Iowa gymnast toppling school records


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After the Jan. 22 meet against Illinois-Chicago, men’s gymnastics head coach JD Reive didn’t even know an Iowa record had been set.

Two days later, Reive learned that sophomore Anton Gryshayev had broken the school mark on the rings set in 2009 by Reid Urbain. Gryshayev had equaled the score of 14.800 last season in his first meet as a Hawkeye.

He then made a bold statement.

“He said that he was going to do it again that weekend [against Illinois],” Reive said. “He said he wanted to put up a 15.000.”

Not only did Gryshayev do that, he did better.

He scored 15.100 on rings against the Illini on Jan. 29. But for the sophomore, who has recorded the top three scores for Iowa since the new, open-ended scoring system was implemented in 2008, the focus is not on toppling records.

“It’s cool, but my main goal is not to break records,” Gryshayev said. “My main goal is to help the team as much as I can.”

Reive believes Gryshayev can improve his score by another four-tenths of a point or so by correcting small deductions. Reive also said he is seeing improvement in the vault from the sophomore, but he expects him to reach the finals of the Big Ten and NCAA meets in the rings. With Mike Jiang, a returning All-American on pommel horse, and Gryshayev on rings, he expects some of his student-athletes to be able to earn All-American honors.

Gryshayev’s record-setting routines earned him first place against Illinois-Chicago and second place against the third-ranked Illini. He has also helped the Hawkeyes to a No. 9 national ranking while moving into the nation’s top 10 on the rings. Gryshayev, born in Kiev, Ukraine, credits the training regimen of Reive as a big factor to his success.

“J.D.’s conditioning has made me a lot stronger, so I was able to boost my start value from just strength,” he said. “I was doing handstands for six or seven minutes to improve that on my routine, which is a big deduction.”

Jiang knew Gryshayev well before he joined the Hawkeyes last season. Jiang and Gryshayev both attended high school in Littleton, Colo., and competed both with and against each other at the club level.

“When I moved to Colorado [from Chicago], I met him right away and we trained at the same gym for a while,” Jiang said.

Gryshayev said that having Jiang firmly entrenched at Iowa helped him ease into college as a freshman, and Jiang said that the two are able to meet up during breaks and talk about gymnastics.

While entering his name into the Hawkeye record books is great, Gryshayev said, his major goal won’t be achieved until the final meet of the season.

“For me, the ultimate goal isn’t to break records,” he said. “My ultimate goal is to be All-American. And if I do that, the records will come.”

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