April 7, 2014
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THIS WEEK: The No. 8 ranked Iowa men’s gymnastics team heads to Ann Arbor, Mich., to compete in the NCAA Championships, April 10-12, at the Crisler Center on the campus of the University of Michigan. The Hawkeyes will compete in the first session on Thursday at 12 p.m. (CT).
QUOTING COACH REIVE: “The whole team is really excited to get to NCAA’s. We’ve been saying it all year, they’re incredibly well prepared. We’re fit, we’re healthy, we’re ready to go. We’ve been waiting the entire season to get to that point and it’s finally here, so it’s a little nerve-racking at the same time, but we’re really excited to get to Ann Arbor. “The goal is to go out, hit our routines and do the gymnastics that we do. We want to have a good time and showcase all of the work that we’ve been doing throughout the course of the year and let all of the pieces fall into place.”
B1G CHAMPIONSHIPS: The Hawkeyes placed seventh at the Big Ten Championships, March 28-29, at the Bob Devaney Sports Center in Lincoln. Iowa recorded an overall team score of 425:600. Michigan won its second consecutive Big Ten title with a score of 448.200, while Ohio State took the runner-up spot with a score of 441.050. Penn State (438.000), Illinois (435.350), Minnesota (429.150) and Nebraska (428.150) finished third, fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively. In the all-around and team competition, redshirt senior Matt McGrath posted a score of 15.050 and finished seventh on floor. He also recorded a 15.000 on rings and tied for 10th. Sophomore Matt Loochtan tallied a score 15.100 and placed ninth. Junior Mitchell Landau finished eighth on high bar with a score of 14.800. Sophomore Doug Sullivan tied for seventh on pommel horse with a score of 14.800. In the individual competition, McGrath recorded a 15.100 on floor and placed fourth. On rings, Loochtan tallied a 14.950 and placed ninth. Landau tallied a 15.025 and finished fourth on high bar, while Sullivan recorded a 14.575 and placed fifth on pommel horse.
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. 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: 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 (15.600), 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 seven 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.
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.
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.