a 354.400. It was a fitting finale to the regular season for Iowa, who will head into the postseason with momentum following their highest team score of the season by three points and three first place finishes. Iowa’s previous top total this year was against Nebraska at home with a 348.100

“We had a fantastic run through six events. We had a pretty tough time on pommel horse, and maybe could have won the meet if not for that,” said head coach JD Reive. “I’m very pleased with our guys. The team score set a record, and that is something we can be happy with.”

The Hawkeyes also reached three individual school records on the day, two of which coming from senior Ben Ketelsen. Ketelsen scored a 14.900 on horizontal bar to place first and top Joel Snyder’s 2008 record. Ketelsen also tied the school record on pommel horse with a 14.900. The mark tied Jacob Becker and Curtis Kleffman’s mark on the event as Ketelsen placed second.

Sophomore Anton Gryshayev tied the school record on rings, a mark he is no stranger to. Gryshayev scored a 15.200 to place second, and now holds the top four scores on the event in program history.

Sophomore Matt McGrath finished with two first place finishes on the night, kicking things off with a 15.000 on floor exercise. Freshman and Iowa City native Lance Alberhasky, senior John Haines, and Ketelsen each paced Iowa with a score of 14.200.

Senior Mike Jiang followed suit with Ketelsen, hitting a strong routine on pommel horse. Jiang placed third with a 14.800. Sophomore Broderick Shemansky and Gryshayev also paced Iowa with each scoring a 13.700.

McGrath also paced Iowa on rings with a fourth place finish, scoring a 14.600. Shemansky also had a 14.400 to place sixth.

McGrath was just one-tenth away from a school record on vault, scoring a 16.200 to finish first. Jiang placed third (15.700), while Ketelsen (15.500) and Alberhasky (15.400) also paced the Black and Gold.

Sophomore Javier Balboa stepped forward for Iowa on parallel bars, leading the team with a score of 14.400 and a sixth place finish. Jiang (14.400), redshirt sophomore Jack McClay (14.200) and McGrath (14.1) also had strong finishes for Iowa.

Balboa was just one-tenth behind Ketelsen’s school record mark on horizontal bar. Balboa scored a 14.800 to place second and give Iowa a one-two punch in the event. Shemansky (14.500) and freshman Samuel Wright (14.500) also paced Iowa.

“Nobody was real standout or anything, but as a team, we were closer and closer to where we want to be,” said Reive. “This was a strong performance for us, and we still have some improvements to make heading to the Big Ten Championships.”

Iowa will head into the postseason with the Big Ten Championships next on the slate. The tournament is April 1-2 in Champaign, Illinois.

1. No. 8 Nebraska, 354.5002. No. 11 IOWA, 351.8003. No. 9 Minnesota, 348.600