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Men's gymnastics to host Oklahoma and Ohio State

BY CHARLIE GREEN | JANUARY 30, 2015 5:00 AM

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The Iowa men’s gymnastics team will host two top-10 teams on Feb. 1, when No. 1 Oklahoma and No. 7 Ohio Sate show up in Iowa City.

“We need to go out, and hit sets, and put pressure on the other teams,” head coach JD Reive said. “If we’re hitting routines, then they’re going to have to hit them to beat us.”

It marks the biggest meet of the year for the Hawkeyes, who also saw the Buckeyes at the Windy City Invitational on Jan 17. There, Ohio State finished ahead of Iowa by 0.8 of a point.

Both teams had vast improvements in their second meets of the season. The Hawkeyes jumped from 414.00 at the Windy City Invitational to 428.60 on Jan. 24 against Illinois-Chicago.

“It gives us a lot of confidence,” senior William Albert said. “There’s still room for improvement, but we’re remembering to handle competition the same as we handle practice.”

Ohio State experienced an even better jump in points, jumping up to 431.70 in their Jan. 24 loss to Illinois.

An Ohio native, assistant coach Ben Ketelsen has his eyes set on beating the Buckeyes.

“I’m from Ohio, so I really want to beat them,” he said. “And it just so happens they’re one spot ahead of us in the rankings. I think all the athletes will think about that going into the meet.”

Oklahoma comes into the meet as the top team in the nation. The Sooners didn’t see improvement from their first meet to their second in terms of point total. Instead, they posted more than 440.00 in both of their meets.

The Sooners are deep and dangerous on every event, averaging at least 72.150 on all six. Iowa, on the other hand, only averages better than that on the vault, at 72.300.

“Oklahoma’s going to be a hard one to catch if they hit routines, which they seem to do consistently,” Reive said.

Currently sitting at No. 8 nationally, Iowa wants a strong performance to vault them into the top five. Aside from the Buckeyes, Michigan and California also stand in the Hawkeyes’ way.

But for now, the team is focused on turning in a strong performance on Feb. 1 and not counting on the Oklahoma or Ohio State to help.

“It’s not a negative challenge when you have to face the top team in the country,” Reive said. “It’s super fun, and it’s an opportunity to showcase the work that we’re doing.”


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