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Men’s gymnasts forget about results, focus on improvement

BY RYAN MURPHY | JANUARY 21, 2011 7:10 AM

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JD Reive expects his team to leave the Field House with a victory over Illinois-Chicago on Saturday.

For the first-year Iowa head men’s gymnastics coach, though, this meet is more about improvement than simply getting the win.

“I’m trying to get them to get away from focusing on the end result and understand the process. When you do that, the end result comes almost guaranteed,” Reive said. “The important thing for this weekend is that they continue to progress from the Windy City meet and we continue to move forward in our routines.”

The Hawkeyes, ranked No. 10 in the nation, face the 12th-ranked Flames at 5 p.m. in the Field House in the team’s first home meet of the season and of Reive’s tenure. The meet is being held in conjunction with the women’s meet against Michigan.

The Flames, who won the Eastern Intercollegiate Gymnastics League last season, are not an unfamiliar opponent for Reive’s squad. Illinois-Chicago hosted the Windy City Invitational last weekend, where Iowa placed fifth and Illinois-Chicago placed sixth out of the six teams in competition. Iowa also defeated the Flames in Chicago last season.

Anton Gryshayev said that entering a meet knowing the team should win is a confidence boost.

However, the sophomore agrees with Reive in saying the result isn’t as important this early in the season.

“Right now, it’s not about who you beat, it’s about being consistent and learning from your mistakes,” Gryshayev said.

The pommel horse is an event Reive said needed improvement. Only one Hawkeye stayed on the apparatus in Chicago, and none gave a great performance. Iowa came in last of the six teams in the event, and the former Stanford assistant coach said the event would be huge for the team moving forward.

Senior Mike Jiang, a returning All-American on pommel horse, said that while mishaps happened, the team generally performed at a high level.

“I feel like last week we made a lot of mistakes, but we still looked a lot better,” Jiang said.

The Illinois-Chicago meet serves as a sort of a tune-up for the Hawkeyes, who will face No. 1 Illinois on Jan. 29.

“It’s a good tester to see where we are against a team that isn’t as strong as say Illinois,” Gryshayev said.

Reive, though, isn’t concerned with his team looking ahead to Illinois.

“Right now, it’s not necessarily about us versus any other team, it’s us versus us. It’s kind of within what we have to do,” he said.

With the emphasis on improving from week to week, Reive said he is confident his team will defeat Illinois-Chicago.

“We can handle Illinois-Chicago, that’s not going to be a problem,” he said. “We did last weekend, pretty easily, and I expect to be able to do that again.”


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