IOWA CITY, Iowa — The No. 10-ranked University of Iowa men’s gymnastics team will send senior Andrew Botto and freshmen Andrew Herrador and Nick Merryman to Las Vegas for the annual Winter Cup Challenge this weekend.
The competition will run from Feb. 16-18 inside the Westgate Las Vegas Resort with prelims beginning on Feb. 16. Session I begins at 12:50 p.m. (CT) followed by session two at 6:20 p.m. (CT). Finals will take place on Feb. 18 at 9:15 p.m. (CT).
The top 42 gymnasts based on all-around placement and points from the Men’s Program Committee will advance to the final competition on Saturday. The top three gymnasts on each rotation will also advance. A combined two-day score will determine the all-around and individual champions.
The competition will help determine the 15 members of 2017 U.S. Men’s Senior National Team. The top four ranked all-around gymnasts will automatically qualify to be a member of the National Team. The eleven other members will be determined by the Men’s Program Committee. The members and alternates of the 2016 Olympic team will automatically qualify as long as they earn national points on both days of competition.
Botto will make his second appearance at the Winter Cup Challenge. He was selected based on his all-around score at the Windy City Invitational this year. His fifth place score of 78.300 secured him the invitation. Last year Botto placed 30th overall in all-around, but did not make the cut for finals.
Herrador was selected based on his performance at the 2016 P&G Championships. Last time out he led the Hawkeyes on floor (13.750), recorded a top-five finish on high bar (13.900), and notched a season high on vault (14.250) as Iowa hosted Oklahoma and Minnesota on Feb. 10.
Merryman was invited after his performance at the 2016 P&G Championships. Last time out for the Hawkeyes, he recorded a season-high score on parallel bars (13.550) and rings (13.450). He finished fifth and recorded his season-best score (13.100) on high bar and notched a season-best 12.850 on pommel horse against UIC on Jan. 22.
The Hawkeyes return to action on Feb. 25 when they travel to Champaign, Ill. to face the No. 3-ranked University of Illinois Fighting Illini. Competition is scheduled to start at 4 p.m. at Huff Hall.