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Parallel bar routines pace Iowa in season-best score

BY RYAN MURPHY | FEBRUARY 13, 2012 6:30 AM

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Iowa men's gymnastics head coach JD Reive was hoping the team's score would rise to 340.000 in its second home meet of the season. Such a score would have put the Hawkeyes in contention for victory.

His team fell short — the No. 12 Hawkeyes finished third behind No. 6 Minnesota and No. 11 Nebraska in a triangular meet in Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Feb. 11. — but Reive said he's pleased with the score.

The Hawkeyes' score of 334.500 was 2 points behind Nebraska (336.500). The Gophers claimed first with a 340.000.

"I'm pleased, but I'm not happy," Reive said. "We could have gone higher; there were some things that fell apart that shouldn't have, but we had some people step up."

The Hawkeye team score has increased from the previous event in each of Iowa's four meets this year, progressing from the 316.800 the Hawkeyes posted at the Windy City Invitational to the 334.500 the team put up on Feb. 11.

Hawkeye junior Brody Shemansky, who won the all-around competition with a career-best 82.500, said the team's improvement in practice is becoming evident during competition.

"We're definitely stepping it up, and if we keep competing well, our scores are definitely going to keep going up," he said. "I see a lot of what we do in practice showing up in the meets."

The Hawkeyes' night reached its peak on parallel bars. The Hawkeyes scored a 57.600 on the event, the fifth-highest score on that apparatus in the nation thus far in 2012. Junior Javier Balboa — the No. 5 parallel bar competitor in the country — led the effort; his score of 14.800 tied for first with Minnesota's Russell Dabritz, and Iowa freshman Mitchell Landau finished only 0.1 of a point behind the lead.

The meet also marked the return of junior Matt McGrath, who had missed the Hawkeyes' Jan. 28 contest against Illinois-Chicago after a knee scope. The Wheaton, Ill., native scored a 14.400 on the rings, tying for second place and only 0.1 of a point behind Minnesota's Zack Chase. McGrath said he was fairly pleased with his first effort in three weeks.

"It wasn't too bad," he said. "It could have gone a little bit better, but I have to start somewhere."

The Hawkeyes next meet comes on Feb. 26, when Iowa takes on No. 1 Oklahoma in Norman, Okla.
Reive said the Hawkeyes need to treat every practice with the utmost importance to prepare for the nation's best team.

"We can wrap our heads around what we need to do on Monday through Friday; we not going to change it on Saturdays," he said. "We know what we have to do, we just have to get in, make the commitment, and do it."

"We need to take the good from today and move forward with that," McGrath said. "We have to throw the bad things behind us and move forward with everything we did well today."


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