February 2016

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Page 192 of 212

193 C ompeting in two meets in two days can be hard on a gymnast mentally and physically, but the University of Iowa men's gymnas- tics team can look back on its rare double dose of competition as a success and something to build upon. e Hawkeyes scheduled back-to-back meets Jan. 23-24. On Jan. 23, 10th-ranked Iowa hosted third-ranked Illinois. e teams battled with Illinois pulling away on the last rotation for the 431.150 to 430.850 edge. e Hawkeyes took the loss in stride and moved on the next day with an impressive victory over Illinois-Chicago in Chicago. UI senior Doug Sullivan broke his school record, four Hawkeyes set career highs, and even more set season bests on their way to a 431.800 to 388.100 victory. "Rarely do we do this kind of stuff," UI head coach JD Reive said of the schedule. "When the oppor- tunity presented itself, it made sense because of where we are physically and mentally. It wasn't brutal because the travel and timing were easy. e opportunity to get in front of judges two days in a row and work through the nerves and anxiety of competing was tremendous." While the team's 1-1 record for the weekend may appear average, it is also deceiving. In the last two seasons, Iowa did not post a team score above 430.000 until the month of February. is year, the team has done it twice in January. Reive credits the regular season schedule for simu- lating postseason. "Postseason is all about two days of competition," Reive said. "We did it early, but the best teams have to be able to show up and perform at their best the first day and the second day. at's really all we do. We try to build a team to qualify for that second day. We need to be able to handle these things." Healthy competition in the gym allows for each Hawkeye to be their best and strive to obtain a spot in the lineup. Two gymnasts that have been in the lineup more fre- quently this year are sophomore Dylan Ellsworth and junior Mark Springett. Ellsworth, who competed in all-around for the Hawkeyes against Illinois, earned his first event title of the season with a career-best 15.200. Against Illinois-Chicago, Ellsworth claimed a vault title with another career-high score of 15.350. Springett, who has only competed once in his first two seasons at Iowa, has been in the floor, rings, and vault lineup in every meet this season. "He has worked really hard over the last two years," Reive said of Springett. "He has put in a lot of time. If you look at his scores from the last two weekends, he is contributing. He has earned his way and we are proud of him." FEBRUARY SCHEDULE Feb. 13 at Minnesota Feb. 18-20 at Winter Cup (Las Vegas) Feb. 27 Penn State & Nebraska (Field House)

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