Geoff Reins a model of consistency for men’s gymnastics


The Iowa men’s gymnastics team has struggled to achieve consistency all season.

Senior Geoff Reins, however, is not on the same page.

After first-place finishes in both the vault and the floor exercise on Feb. 28 at Illinois, the Buffalo Grove, Ill., native was rewarded by being named co-Big Ten Gymnast of the Week last week. Those two wins also increased his season totals to four victories on the vault and three victories on the floor exercise in just six meets.

“It was a little bit of a surprise because there are a lot of good performances every week,” Iowa head coach Tom Dunn said. “There’s a lot of guys working five or six events that have a little more opportunity to shine, but he’s been winning those two events regularly, improving every week, upgrading his routines a bit, and scoring really well. It was very well deserved.”

But Reins’ performances this season shouldn’t surprise anyone. Not only was he named an all-American for gymnastics in his senior year at Adlai E. Stevenson High School when he won a national championship on the vault, he also earned all-American honors for his prowess as a wide receiver on the gridiron.

He didn’t wait long to experience success after arriving on campus. As a freshman, he earned all-American honors with a seventh-place finish in the vault at the NCAA championships. Additionally, he was named a second team All-America scholar athlete.

He topped that effort his sophomore year by finishing fourth on the vault at the NCAA championships, and went on to capture three first-place finishes in the vault his junior year.

Now, in his fourth and final season as a Hawkeye, Reins has become a model for consistency and his competitiveness has been the key ingredient in maintaining that.

“There’s just something about meets that I love competing in,” he said. “You get an adrenaline rush – it’s fun to perform.”

Dunn went on to describe Reins as “a natural competitor.”

“A lot of guys get a little nervous and make a few errors,” Dunn said. “But he’s just very focused, and the bigger the competition, the better he does.”

As one of only two seniors on a young squad, Reins has also assumed a leadership role. While he might not be your classic example of a leader, doing such things as shouting and cheering his teammates on at meets and giving advice, he has excelled at simply leading by example.

“He doesn’t cheer the most out of everyone on the team,” junior Reid Urbain said. “But he definitely works hard and hits his routines, and that’s exactly what we need. Instead of just talking the talk he can walk the walk as well.”

It’s that kind of reliability that serves as sort of a safety net for Reins’ teammates performing in the same events.

“It helps a lot with confidence,” fellow senior Diego Mercado-Austin said. “The guys that go before him don’t feel as much pressure. If one of us misses or something, we know he’s going to go out there and perform well.”

Iowa will expect just that from Reins with three more events remaining on its 2009 slate. They will also be the last competitions of Reins’ career. He plans on returning to campus this fall and continue to take classes before graduating in December. He hopes to find an occupation involving broadcasting either in the Iowa City-Cedar Rapids area or closer to Chicago.

But while he has thoroughly enjoyed gymnastics, Reins is more than ready for new things.

“This is a sport I’ve been a part of for pretty much my whole life,” Reins said. “I think I’m ready to move on, so it’s kind of an exciting time period for me. I definitely want to go out on a high note, but I don’t think it’s going to be an emotional time for me.”

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