No. 11 Hawkeyes To Raise Ante With NCAA National Qualifer

April 11, 2011

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THIS WEEK: The No. 11 University of Iowa men’s gymnastics team will compete at the NCAA National Qualifier Thursday at St. John Arena in Columbus, Ohio. The Hawkeyes will be bidding for a spot in the NCAA Championships, which will be the following two days for the qualifying teams and individuals. Iowa will be in Session II of the qualifier. Start time is 6 p.m. (CT).

SCOUTING REPORT: Also in Session II will be No. 2 Stanford, No. 3 California, No. 6 Michigan, No. 7 Ohio State and No. 10 Nebraska. Iowa has competed against all of those squads except for the Cardinal. There are 32 ranked gymnasts in Session II.

QUALIFICATION: The top three teams from Session I and II will advance to the NCAA Championships. Also, the top three all-around competitors not already on a qualifying team, and the top six individuals per event who are not members of qualifying teams and who have not already qualified on all-around will advance.

ON TV: ESPN2 will be broadcasting the team and all-around finals of the NCAA Championships on Friday. Mike Gleason and Bart Connor will be broadcasting. The event will air on tape delay at 12:30 p.m. (CT) on April 21st.

IN THE RANKINGS: Iowa is ranked 11th in the most recent polls. Senior Mike Jiang is ranked ninth on pommel horse. Sophomore Matt McGrath is ranked 11th on floor exercise. Senior Ben Ketelsen is also ranked 18th on pommel horse.

LAST TIME OUT: The Hawkeyes placed sixth at the Big Ten Championships at Illinois’ Huff Hall. Iowa finished with a team score of 333.900. Both McGrath and Jiang advanced to the individual event finals following the team competition. Javier Balboa also placed 12th on parallel bars (14.150), while Broderick Shemansky placed 12th on horizontal bar (14.00). Junior Zach Cazabon placed 15th on pommel horse with a season-best score of 13.850

McGRATH, JIANG REACH EVENT FINALS: McGrath led Iowa after the first day of action at the Big Ten Championships, placing fifth on floor exercise to provide Iowa’s top finish and advance. McGrath’s routine scored a 14.750. Jiang also placed eighth on pommel horse with a 14.300 to also advance to the event finals. McGrath went on to place seventh (14.300), while Jiang finished ninth (12.950) after the final day of competition.

KETELSEN FINISHES STRONG: In his last regular season action at Nebraska, senior Ben Ketelsen capped the season strong. Ketelsen broke one school record and tied another. Ketelsen’s 14.9 on horizontal bar broke Joel Snyder’s 2008 record. Ketelsen’s 14.9 on pommel horse also tied Jacob Becker, Curtis Kleffman and Jiang’s record mark.

A NEW ERA: The Hawkeyes 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. Assisting Reive will be Dmitri Trouch and Brad Virkler.