Feb. 28, 2013
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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 eighth-ranked University of Iowa men’s gymnastics team is rolling, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
The Hawkeyes concluded the month of February with three-straight Big Ten dual victories against top-10 opponents. Iowa defeated No. 6 Minnesota in Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Feb. 8, 422.750-419.450, winning 4-of-6 events.
Iowa followed with a victory at defending national champion Illinois on Feb. 16, on the night it raised its national title banner to the rafters. The visitors knocked off the four-time reigning conference champions in front of a stunned crowd at Huff Hall, 428.450-428.400, giving the squad its first victory over the seventh-ranked Illini in over a decade. The Hawkeyes claimed four event titles.
Last weekend, Iowa continued its winning ways, downing No. 10 Nebraska in Iowa City, 427.500-425.400. The Hawkeyes won five of the apparatuses, and senior Javier Balboa earned his third-consecutive all-around title.
Third-year head coach JD Reive and the Hawkeyes are starting to see results; their hard work is paying off.
“Once is luck, two is a coincidence, three means we’re getting something happening here. We’ve been gearing up for this all year. We have work that we have to do, but it’s absolutely within our grasp to do quickly and fix some things. It is literally anybody’s game when we change the rules next week.”
— UI head coach JD Reive
“Once is luck, two is a coincidence, three means we’re getting something happening here,” said Reive. “We’ve been gearing up for this all year. We have work that we have to do, but it’s absolutely within our grasp to do quickly and fix some things. It is literally anybody’s game when we change the rules next week.”
Starting this weekend, NCAA men’s gymnastics will move to a new format: five-up, five-count. To date this season, six competitors performed on each event and five scores counted. In the past, four of the six scores counted. The new format calls for five student-athletes to perform, and all five scores to count. This format is found in international competitions.
“We saw a little glimpse in Illinois of what five-up, five-count is going to do,” said Reive. “You cannot crumble. You have to be that much tougher, mentally. Physically, we are fit. It is all in the head at this point.”
In the new format, anything can happen. Teams are no longer allowed to drop a score. One misstep, and anything can happen.
“When we go to five-up, five-count, it literally is anyone’s game,” said Reive. “The best teams in the country can have a couple of falls, and anyone can overtake them. Nobody is that good.”
Iowa is looking for consistency heading into its final three duals and postseason competition.
“We have good intensity; we need to continue the consistency we’ve been having and clean up the little details, and keep the number (score) rising,” said Reive. “We need to see the attention-to-detail we have been touching on. Then it becomes not about whether you will fall, but about how well you are performing your routine. That is a gigantic shift in approach to a competition.
“The window is quickly closing, so we need to take advantage of every second we are in the gym. Our team is starting to do that, and that is what I want to see.”
The Hawkeyes will take their act on the road this weekend when they travel to Minneapolis on Saturday to take on No. 6 Minnesota for the second time this season. The event is set to begin at 7 p.m. at the Sports Pavilion in Minneapolis.
Iowa closes its dual season at Nebraska (March 16) before hosting UIC in its home finale on March 30. The Big Ten Championships will be held April 5-6 in Minneapolis and the NCAA Championships begin April 19 in University Park, Pa.