Men’s gymnastics falls to Oklahoma


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A substantial crowd couldn’t help the Iowa men’s gymnastics team overcome the skill of No. 3 Oklahoma on Jan. 23, and the Hawkeyes fell to the Sooners, 349.50-340.95.

Iowa, which went into the meet ranked No. 8, bested Oklahoma on the floor exercise with a 58.10 score, as the Sooners posted a 55.30 on the pommel horse after one rotation.

But that proved to be the final lead the Hawkeyes saw — the Sooners scored higher than Iowa in every event afterward.

The Hawkeyes had a chance to gain ground when several Sooner gymnasts fell during their vault and rings dismounts. However, the high starting scores for Oklahoma made the falls a nonfactor.

Iowa head coach Tom Dunn said he felt good about his team’s performance despite the loss, noting the team improved from its 339.60 score at the Windy City Invitational on Jan. 16.

“I think the judging may have been a little stricter than last week, so I wasn’t sure if we could get a higher score,” Dunn said. “We had a a couple of bad misses on the floor and pommel horse. If we get those back, we have a really good score.”

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Freshman Matt McGrath, who had the highest score of any Iowa gymnast in three events, led the Hawkeyes. The Wheaton, Ill., native posted a 15.00 on floor, a 14.70 on rings, and a 15.55 on vault.

“He has been doing better in competitions than when he’s training, so it’s exciting to see your teammates do well,” Iowa senior Jon Buese said.

Dunn agreed, saying, “I don’t think he missed anything, so that was really good to see.”

In the other three events, sophomore Jacob Swafford scored highest for Iowa on the pommel horse with a 13.60 in his first meet of the season. Buese posted a 13.35 on the parallel bars and a 14.60 on the high bar.

Despite the good scores, though, no Hawkeye took the highest score in any event.

Oklahoma freshman Jake Dalton, the top freshman gymnast in the nation, illustrated why he was the most sought-after high-school senior a year ago. The Reno, Nev., native took the high score in four out of six events and won the all-around with a 89.6.

The all-around victory was his second in as many attempts.

Buese had the high all-around score for the Hawkeyes, 84.15.

Iowa will face No. 5 Michigan in Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Saturday night. The Wolverines defeated Penn State in a home meet Sunday afternoon, tallying a 355.65 — well above what the Hawkeyes have mustered thus far.

Michigan also took second in the Windy City Invitational on Jan. 16, a meet in which Iowa placed fourth. Dunn said he knows beating the Wolverines, even on Iowa’s home floor, won’t be an easy task.

“They are favored to win the Big Ten, and they are definitely a very tough team,” he said. “The crowd we had today was great, so hopefully, we can have some of the same at Carver.”

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