February 2019

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35 T he first competition of the season is always nerve-racking for any student-athlete, but the ninth-ranked University of Iowa men's gymnastics team proved that it can shake the nerves and battle. e Hawkeyes started their season competing at the Windy City Invitational in Chicago, hitting 29 of 30 routines. at allowed eight Hawkeyes to place in the top-10 in 10 routines, including three top-10 finishers in the all-around competition. "I was pleased with our opening performance," said Iowa head coach JD Reive. "is meet has consistently been a difficult season opener. It's high pressure, a lot of good Big Ten teams, and it's a powerful environment. We did better this weekend than we have at this meet since I've been here. What we wanted to do was hit sets and we did that. We were pretty consistent." "I think for me, it was a good steppingstone that I can build off of," said freshman Evan Davis. "I did average in everything and I think that at every event I have multiple points that I can improve, so later on in the season and even the next competition, I can add two or three tenths to each score and eventually be up there in the high all- around spaces." e Hawkeyes are taking that early success and turning it into confidence. Reive sees that in practice, which he says is where they are going to make the biggest improvements. "We showed a significant maturation in this first meet," said Reive. "ey're starting to play the game a little better, it's all about nit-picking tenths and three-tenths here and fixing things. "ey're starting to evaluate the numbers, look at scores and the judge's sheets to work on some of these things. at is going to help us as we continue through, especially starting the Big Ten season." e adjustments in practice showed in week two against No. 4 Illinois, where each competitor bested their score from the Windy City Invitational on pommel horse and vault. Sophomore Bennet Huang and junior Andrew Herrador captured the vault title with scores of 14.550 which led to them placing second and third in the all-around competition, respectively. "Our biggest strength is our mental toughness," said Huang. "I think we can be mentally tough and if we can do that we can go into every competition with the chance to win. If we continue to hit sets and clean up the smaller things, we can get there." e Hawkeyes open their home slate Feb. 2, hosting No. 6 Minnesota and No. 18 Illinois- Chicago. FEBRUARY SCHEDULE Feb. 2 Minnesota, UIC Feb. 9 Oklahoma Feb. 15 at Winter Cup (at Las Vegas) Feb. 17 at Winter Cup (at Las Vegas)

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