March 25, 2014
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THIS WEEK: The No. 8 ranked Iowa men’s gymnastics team heads back to Lincoln, Neb., to compete in the Big Ten Championships March 28-29 at the Bob Devaney Sports Center. The two-day event will be shown live on the Big Ten Network with the prelims on Friday at 6 p.m. (CT) and the finals Saturday at 4 p.m. (CT).
QUOTING COACH REIVE: “Heading into the postseason, my expectation is to stay consistent. We need to go out and hit as many routines as we can, if not all of them, and put up the best scores. That way, if we get beat, the teams have to earn it. That is our primary job this weekend, to hit sets and make it difficult for teams to take us down. That way, we are controlling only what we control. “For us to be a team that succeeds in this conference, we have to go out there with a certain level of confidence. That is the epitome of what we are looking for this weekend with the consistency of the boys getting out there and truly performing and taking ownership of what they are performing in front of the judges”
REVENGE IS SWEET: On March 15, the Hawkeyes defeated No. 5 Minnesota, No. 6 Illinois, No. 8 Air Force, and No. 12 Nebraska in Lincoln, Neb. Iowa recorded a season-high score of 437.250 in the victory. Iowa was previously defeated by the Gophers 426.450-427.350 on March 8 in Minneapolis. Minnesota also won Iowa’s tri-meet on Feb. 15. Illinois finished ahead of Iowa 420.300-433.350 Feb. 7 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
MCGRATH RECEIVES TWO WEEKLY HONORS: Last week, redshirt senior Matt McGrath was named the Big Ten Gymnast of the Week and College Gymnast Association Gymnast of the Week for his efforts in Iowa’s victory in Lincoln, Neb. on March 15. The No. 7 Hawkeyes won the meet and set a new school record with a team score of 437.250. McGrath led the way, winning floor exercise (15.600) and vault (15.300) titles. He also finished runner-up on still rings (15.350). His performance on floor tied the school record, which was previously set by fellow teammate Matt Loochtan at Minnesota on March 8.
RECORD-BREAKING STREAK CONTINUES: Sophomore Matt Loochtan and redshirt senior Matt McGrath each set new individual event records at Minnesota on March 8. Loochtan broke a record with a 15.60 effort on floor, which was previously set by McGrath in 2011 (15.500). McGrath set a new record on vault with a 15.350 against the Gophers. The previous record of 16.3000 was set by Geoff Reins in 2008. An adjustment to the rules in vault competition would take one point off Reins record, allowing McGrath to best it with his effort. On March 15, the Hawkeyes set a new season-high team score of 437.250 in their meet against Minnesota, Illinois, Air Force and Nebraska in Lincoln, Neb. At the Arnold Classic on March 1, the Hawkeyes set another team record as they recorded a 75.350 on rings. In competition Feb. 23 at UIC, sophomore Jack Boyle tied Javier Balboa’s all-around record, with an 86.600 effort. 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. The Hawkeyes have set records in five of their last six competitions.
IOWA TAKES MINNESOTA TO FINAL EVENT: On March 8 in Minneapolis, the Hawkeyes had a chance to upset the sixth-ranked Gophers. Redshirt senior Matt McGrath almost became the hero when he scored a 15.350 on vault. Minnesota ended up winning the meet with a 427.350-426.450 victory.
MCGRATH NOMINATED: Matt McGrath has been nominated for the Nissen-Emery Award. Considered the `Heisman Trophy’ of college gymnastics, the award is the highest honor in college gymnastics and is awarded each year to the best senior collegiate gymnast. Gymnasts are not only judged on their athletic achievements, but for their sportsmanship and performance in the classroom.
NATIONALLY RANKED: The Iowa men’s gymnastics team is ranked eighth in this week’s poll. Iowa has been previously 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 Nebraksa.
HAWKEYES DOWN OHIO STATE: At the Arnold Classic on March 1, Iowa finished runner-up with a score of 431.600. No. 2 Michigan won the meet with a score of 437.500 and No. 3 Ohio State placed third with a score of 429.500. It was also the first meet with the new 5-up, 5-count scoring system. The victory over Ohio State marked Iowa’s first win over a team ranked in the top five this season. It was also the first win over the Buckeyes since the NCAA Championship Qualifier in 2006 when Iowa placed third with a score of 212.425 and Ohio State finished fourth with a score of 211.700.
RECORD-BREAKING RINGS: The Hawkeyes set a new team record on rings by recording a 75.350 at the Arnold Classic on March 1. Redshirt senior Matt McGrath proved his All-American status, winning the event with a 15.450. Sophomore Matt Loochtan finished runner-up as he recorded a 15.300, and freshman Andrew Botto tied for sixth with a 15.000. Redshirt junior Lance Alberhasky placed eighth with a 14.900 and sophomore Jack Boyle finished ninth with a 14.700.
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 a score of 41.700, which helped him earn an overall score of 83.050 and place 31st in a field of 42. McGrath’s final event scores included: 13.500 on floor, 13.300 on rings, and 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: 13.600 on vault and 12.850 on rings. In the final session of the meet, McGrath tallied a finals score of 41.700. He finished 31st in the meet with a score of 83.050 on the weekend.
IOWA POSTS FIRST WIN: On Feb. 23, the Hawkeyes earned their first dual meet 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 all-around record of 86.800 set in 2013.
GETTING BACK ON THE HORSE: In the beginning 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, while 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. Boyle continued to improve in the event at UIC on Feb. 23 when he scored a season-high 86.800, tying former Hawkeye standout Javier Balboa’s all-around record set in 2013. At the Arnold Classic on March 1, Boyle won his third all-around title this season with a score of 85.100.
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.
A LOOK BACK AT THE 2013 B1G CHAMPIONSHIPS: The Hawkeyes placed sixth with a team score of 422.500 at the 2013 Big Ten Championships at the Sports Pavilion in Minneapolis, Minn. Javier Balboa and Broderick Shemansky were named All-Big Ten
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.
UP NEXT: The 2014 NCAA Championships will take place April 10-12 at the Crisler Center in Ann Arbor, Mich. National qualifiers will begin the meet on Thursday, April 10th 1 p.m. (ET), followed by team and all-around finals and individual event prelims on Friday, April 11th at 7 p.m. (ET). The meet will conclude on Saturday, April 12th with individual event finals at 7 p.m. (ET).