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Hawkeyes proud of fifth place finish at NCAA gymnastics championships

BY RYAN PROBASCO | APRIL 22, 2013 5:00 AM

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The Iowa men’s gymnastics team concluded its wildly successful 2012-13 campaign by accomplishing what it set out to do before the Hawkeyes hit the mat this season.

Team members said the goal all year was to climb to the team finals of the NCAA championships. And this past weekend, the squad accomplished just that.

“It’s a very rewarding feeling knowing we set out to achieve something and were able to do it as a unit,” departing senior Brody Shemansky said. “It was a really good feeling for the team to make it to the second day.

“We went out and did what we thought we could always do.”

The NCAA separated the 12-team field into two sessions for the April 19 national qualifier, with the top three scores in each session advancing to April 20. The Hawkeyes’ score of 426.55 was the third highest total of the second session.

Iowa’s score of 426.450 placed fifth after the April 20 competition, the team’s best finish since its third place showing in 2000. Michigan took home the team title with a score 443.200. Four Big Ten teams finished in the top six.

Shemansky, as well as fellow seniors Jack McClay, Anton Gryshayev, Javier Balboa, and Todd Becker, suited up in Black and Gold for the final time this past weekend.

Gryshayev, a Littleton, Colo., native, said he was thrilled to be able to leave the program in such good spirits. The senior was finally awarded an All-American honor on the still rings — something he said he has been coveting for years.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better ending to my gymnastics career,” he said. “I accomplished every goal I set this year on an individual level and as a team … I couldn’t be happier for our team and about what we accomplished this weekend.”

Balboa capped off his record-setting senior season by taking home two All-American awards. The Monterrey, Mexico, native received the honor in the all-around by placing sixth with a score of 85.650. He also achieved All-American status in the still rings competition.

Sophomore Lance Alberhasky will not be a senior next year in terms of eligibility. But he will be one of the elder members of the team because of his redshirt status in 2012.

“I’m ready to motivate the guys and to keep getting better,” he said. “[Being older] doesn’t change too much but I’ll keep striving for better results. We’re all motivated and ready to get back to work.”

Three Hawkeye individuals qualified for the event finals competition on Sunday. Balboa, Gryshayev, and sophomore William Albert participated in the still rings. The Hawkeyes all finished in the top-10, with Gryshayev leading the way with the competition’s seventh-best score of 14.925.

Third-year head coach JD Reive and the returning gymnasts will now look forward to next season. The rigorous demands of the sport require its athletes to stay in midseason shape year-round. So the gymnasts will not be given much of a break.

Some members of the Hawkeye squad will take a few days off. And some will take a few weeks to learn new skills to incorporate in their routines. But Reive and Alberhasky do not regard the conclusion of one season as synonymous with the term “off-season.”

“It’s quick; we’re not going to take too much time off,” Alberhasky said. “You always have to keep your body in shape.

“I’m pretty hungry to get back in the gym. And we have bigger plans for next year.”


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