Botto, Merryman Qualify for Winter Cup Challenge Finals

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LAS VEGAS – University of Iowa men’s gymnastics senior Andrew Botto registered top-20 finishes in three events in the preliminary sessions of the Winter Cup Challenge on Thursday evening.
Botto and freshmen Nick Merryman and Andrew Herrador represented the Hawkeyes in the prestigious event. The top 42 gymnasts based on all-around placement and points from the Men’s Program Committee advance to the final competition on Saturday. The top three gymnasts on each rotation also advance.  A combined two-day score will determine the all-around and individual champions.
Botto and Merryman will both move on to the Winter Cup Challenge on Saturday.
“The guys did great today,” said assistant coach Tom Buese. “Andrew (Herrador) started the day off for us, hitting his first parallel bar routine as a Hawkeye and finishing the meet well on high bar. Nick (Merryman) and (Andrew) Botto had a great competition in session two. Together they went 9-for-ten, and both gymnasts qualified to Winter Cup Finals. These guys represented Iowa Gymnastics very well, and it was one of Iowa’s best ever performances at Winter Cup.”
Botto recorded his highest finish of the day on rings. The senior finished eighth overall with a score of 14.050. Botto posted a season-best 13.700 on floor to tie for 17th, while his all-around score of 78.200 landed him a 19th-place finish.
Freshmen Nick Merryman competed on four events, including pommel horse, rings, parallel bars and high bar. He set a new season-best on pommel horse with a score of 13.500 that was tied for 12th. He scored a 13.400 on rings, a 12.500 on parallel bars and a 12.150 on high bar.
Andrew Herrador competed in the first session of prelims. The freshman finished 37th overall in all-around, with a score of 74.800. He made his Hawkeye debut competing in the all-around, rings, and parallel bars. He recorded a new season high of 11.950 on pommel horse to tie for 42nd.
Botto and Merryman will compete at the finals of the Winter Cup Challenge. Competition is scheduled to begin at 9:15 p.m. (CT) at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort.