By ANNE RILEY
IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa men’s gymnastics team was able to cross off a goal after being named Big Ten regular season champions. Next on Iowa’s to-do list? A Big Ten Championship.
“I think winning the regular season Big Ten title gave us a lot of confidence,” said freshman Stewart Brown. “Coming in everyone doubted us and kept us out. I think winning the regular season was a big thing for us in proving ourselves. Going into this weekend I think we know that we have prepared to go hit our sets and the outcome will be what we want it to be.”
The Hawkeyes are going to be comfortable and confident going into the championships with the momentum they have, fresh off the regular-season title and their return home for the postseason.
The next time they hear their names roar through Carver, it won’t be just any other home meet. It is going to be a podium-style Big Ten Championship.
“I think it is exciting that we are going to have the Big Ten Championships at home,” said head coach JD Reive. “It changes the dynamic a little bit. There is a little more energy, a little more hometown feel, a little more in our electricity being in our own arena.”
The team wants to run out of the arena’s famous tunnel into a sea of black and gold and the loudest I-O-W-A’s in Carver history.
“I am hoping to get a big home crowd,” said senior Kevin Johnson. “That way we will have a great atmosphere to motivate us to get the championship”
“I am really excited for the energy that will be at Carver,” said Brown. “There are a lot of friends and family coming from home to watch, so I think that will be really good for me. I am going to enjoy competing in Carver, I will be comfortable there because I have done it multiple times. I think everything is laid out in the right position for the rest of the team and I to do well.”
The Hawkeyes are excited to showcase their success in the biggest meet so far, and on the biggest stage, and they want to share it with their fans.
“Bring the energy. Bring the noise. Have an incredible time,” said Reive. “This is one of the best gymnastics meets in the world, by far. I think the Big Ten championships are an amazing event to watch, so being there to experience it first hand is awesome, especially in Carver with the podium. It is world-class.
“We are going to kick butt. Bring the love and the energy for the guys, because they have earned the right to be out there competing for the title. It has been a lot of hard work, so come and join them and be a part of that.”
The Hawkeyes host the Big Ten Championships on April 5-6 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Competition begins at 7 p.m. (CT) both days and will be aired on the Big Ten Network. Tickets are available at hawkeyesports.com. All-Session tickets are $10 or $7 with a group of 20 or more and Single-session tickets are $7 or $4 with a group of 20 or more.