Iowa men's gymnastics tops Nebraska to pick up third consecutive dual victory


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The No. 8 Iowa men’s gymnastics team won its third-consecutive meet Feb. 23 by defeating No. 8 Nebraska, 427.500-425.400, in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Iowa head coach JD Reive, who graduated from Nebraska in 2000, was thrilled to be able to beat his alma mater. The third-year head coach wanted to keep his personal ties with the Nebraska program out of his team’s approach for the meet but admitted to taking satisfaction with the win on a personal level.

“It does mean a lot to make this accomplishment,” he said. “To move through that program and then to be able to coach these guys and beat that team was phenomenal. Obviously, the win was important in every aspect. But personally, it’s just a nice little accomplishment for me to have.”

The Hawkeyes’ victory was fueled in large part by the efforts of sophomore Mitchell Landau and senior all-around performer Javier Balboa.

For the third-consecutive meet, Balboa took home the all-around title with a score of 85.900. The Monterrey, Mexico, native also placed second on rings with a score of 15.050. Landau placed first on both the parallel bars and the high bars with scores of 15.100 and 15.000.

“I just got in the zone today. I was really focused,” Landau said. “When you see somebody go and screw up a little bit, some guys sort of fall back, but I take it and say here we go; I need to do this. This is where the team needs me.”

The Hawkeyes’ team score was lower than it was last week against defending national champion Illinois, but it was still the team’s second highest total of the season. Reive was happy with his team’s performance, despite them falling short of their goal of scoring at or above 430.

“Today was actually exactly what we needed,” Reive said. “Yes, the number was a little low. But we improved in certain aspects and counted some misses. And these are the judges that are going to be at Big Ten’s and NCAA’s, so this is a much more realistic number.”

The event marked the last time the Hawkeyes will compete before a new NCAA scoring system is implemented. Currently, six gymnasts compete in every circuit, but only the top five scores count toward the team total. Beginning Friday, a new system will begin in which five gymnasts compete in every event and every score counts.

The Black and Gold’s next competition is scheduled for Saturday, when they’ll travel to Minnesota to take on the No. 6 Gophers for the second time this season. On Feb. 8, the Hawkeyes defeated Minnesota, 422.750-419.450.

With the new scoring system in place, Reive, and the rest of his coaching staff will be faced with difficult decisions in regards to their lineups and routines they choose to use. Despite the drastic rule change, the Hawkeyes believe their depth and consistency is strong enough to carry them through the inevitable adversity set to come.

“Lineup-wise, that’s going to be a tough decision,” sophomore William Albert said. “Obviously, those decisions will be up to the coaches. But I know as a whole we’re a very consistent team, and that puts us in a really good position to continue to win meets, especially at the bigger competitions like Big Tens and NCAAs.”

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