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Hawkeye gymnasts named to conference watch list

BY DI STAFF | DECEMBER 15, 2011 7:20 AM

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Four Iowa gymnasts — two from the men's team and two from the women's — were named 2012 Big Ten Gymnasts to Watch by the conference office on Wednesday.

Juniors Matt McGrath and Javier Balboa were named to the list, which contains two gymnasts from each of the seven Big Ten teams. McGrath was an All-American on vault in 2011 and was also nationally ranked on floor exercise. Balboa, who was named to the list in 2011 as well, qualified for the NCAA championships on parallel bars in his first season as a Hawkeye. The Monterrey, Mexico, native was also the only Hawkeye to compete in all six events in one competition.

Senior Jessa Hansen and freshman Jessica Morreale were named to the women's list. Hansen was named first team All-Big Ten in 2011, and she set career bests in four events and the all-around. Morreale, who was one of four freshmen among the conference's eight teams named to the list, was the all-around champion at the 2011 National High School competition.

The conference also released the preseason coaches' poll, in which the men's team was picked to finish seventh; Illinois was voted as the conference's preseason No. 1. The women's squad was picked sixth, with new conference rival Nebraska occupying the top spot.

— by Ryan Murphy


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