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Jack Boyle: The Workhorse

BY CHARLIE GREEN | FEBRUARY 12, 2015 5:00 AM

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Over the course of the week, DI staffer Charlie Green will provide an in-depth look at five core individuals on the Iowa men’s gymnastics team who typically combine for more than 50 percent of the team’s points. Each athlete holds a defining characteristic that contributes to the team’s successes in addition to his quantitative contributions in competition.

Jack Boyle “wasn’t very good” during his freshman season for the Iowa men’s gymnastics team — those are his words.

To some, finishing third on the team in points and 10th overall at the Big Ten meet, as Boyle did in 2013, may be considered pretty impressive.

But he doesn’t focus on those stats. For the junior, there is always work to be done.

“He leads by example,” head coach JD Reive said. “You never look around and see Jack just standing there; he’s always doing something.”

Boyle’s mentality may have come from Javier Balboa, who has since graduated. Balboa led the team in points that year, and his leadership fed Boyle’s desire to climb the ranks of his new team.

The next year, Boyle took 10th place at nationals. Add that to taking over his mentor’s place as the Hawkeyes’ top scorer in 2014, and the junior has not looked back.

Rather than the vocal leadership provided by senior Lance Alberhasky and junior Cyrus Dobre-Mofid, Boyle sets a standard for his teammates through work ethic.

He’s not a loud guy; he just goes through his numbers in practice day in and day out. You won’t hear adrenaline-pumping pregame speeches from Boyle, you’ll just see an athlete who does his job.

Repetition equals consistency in gymnastics, which could make Boyle the sport’s poster child.

He accounts for 11.88 percent of his team’s points, more than anyone else. Boyle leads the team on the rings with an average score of 15.050 and is second on the floor exercise with an average of 14.387.

He’s competed in five events and trains in all six for the Hawkeyes — something that does not go unnoticed by his younger teammates.

“Even today, he has to do two routines in three events and then halves in every other event,” freshmen Anthony Van Aacken said. “Most of us only have to do one or two, and we’re dying, but he never complains once.”

That type of effort shows underclassmen they can be just as good, if not better, if they follow their teammate’s quiet lead in the gym.

Perhaps his laid-back demeanor is underrated. In a sport so predicated on performing under pressure, Boyle is always calm, and does his best to make it so for his younger teammates as well.

“For guys like Dylan [Ellsworth] and Cory [Paterson] who get a little nervous, I try to talk to them,” Boyle said. “I get a little goofy, just to calm them down before we compete.”

But it’s not just the freshmen who Boyle rubs off on; even fellow junior Matt Loochtan is inspired by Boyle’s drive.

“Even I look up to Jack; he’s one of the best guys I’ve seen in a while,” Loochtan said. “He can compete, he can work out, he can do it all.”

Loochtan said he wouldn’t be surprised if his teammate joins him as an All-American this year. His point total and gym-rat mentality make the junior an indispensable cog in the machine that is Iowa gymnastics.

“Jack gets everything that he gets out of work,” Reive said. “That says a lot about somebody who comes in and wants to be better can accomplish.”


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