Men's gymnastics set to host No. 5 Nebraska


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The Iowa men’s gymnasts hopes to continue their recent hot streak when they host No. 10 Nebraska on Saturday. Action is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

The Hawkeyes defeated defending national champion Illinois, 428.450-428.400, last week. The Black and Gold defeated No. 6 Minnesota, 422.750-419.450, the week before that.

“Hopefully, we can keep the momentum going and head into this week with some confidence,” senior Iowa gymnast Brody Shemansky said. “This week, we’re trying to ride off that high from last weekend.”

The Hawkeyes’ recent success is due in part to the efforts of senior all-around competitor Javier Balboa. Last week, the Monterrey, Mexico, native won the all-around event for the second-straight week. In addition, he placed first on the parallel bars with a score of 14.900.

Currently, Balboa’s average score of 83.883 in the all-around is ranked fifth nationally by GymInfo. The senior is also ranked seventh in the parallel bars with an average score of 15.067.

“The same things that have been happening the last few weeks have to keep happening,” Balboa said. “We’ve been hitting sets more consistently. And we’ve been working on execution more. So if we can put it all together, we should get the win this weekend.”

Iowa head coach JD Reive will be lining up against his alma mater this weekend; the third-year head coach graduated from Nebraska in 2000. Reive has tried to stay consistent with his approach, despite the excitement about the matchup for him personally. But he also was adamant about not wanting to lose to his old team.

“Right where, we are right now, it’s very important politically that we put them down,” Reive said. “We’re at home, and the kids know that we’re a better team than them.”

As far as preparation for the meet, Reive and the Hawkeyes do not want to alter their approach, but they do want to fine-tune certain aspects of their routines.

“I want to see us do a little bit better than we did last weekend,” Reive said. “And that means getting through all six rotations; I need every kid need to stay in it intensity and focus-wise regardless of what happens.”

The meet this weekend will be the last time the Hawkeyes compete before the new NCAA scoring system is implemented. Currently, six gymnasts compete in every event, but only the top five scores count. On March 1, a new scoring system will start in which only five gymnasts compete and all five scores count.

Later in the season, Reive and the rest of his coaching staff will be faced with tough decisions in regards to their lineup. With that in mind, they’ll be paying close attention to their squad.

“I’m going to be looking a lot at body language, team engagement and energy levels for each individual kid,” Reive said. “Because next week we go five up, five count.”

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