Hawkeyes Head to Metroplex Challenge

Jan. 23, 2013

The 10th-ranked University of Iowa men’s gymnastics team will travel to the Metroplex Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas on Friday. The event is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. (CT) at the Fort Worth Convention Center. Oklahoma, Illinois, Ohio State, and club teams from Texas and Texas A&M will join the Hawkeyes at the meet.

Iowa opened the season last Saturday at the 43rd annual Windy City Invitational in Chicago. The Hawkeyes finished fifth in the event — the oldest and largest regular-season event in the nation. Three Hawkeyes won event titles. Freshman Matt Loochtan scored a 15.400 on the floor exercise. It marked the highest individual score on any event during the meet. Senior Anton Gryshayev scored a 15.150 on rings and fellow classmate Javier Balboa posted a score of 15.200 on parallel bars. Loochtan, an Illinois native, placed fifth in the all-around (82.300) in his collegiate debut.

Season tickets are currently on sale for $15 for adults. Fans purchasing season tickets will gain admission to four home meets, including two against league foes. The season ticket package includes premium seating options and one Iowa men’s gymnastics t-shirt. All youth, 18 and younger, and UI students are admitted free to all home matches. Iowa opens against 2012 national runner-up Oklahoma at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Feb. 2. Fans interested in attending home meets at Carver-Hawkeye Arena should visit hawkeyesports.com or contact the UI Athletics Ticket Office at 1-800 IA-HAWKS.

The Hawkeyes are currently ranked 10th by GymInfo. All seven Big Ten teams are ranked in the top 10. Illinois leads the way at No. 1, followed by preseason league favorite Michigan (No. 2). Penn State sits in fourth, while Minnesota (No. 7), Ohio State (No. 8) and Nebraska (No. 9) join the Hawkeyes in the top 10.

JD Reive is in his third season as head coach of the University of Iowa men’s gymnastics team. In his first season at the helm of the Iowa program, the Hawkeyes broke four team records and five individual records under Reive’s guidance. Iowa broke the total team score record with a 351.800 on March 24, 2011. Six gymnasts punched their tickets to compete individually at the NCAA Championships in Reive’s first season. Reive coached his first Hawkeye to All-America honors with Matt McGrath in 2011. In 2012, he coached three Hawkeyes (Javier Balboa, Broderick Shemansky, Anton Gryshayev) to the individual event semifinals at the NCAA Championships. Reive, who is the seventh head coach in the program history, came to Iowa City after serving as an assistant coach at men’s gymnastics powerhouse Stanford from 2003-10.

Iowa welcomes two new faces to the coaching staff for the 2013 season. Michael Heredia and Ben Ketelson will assist head coach JD Reive. Heredia, a native of Reno, Nev., began his collegiate gymnastics career at Nebraska (2009-10) and finished his collegiate career at Oklahoma (2010-12). As a Sooner, Heredia was a two-year letterwinner on a team that finished second at the 2011 and 2012 NCAA Championships. He earned All-America status on the vault as a senior in 2012. Ketelsen, who hails from Lancaster, Ohio, has been a member of the Iowa men’s gymnastics program for the last five years. He competed at Iowa from 2007-11 before serving as a volunteer assistant coach last season. Ketelsen was a four-year letterwinner for the Hawkeyes and served as team captain in 2010 and 2011. He was a Big Ten event finalist and an NCAA qualifier.

Iowa will host its home opener against No. 4 Oklahoma, the 2012 NCAA runner-up, on Feb. 2. The event will take place at Carver Hawkeye Arena at 5:00 p.m.