April 6, 2012
Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.
IOWA CITY, Iowa — The national spotlight will be on Carver-Hawkeye Arena this weekend as some of the top gymnasts in the country will compete in the 2012 Big Ten Men’s Gymnastics Championships, hosted by the University of Iowa. With seven teams ranked in the top-11, including three of the top five teams in country, Iowa City will be the temporary home for the best in men’s collegiate gymnastics.
Forty eight Big Ten gymnasts are nationally ranked heading in to this weekend’s championships. Not only are the competitors some of the best in the country, they are also international names in the sport.
“The Big Ten has a bunch of guys that have competed internationally,” Reive said. “Fans are going to see guys that are going to be at the Visa Championships, Olympic Trails and possibly the 2012 Olympics. Overall, this conference is insanely strong. There are two or three candidates that have the potential to be the NCAA champion. This is not only national, but international caliber gymnastics.”
One of Iowa’s top gymnasts, 2011 All-American Matt McGrath, can’t wait to get on the competition floor at the championships but knows composure at a big event is the key to success.
“This sport isn’t about winning in January. That’s great for confidence levels, but to maintain the level of physical and mental exertion it takes to compete at a high level is extremely hard. The idea is to be peaking at Big Ten and NCAA Championships. With everything that is happening with our team right now, I’m pretty comfortable with where the team is at. They are at their physical and emotional peak at this point.”
UI head coach JD Reive
“There are going to be a lot of good guys at our arena,” McGrath said. “Some of them even have the possibility of going to the 2012 Olympics. We are going to try to stay in our zone, focus on ourselves and try to win this thing.”
Another Hawkeye gymnast to keep an eye on this weekend is Anton Gryshayev. In Iowa’s regular season finale at Nebraska, Gryshayev shattered his own school record on rings, scoring a 15.750. Only three scores in all of NCAA Division I gymnastics have been higher during the season, and he owns the top seven rings scores in school history.
Gryshayev, who was named co-Big Ten Gymnast of the Week for his efforts, knows it’s special to host an event like a conference championship.
“It’s a very big deal to be hosting this event,” Gryshayev said. “I’m very fortunate to have this opportunity, to host the Big Ten Championships, in my career at Iowa. Having such a strong field will allow us to show what gymnastics is all about and give the fans a different perspective.”
Iowa seems to be saving its best for last in terms of team scores. The Hawkeyes are coming off their best performance of the year, scoring a season high 343.350 at Nebraska. Getting hot at the right time is all a part of Reive’s plan.
“This sport isn’t about winning in January,” Reive said. “That’s great for confidence levels, but to maintain the level of physical and mental exertion it takes to compete at a high level is extremely hard. The idea is to be peaking at Big Ten and NCAA Championships. With everything that is happening with our team right now, I’m pretty comfortable with where the team is at. They are at their physical and emotional peak at this point.”
Reive and his system is the reason scores are going so high at the end of the season, according to Gryshayev.
“JD’s program is what’s clicking for me,” Gryshayev said. “You have to buy into it and you will see success. I’m scoring higher and the results are showing. That’s all based on listening to what JD is saying and buying into his program.”
Another part of Reive’s program is consistency. He is hoping that shows at the Big Ten Championships this weekend.
“I want our guys to handle this weekend maturely and professionally,” Reive said. “We need to hit all routines, but if we miss one, the guy needs to finish it like it’s the best thing he’s ever done and the team needs to stay composed.”
Big Ten Championships action begins with the team and all-around competition tonight at 7 p.m. The individual event finals are Saturday at 7 p.m. If you can’t make it to Carver-Hawkeye Arena, both sessions will be televised live on BTN.