MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – The University of Iowa men’s gymnastics team clinched a share of the first-ever regular-season Big Ten Championship in Minneapolis on Saturday at the Maturi Pavilion. The Hawkeyes placed second behind the Gophers with an overall team score of 406.350. Minnesota scored 410.950 and Penn State garnered a 398.200.
This season marks the first time in conference history a regular season conference champion has been crowned. It is Iowa’s first Big Ten title since 1998.
Senior Jake Brodarzon placed first on rings with a career-best 14.500, and junior Andrew Herrador took the crown on high bar with a season-high 14.000. The Hawkeyes tied or bested eight season or career-highs.
QUOTING COACH REIVE
“I am incredibly proud of the boys. They performed really well. They were essentially 29-for-30, we hit, we had great energy, and everyone stayed together. This is what we trained for this week, so we did what we prepared to do. We are going to get back in the gym so we can do it again when we host Big Tens in Iowa City.”
HEAR FROM THE HAWKEYES
“I’m super proud of our entire team for winning the Big Ten regular season. From the start to the finish of the meet, our guys put up a huge fight and every single person had each other’s backs. It was also great to finally hit 30-for-30 for the first time this season. I’m hoping that we can continue this momentum into Big Ten Championships at Carver and contend for the title.”
“We have been working for this goal since June 1st when we all came back for summer determined to change the culture surrounding this program. We all had an undying belief that we could win this title and wrote it on our board in the gym to look at every single day. It was one of the hardest journeys we’ve been on, but we did it together. We bought in. And when everyone else didn’t believe in us, we kept saying why not us. And while we’re ecstatic about the outcome today, we are even more excited about how this sets us up going into post season, because we are not done yet!”
HOW IT HAPPENED
Brodarzon led Iowa, placing first on rings with a career-best 14.500. Junior Brandon Wong contributed 13.700 (6th) to the Hawkeyes’ 67.600 rotation score. Iowa trailed the Gophers by .150 after the first rotation.
Sophomore Bennet Huang led the Hawkeyes with a 13.850 to place fifth in the event. Sophomore Kulani Taylor posted a season-high 13.550 (8th) and freshman Evan Davis notched a career-best 13.800 (6th). After the second rotation Iowa led Minnesota and Penn State with an overall team score of 135.950.
Huang placed third with a 13.750 to lead Iowa to a 65.900 rotation score. Davis and junior Addison Chung contributed 13.200 (8th) and 13.100 (10th) respectively. Iowa fell behind Minnesota but maintained a lead over the Nittany Lions through three rotations.
Herrador captured the high bar title with a season-high 14.000. Junior Mitch Mandozzi garnered a 13.650 to place fourth and Davis posted a 13.250 to place sixth. Huang and junior Nick Merryman contributed 13.200 (9th) and 12.150 (14th), respectively to Iowa’s 66.250 rotation score.
Three Hawkeyes posted career-high scores on vault to lead to Iowa’s highest rotation score of the night (71.150). Freshman Stewart Brown led the Hawkeyes with a career-best 14.600 (4th), Mandozzi followed with a career-high 14.300 (8th) and Davis tied a career-best 14.150 (10th).
Merryman posted a team-high 13.800 to place seventh on the event and Huang garnered a season-high 13.400 to place 10th. Mandozzi and Brodarzon contributed 13.700 (8th) and 13.600 (9th) to Iowa’s 67.000 rotation score.
Huang placed second in the all-around to the 2018 NCAA event runner-up (Shane Wiskus, Minnesota) with an 81.250. The sophomore placed third on pommel horse with a 13.750. Huang posted a career-best on rings with a 13.900 (17th) and a season-high parallel bars score of 13.400 (10th).
The Hawkeyes return to Carver-Hawkeye Arena to host the Big Ten Championships on April 5-6.