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Buese, Ketelsen expect more

BY NICK GANS | FEBRUARY 12, 2010 7:30 AM

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Las Vegas is known as a city of luck and chance.

Senior Jon Buese and junior Ben Ketelsen were hoping for both last weekend at the Winter Cup on Feb. 4.

Leaving the No. 8 Iowa gymnastics team behind for a weekend, the two Hawkeyes ventured to Sin City looking to earn a spot on the U.S. National Gymnastics Team.

Although they failed to make the squad, the two left Las Vegas understanding what it takes to make noise in the Big Ten.

They also demonstrated that the Iowa gymnastics program is beginning to resurrect itself on the national stage.

“Seeing as we had no one [at the Winter Cup] last year, we just wanted to go there and show people that Iowa does still have good gymnastics,” Ketelsen said. “We wanted to show people that we can still compete with the best of them.”

While content with their overall scores and rankings, Buese and Ketelsen noticed many areas they can improve their performances.

Buese, who finished tied for 47th, said he was surprised by his performance in the vault, where a loss of focus caused a fall that lowered his score. After working to improve his consistency in practice, he said, he thinks the mistake is avoidable in the future.

Ketelsen finished 73rd after falling during a few of his events as well. Like Buese, he said the miscues can be corrected with practice. Compared with other gymnasts who fell at the meet, Ketelsen said he performed as well as anyone.

“I did learn that we are pretty close to the top performers in the nation,” he said.

Buese and Ketelsen are no strangers to elite competition. The duo previously participated in the Winter Cup, in addition to the Big Ten and NCAA championships.

But they noticed the Winter Cup judges were much stricter than those in the Big Ten meet. Yet despite an increased number of point deductions, the experience aided the pair’s development.

“They are trying to find the best people in the nation for the National Team, which is good,” Ketelsen said. “We can see how we compare at a tougher meet.”

But aside from tougher officiating and stiffer competition, Buese said, he wants to clean up his routine and increase its difficulty.

Likewise, Ketelsen plans to be in his best shape when its time to contend for a Big Ten title and All-American recognition. And the Hawkeyes expect to make their mark in the Big Ten Tournament next month.

“If we improve on what we did this year, we can, hopefully, get someone on the National Team next year,” Ketelson said.


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