Hawkeyes Prepare for Arnold Classic

Feb. 25, 2014

Arnold Classic Release

THIS WEEK: The No. 8 ranked Iowa men’s gymnastics team travels to Columbus, Ohio., to compete in the 14th annual Arnold Classic on Saturday, March 1 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. Iowa will go up against conference foes No. 3 Ohio State, No. 2 Michigan, and No. 11 Nebraska, along with Arizona State in the all-day event. For more information on the meet, visit http://arnoldsportsfestival.com/gymnastics/.

QUOTING COACH REIVE: “This weekend’s event if very important, not only to us, but for the entire NCAA because it is the first competition in which the new `5-up, 5-count’ system will be used. This means that we will have no routines to fall back on and each one will count toward the team score. This makes the competition more intimidating and brings more pressure to the athletes. Our main goal this weekend is to not just beat other teams, but hit our sets. If we can go out and hit as many routines as we can, we will be in good shape.”

WINTER CUP OVERVIEW: The Hawkeyes had three representatives — redshirt senior Matt McGrath, sophomore Matt Loochtan, and freshman Andrew Botto — compete in the second session of the Winter Cup Feb. 20. Of the three gymnasts, McGrath was the only one to advance to the finals on Feb. 22. In the finals, McGrath tallied an score score of 41.700, which helpe him earn an overall score of 83.050 and place 31st in a field of 42. McGrath’s final event scores include 13.500 on floor, 13.300 on rings, and a 14.900 on vault.

MCGRATH MAKES THE FINALS: Redshirt senior Matt McGrath represented the Iowa men’s gymnastics team in the finals of the Winter Cup on Feb. 22. In the first session on Feb. 20, McGrath placed 63rd with an overall score of 41.350 and tied for 10th on vault with a 14.900. His other scores included a 13.600 on vault and a 12.850 on rings. In the final session of the meet, McGrath tallied a finals score of 41.700. His overall score on the weekend was 83.050. He finished 31st.

IOWA POSTS FIRST WIN: On Feb. 23, the Hawkeyes earned their first win of the season defeating the University of Illinois-Chicago Flames 431.400 to 409.900 in Chicago. Sophomore Jack Boyle took first out of four all-around competitors with a season-high 86.800. The score ties former Iowa standout Javier Balboa’s previous all-around record 86.800 set in 2013.

SEASON HIGHS: Floor Exercise — Matt McGrath: 15.200 vs. Illinois Pommel Horse — Doug Sullivan: 15.250 vs. Minnesota/Nebraska (school record) Rings — Jack Boyle: 15.600 @ UIC Vault — Matt McGrath: 15.100 vs. Minnesota/Nebraska, @ Oklahoma Parallel Bars — Cyrus Dobre-Mofid: 15.000 @ UIC Horizontal Bar — Mitchell Landau: 15.200 vs. Illinois, @ Oklahoma All-Around — Jack Boyle: 86.800 @ UIC (ties school record) Overall Team Score — 433.050 vs. Minnesota/Nebraska (school record)

GETTING BACK ON THE HORSE: Throughout the course of the season, pommel horse seemed to be the one event that Iowa struggled in. However, the Hawkeyes overcame that fault in a big way recording a season-high 71.700 on the event against Minnesota and Nebraska on Feb. 15. Sophomore Doug Sullivan set an individual school record of 15.250 and won the event. Sophomore Emmanuel Monroy took third with a 14.700 and sophomore Del Vecchio Orozco finished fifth with a 14.350. Freshman Cory Paterson scored a 13.800 and junior Mitchell Landau and freshman David Spanier each scored a 13.600.

ALL AROUND SUCCESS: As the Hawkeyes’ most consistent competitor in the all-around, sophomore Jack Boyle has steadily improved his score this season. Despite recording a season-low 82.050 against Illinois on Feb. 7, he bounced back against Minnesota and Nebraska, raising his score to 85.600. Last weekend, Boyle scored a season-high 86.800 at UIC, tying former Hawkeye standout Javier Balboa’s previous all-around record of 86.800 set in 2013.

NATIONALLY RANKED: The Iowa men’s gymnastics team is currently ranked No. 8 in this week’s poll. Iowa has been ranked eighth, 10th, and ninth so far this season. The Big Ten Conference has seven nationally ranked teams including: No. 2 Michigan, No. 3 Ohio State, No. 5 Minnesota, No. 6 Illinois, No. 7 Penn State, No. 8 Iowa, and No. 11 Nebraska.

BREAKING RECORDS: Against Minnesota and Nebraska on Feb. 15, three Iowa men’s gymnastics school records were broken. Sophomore Doug Sullivan set a new mark on the pommel horse by recording a score of 15.250. The previous record of 14.900, held by Mike Jiang, Ben Ketelsen, Curtis Kleffman, and Jacob Becker, was established in 2011. On vault, a new team record was set as Iowa posted 74.150 in the event. The Hawkeyes also set a school record with a 433.050 overall team score. In competition last weekend at UIC, sophomore Jack Boyle tied Javier Balboa’s all-around record, recording a 86.600.

GYMNASTS TO WATCH: Redshirt senior Matt McGrath and sophomore Jack Boyle were selected to the Big Ten Preseason Gymnasts Watch List. McGrath, who is one of two seniors included in the Big Ten’s Watch List, returns after using a medical redshirt last season. McGrath, a Wheaton Ill., native, advanced to the event finals of the 2012 Big Ten Championships on vault and took eighth place with a score of 14.900. Boyle, a Naperville, Ill. native, finished his freshman season with a 19th place finish in the high bar at the NCAA Team Finals. The Hawkeyes were also picked to finish sixth in the Big Ten Preseason Coaches Poll.

HEAD COACH JD Reive: JD Reive is in his fourth season as the 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. Iowa broke the total team score record with a 351.800 on March 24, 2011. Six gymnasts also punched their tickets to compete individually at the NCAA Championships. Reive coached his first Hawkeye — Matt McGrath — to All-America honors in 2011. In 2012, Reive coached three Hawkeyes — Javier Balboa, Broderick Shemansky, Anton Gryshayev — to the individual event semifinals at the NCAA Championships. The 2013 season was the most successful season in nearly a decade. Reive coached three All-Americans — Balboa, Gryshayev, William Albert — and coached the Hawkeyes to a fifth place finish at the NCAA Championships — Iowa’s best finish since 2005. Reive, who is the seventh head coach in the program history, came to Iowa City after serving as an assistant coach at Stanford from 2003-10.

BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIPS: The 2014 Big Ten Championships will be in Lincoln, Neb., March 28-29. The two-day event will be shown live on the Big Ten Network on Friday at 7 p.m. (CT) and Saturday at 5 p.m. (CT).

UP NEXT: The Hawkeyes travel to Minneapolis, to compete against Minnesota on March 8. On Feb. 15, Iowa hosted a tri-meet against the Gophers and Nebraska. Minnesota won the meet with a score of 437.400, the Hawkeyes placed second with a score of 433.050 and the Huskers finished third with a score of 418.150.