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Men's gymnastics to square off with rival Gophers

BY CHARLIE GREEN | MARCH 06, 2015 5:00 AM

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Last season Iowa men's gymnastics finished 0-5 against Minnesota, including performances at the NCAA Team Finals and the Big Ten Championships.

Needless to say, head coach JD Reive is not fond of losing to his neighbor to the north.

"We've just had a horrible meet every year we go up there, this meet has been our worst meet every year." Reive said. "We are in a much different place, so I'm really kind of anxious to get up there and see how it plays out."

The sixth-ranked Hawkeyes travel Minneapolis this weekend for a dual-meet with the No. 9 Gophers in their third meeting of the year.

On Feb. 14, Iowa triumphed by a narrow margin, edging out the Gophers by a final of 435.400-433.600 in a tri-meet that saw Nebraska finish in third (420.250). The Hawkeyes trailed up until fifth rotation before taking control on the parallel bars and high bar. They also bested their Big Ten foe at the Windy City Invitational Jan. 17 en route to a fourth-place finish.

On the season, Iowa is outscoring Minnesota on all six events except for the parallel bars — where it owns on average a 71.433-70.600.

A strong showing from the Hawks on the bars could spell disaster for the Gophers. Last weekend junior Cyrus Dobre-Mofid finished first against Penn State on the event, posting a career-high 15.250.

Both team's worst event this season has been the pommel horse — although the Hawks have gotten hot as of late. Freshmen Austin Hodges and Elijah Parsells have emerged as impact players in recent weeks, stressing the areas where judges have hit them hardest.

"[We do] a lot of dismounts and mounts, because that's where we get quite a few deductions," Parsells said. "As well as traveling skew, if you're not square with the horse when you're traveling up and down — that can bring some heavy deductions."

Despite owning an edge in five of six events, the Hawkeyes are well-matched by their Big Ten rival. Both teams are picking up steam heading into the latter part of the season, with each averaging over 430.000 in their last three meets.

Iowa has climbed three spots in the coaches' poll since the season began, placing Reive and company on the cusp of the sport's top five.

"The coaching staff has just been looking over and over what we've been doing in the past, and seeing what's been working best for our team," assistant coach Ben Ketelsen said. "Taking a step back going into the postseason just isn't what we do."

Last season the Gophers were a team slightly out of the reach oft he Hawks. But now, momentum seems to be on the side of Reive's program. The team recorded a season-high 435.750 in their first five up- five count action of the year last weekend at Penn State.

"We're just getting into this five up-five count," Reive said. "We're training to win this weekend, that's what it's about. We have to go in there with that mindset that we are winning."

Follow @CharlsGreen on Twitter for news, updates, and analysis about the Iowa men’s gymnastics team.


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