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Men's gymnastics plans to finish top 3 in the country

BY JACK ROSSI | NOVEMBER 19, 2013 5:00 AM

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After a fifth-place finish at the NCAA championships last season, the Iowa men’s gymnastics team has been working tirelessly to achieve more success in 2014.

The fifth-place finish was the best the Hawkeyes have placed in the last decade, and they hope to prove that last year’s finish was not a lucky postseason run.

Head coach JD Reive is entering his fourth season as the head coach at Iowa. He has high expectations for this season after all the hard work the gymnasts have put in during the off-season, and he has his eyes set on a top-3 finish in the country this year.

“It is a fairly lofty goal, but it absolutely doable if a lot of things fall into place. We are working diligently enough to accomplish it. We need to stay healthy, we need to continue the depth, we need to continue to improve, and it’s going to take a lot of work, but we can do it,” Reive said.

Many members of the team were very active over the summer to keep in shape and improve on their basic skills and routines.

“We worked a lot [over the summer]; most of the guys stayed and took classes,” Reive said. “A few of them trained for USA national team events. We had three guys attend the P&G championships in August. The rest of the guys stayed here in a very competitive environment.”

One team member who worked all summer was junior Lance Alberhasky, who has transitioned into the role of team captain this season.

“Being a team captain isn’t too much different for me this year. Last year I kind of developed into that role, and that’s why I think it was an easy decision for me to be team captain this year,” Alberhasky said.

Alberhasky has the added task of helping the newcomers adjust to the environment. The team enjoyed a plethora of new talent this year with six new freshmen joining the team.

“I need to motivate the guys in the gym,” Alberhasky said. “Outside the gym, I need to help them make good decisions and not get in any trouble. They definitely look to me if they have any questions.

“The freshmen this year are doing fantastic. This has been, since I’ve been here, the easiest transition we’ve ever had. They came in and did exactly what they were told. They’re great student-athletes.”

One freshman poised to make an immediate impact is Cory Paterson. Iowa is a ways away from his hometown of Oakville, Ontario, Canada but he has enjoyed his time in Iowa so far.

“It was tough at first because it was a new environment,” Paterson said. “Training is a lot harder, but it’s better. The team works well together.”

Paterson was in Russia during the summer where he was competing with the Canadian National Team. The international experience should help Paterson when it comes to coming up with more difficult routines and his comfort level at bigger stages.

Reive wants to get the guys on the floor and get them comfortable with performing and he thinks that is what separates teams at this level.

“Our presence on the competition floor is crucial,” he said. “We are training as best as any team in the country, but the difference will be who can show up and actually put it on the floor. We need to alleviate the performance anxiety to be successful.”

But the Black and Gold intrasquad meet is approaching quickly on Dec. 8, and Reive eagerly awaits the team’s first taste of competition in hopes of getting rid of some of the performance anxiety.

“Black and Gold will be sort of modified in terms of difficulty but it will be the first time we put them on the floor, we put them in Carver, and we put them in front of a judge, and we just want to kind of get that turned on in their head,” Reive said.


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