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May 13, 2013

Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s May edition of Hawk Talk Monthly, the UI athletics department’s online publication.

IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa men’s gymnastics team completed its most successful season in nearly a decade under third-year head coach JD Reive in 2013. The Hawkeyes finished fifth nationally, marking the program’s best finish since 2000, and finished with three All-America honors, the most since 2005.

“This was a profound change for the program,” said Reive. “We have been putting in this theoretical work ethic for three years now since I got here, and now we can finally come back with tangible results; goals have been achieved.”

During the opening day of the NCAA Championships at Rec Hall in University Park, Pa., the Hawkeyes finished third in the second session of the NCAA National Qualifier. Their score of 426.550 earned them a berth in the team finals, marking the first time Iowa qualified for the team finals since 2006. The top three teams from each session (12 teams total) advanced to the team finals.

“We accomplished a goal we set at the beginning of the year, making team finals,” said Javier Balboa. “We were ranked 11th at the start of the year, and ended up fifth. We put Iowa back in everyone’s eyes.”

At the team finals, the Hawkeyes tallied a score of 426.450 to finish fifth in the nation, marking the program’s best finish since 2000 when it finished third.

Balboa placed sixth in the all-around (85.650) to earn All-America status. The senior became Iowa’s first all-around All-American since Michael Reavis in 2005, and the Hawkeyes’ first individual to earn All-America honors since Matt McGrath in 2011 (vault).

“My goals, long term for this program, I want that championship ring. I want that national championship. This was a huge step for us to take in that process.”
— UI head coach JD Reive

Iowa did not stop there. Balboa and fellow senior Anton Gryshayev earned All-America honors on the final day of competition at the NCAA Event Finals. Iowa had three gymnasts qualify for the NCAA Event Finals. Gryshayev, Balboa, and sophomore William Albert competed on the still rings. Gryshayev led the Hawkeyes with his score of 14.925 to place seventh on the event, while Balboa finished one spot behind with a 14.875. Albert rounded out the top-10, scoring 13.125. The top eight gymnasts on each event received All-America honors.

“Individually, I set a goal to be an All-American, and that is exactly what I accomplished,” said Gryshayev. “Coming away with the team final and an All-America honor, felt amazing.”

Balboa and Gryshayev earned the Hawkeyes’ first All-America honors on rings since Chris Camiscioli in 1998. The last time Iowa had two All-Americans on rings came in 1997 (Camiscioli, Dave Nemovitz).

Balboa became the first Hawkeye to earn All-America status in multiple events since Michael Reavis in 2005 (vault, all-around).

“After three years with coach Reive, everything has evolved to this point, to that weekend,” said Balboa. “His philosophy on work ethic is about consistency, and that is what we showed at NCAAs. It was a very successful senior year; I cannot ask for anything more.”

Iowa finished the 2013 season with three All-America honors — marking the first time since 2005 the program has garnered three or more in a single season.

“My goals, long term for this program, I want that championship ring,” said Reive. “I want that national championship. This was a huge step for us to take in that process.

“Every single kid that competed during the NCAA weekend was a huge part of that and the future of this program. We can say these are the goals we set, and we did exactly that. That is a great feeling.”