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No reining him in

BY JORDAN GARRETSON | APRIL 16, 2009 7:32 AM

Iowa senior Geoff Reins will be just one of the Hawkeyes stepping into the University of Minnesota’s Sports Pavilion to compete in the NCAA championships.

But more specifically for the Buffalo Grove, Ill., native, it will be the last chance for him to put the finishing touches on an impressive career.

There’s not much else Reins can do to add to the sparkling list of accomplishments he has compiled since arriving in Iowa City.

As a freshman, he earned all-American honors after placing seventh on floor exercise at the NCAA championships.

As a sophomore, he earned all-American honors once again after a fourth-place finish on vault. As a junior he finished fourth on vault at the Big Ten championships in addition to posting three first-place finishes in the event during the season.

And now, in his final campaign, Reins has added a Big Ten championship to his résumé after scoring 16.125 on vault in the Big Ten individual finals on April 5.



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The only thing Reins is missing at this point is a national championship.

Despite a long history of collegiate gymnastics at Iowa, it’s an exclusive club — one that boasts just 12 individual national champions. The most recent was Michael Reavis’ vault championship in 2005.

But make no mistake. Reins certainly has the credentials to add his name to that short list.

“I haven’t seen him miss a vault in months,” Iowa junior captain Jonathan Buese said. “I don’t think there’s anybody who does a harder vault than he does, and his is really clean, too. I think he’s definitely got a legitimate shot.”

Iowa head coach Tom Dunn has said the performance Reins had on vault in the Big Ten team competition on April 4 (16.25) would win him a national championship. According to Dunn, Reins has developed a system that works.

“He’s not doing anything new,” Dunn said. “He’s doing the same routines, just perfecting everything, minimizing the deductions, and he looks real good.”

After four first-place finishes on floor exercise and six on vault this season, it’s hard to argue with the results. Reins has been the only constant in a season that has been full of variables for the Hawkeyes.

And despite winning a Big Ten championship, Reins doesn’t think there is any added pressure. While he knows the expectations for him to excel at the NCAA championships might be a little higher, he is making a point of not letting that hinder him.

“I’m not going to say ‘Hey, I won Big Tens, I need to prove myself at the national level,’ ” he said. “I’m just going to do what I’ve been doing all season, and I think if I do that, it will work out.”

But even a guy like Reins who seems to do and say all the right things, the man known for approaching every meet the same way — something all gymnasts say but a select few can actually do — admits that winning a national championship would make quite a difference to him.

“It’s something that I haven’t gotten yet, so it would definitely be a new experience,” Reins said. “I would be lying if I said it’s something I don’t want to do.”

While many would succumb to that desire when faced with the bright lights and the big stage, Dunn is assured Reins will come through in the clutch.

“He’s a senior, it’s his last meet, and he’s not the kind of athlete that’s going to choke in that situation,” Dunn said. “I don’t have any doubt he’ll have a national-championship-caliber performance.”

And looking at everything Reins has done — why would he?


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