Season in Review: Men's Gymnastics

April 22, 2016

The Hawkeyes competed in the NCAA Championships in Columbus, Ohio, April 15-16. On day one, Iowa competed in the team qualifiers, placing fourth overall with a score of 423.250. The squad missed the cut for team finals, but five Hawkeyes qualified for individual event finals.

Senior Matt Loochtan (all-around), senior Jack Boyle (all-around), junior Cory Paterson (high bar), sophomore Dylan Ellsworth (vault, parallel bars), and sophomore Austin Hodges (high bar) qualified for day two. Loochtan and were the top performers for Iowa, placing 10th (84.150) and 14th (83.600) in the all-around, respectively.

At the Big Ten Championships on April 1-2 in Columbus, Ohio, the Hawkeyes found themselves in a low scoring and tightly contested competition where eight points separated the top five teams. Iowa placed fifth with an overall score of 426.700, and Five gymnasts qualified for individual finals the following day.

Senior Jack Boyle (rings, high bar), senior Matt Loochtan (floor, rings), sophomore Austin Hodges (pommel horse), sophomore Dylan Ellsworth (vault), and senior Doug Sullivan (pommel horse) placed in the top 10 of their respective events to make it to day two. Loochtan led the way for Iowa with a runner-up finish on rings with a 15.100, earning first team All-Big Ten for the first time in his career. Sullivan was honored with Iowa’s Big Ten Sportsmanship Award.

Senior Jack Boyle was a finalist for the Nissen-Emery Award in 2016. This prestigious honor is given to the country’s most outstanding senior gymnast both in the gym and in the classroom. The last Hawkeye to be named a finalist for the award was Jonathan Buese in 2010.

Boyle, a Naperville, Illinois, native is a mechanical engineering major and three-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree. He finished the regular season fourth in the country on high bar with a four score average of 15.100 and 13th nationally in the all-around (86.000). Boyle lead the team on high bar with a season-high score of 15.300. He won five event titles, two all-around titles, and qualified for individual finals at the NCAA and Big Ten Championships in 2016. Army West Point’s Jesse Glenn won the award.

Senior Matt Loochtan was named Big Ten Gymnast of the Week on Feb. 27 after helping Iowa defeat No. 6 Nebraska and No. 8 Penn State. Loochtan earned five event titles on floor (15.350), rings (15.150), vault (14.450), parallel bars (14.850), and high bar (14.450) to help the Hawkeyes finish atop the leaderboard. At the time, his all-around score of 86.400 marked a career-high.

It was Iowa’s first Gymnast of the Week award since Jan. 26, 2015, when senior Jack Boyle won the honor and Loochtan’s second weekly honor of his career. He won Big Ten Freshman of the Week on April 1, 2013.

Iowa made history in back-to-back meets on Jan. 23-24. The Hawkeyes had never scored above a 430.000 team score in January in the program’s history. In 2016, the team did it twice with a 430.850 coming against Illinois and a 431.150 the next day at UIC.

Senior Jack Boyle finished the regular season ranked fourth nationally on high bar. Boyle owned a four score average of 15.100 through 10 meets on high bar. The Naperville, Illinois, native posted his career-high of 15.300 against Illinois on Jan. 23. As a team, the Hawkeyes ranked sixth nationally on high bar with a four score average of 71.900.

During the Hawkeyes’ off-day on Feb. 6, junior Cory Paterson traveled to Halifax, Nova Scotia, with assistant coach Ben Ketelsen for the 2016 Elite Canada Artistic Gymnastics Championships. Paterson placed seventh in the all-around competition with a 79.100 and third on high bar with a 13.600 effort.

Nine Hawkeyes were named Academic All-Big Ten for the winter season, tying a program record. Junior Andrew Botto, senior Jack Boyle, senior Cyrus Dobre-Mofid, sophomore Austin Hodges, senior Matt Loochtan, junior Cory Paterson, junior David Spanier, junior Mark Springett, and senior Doug Sullivan received the award. To be eligible, student-athletes must be letterwinners, be in their second academic year at the school, and carry a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better.

Three freshmen worked their way into the Iowa lineup this season. Jake Brodarzon burst onto the scene, competing in every regular season meet on floor exercise and parallel bars. He posted season-high scores on floor (14.850) and parallel bars (14.200) on March 12 in a victory over Minnesota on Senior Night. Todd Beyer competed for Iowa six times this season. The Cedar Rapids native, set a career-high on vault with a score of 14.900 in a win at UIC on Jan. 24. Rogelio Vazquez competed in 11 competitions this season on three events. His personal best on rings (14.550) came at Iowa’s 2016 home opener against Illinois on Jan. 23, his career-high on parallel bars came a day later at UIC with a score of 13.800, and he set his personal best on high bar in the final meet of the regular season at Nebraska with a 14.300.

With the departure of six seniors, the Iowa men’s gymnastics team signed three standout gymnasts for the 2016-17 season. Andrew Herrador (Sunnyvale, California), Nicholas Merryman (Brookline, New Hampshire) and Mitch Mandozzi (Harvard, Massachusetts) signed National Letters of Intent to continue their gymnastics careers at Iowa. The recruiting class has combined for nine state championships and five national championships.