May 2016

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Page 142 of 160

143 D espite concluding the 2016 season at the NCAA Championships a few weeks ago, the University of Iowa men's gymnastics team has begun to turn the page and set its sights on a successful 2017. Seniors and co-captains Matt Loochtan and Jack Boyle led the Hawkeyes through the 2016 season that culminated with a fih-place finish at the Big Ten Championship and eighth place at nationals. While the team did not reach its goals of a top- three NCAA finish, it learned a lot along the way that will help the Hawkeyes continue to improve for years to come. "We have already started talking about (next season)," UI head coach JD Reive said. "We talked about what the leadership is going to look like, what did we not accomplish this year that we need to, and how that starts the second we get back to campus. We also talked about what the planning looks like, what the summer looks like, and how we bring the new freshman in who are replacing a lot of guys." e departure of Boyle and Loochtan, along with fellow seniors Cyrus-Dobre-Mofid, Emmanuel Monroy, Del Vecchio Orozco, and Doug Sullivan, will leave gaps to fill heading in to summer train- ing. Before the new season begins, Reive reflected on his favorite moment of the 2016 season. "Senior Night," Reive said. "I recruited this group early in my time at Iowa and they've helped build the program. Watching them come in as bright- eyed freshmen, leave as mature seniors, and have a great competition that night; that was one of our highlight meets. "We had great routines and great landings all the way through. We won the meet (against Minne- sota) and sent the core of my history at Iowa off on a high note." Sophomore Cory Paterson believes everyone can play a part in leading the squad in the future. "I feel the leadership role falls on the entire team," Paterson said. "We are losing so many guys on so many different events, so everyone needs to step up and do their part to take their place, especially the seniors and upperclassmen." Experience gained by underclassmen who quali- fied for NCAA individual event finals this season will assist in this process because they have been exposed to the highest level of gymnastics. Fu- ture building blocks of the program like Paterson, sophomore Austin Hodges, and sophomore Dylan Ellsworth found themselves in the heat of compe- tition in big moments. "It's important that we have sophomores and a junior in the event finals as underclassmen," Reive said. "It's crucial to their development. You don't want to wait until they are a senior to try and get All-American, you want to get them several times and try and garner that respected status. at is their opportunity to start that."

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