Hawkeyes close out season at Nebraska tri-meet


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The No. 8 Iowa men’s gymnastics team will travel to Lincoln, Nebraska, on March 15for a quad-meet showdown with No. 6 Minnesota, No. 11. Nebraska, and No. 3 Penn State.

“I think we can up our team-high this year,” senior Lance Alberhasky said. “And just end our season on a good note going into Big Tens.”

The Hawks’ current team-high for scoring came two weeks ago at Penn State, where they put up a 435.750.

But after posting a meager 421.700 last weekend in Minneapolis, the Hawkeyes want to end their regular season on a positive note.

To do so they will need to clean up the mistakes that plagued them against the Gophers. The pommel-horse lineup took a step backward last weekend after weeks of progress, as only junior Del Vecchio Orazco improved his score from the prior week by earning a 14.400.

The rest declined, including standout junior Doug Sullivan — who posted a season-low 14.650. In addition, sophomore Emmanuel Monroy doomed the event score with an 11.450 routine. Minnesota won the event by more than 2 points.

The disparity on the parallel bars was the largest of the meet, as the Gophers outscored the Hawkeyes 73.700-67.250. Cory Paterson’s 11.150 routine, filling in for freshman Dylan Ellsworth (illness), was the team’s second sub-12 score of the night.

Both events have been inconsistent for the Hawks this season, but had been steadily improving until the setback with Minnesota. Dismounts and handling high-pressure situations proved problematic, and they are a top priority to address.

The loss dropped the Hawkeyes two spots in the College Gymnastics Association rankings, although they are slightly more than a 0.1 behind California. In the coaches’ poll, Iowa fell to ninth, and Ohio State moved up to No. 8.

“As of right now, it dropped us down two ranks,” assistant coach Ben Ketelsen said. “But we can go out this weekend and bump right back up into that spot again.”

Despite their setback last weekend, the Hawkeyes have beaten the Gophers twice this season — once in Iowa City on Feb. 14 and once on Jan. 17 in Chicago.

The team is putting the loss in the rearview mirror and the meet at Nebraska will give them a shot at redemption with the Gophers. It’s also a chance to climb back up in the rankings and also an opportunity to clean up areas of concern before the postseason.

Iowa and Minnesota are just 2 points apart in their four-score average, which is the basis for the rankings. Nebraska, on the other, comes in ranked 11th with an average of 421.350.

Based on the way the season has gone to date, this regular-season finale comes down to the Gophers, Hawks, and Nittany Lions. Iowa’s been better than Minnesota most of the season and has a chance to make a statement in this meet.

“I want to see it in they’re eyes — we’re here to win,” head coach JD Reive said. “If you go at it 100 percent, and your heart’s in it, and you fall — then so be it. Be courageous enough to put yourself out there and do it all, and the odds of you not having success with that are much slimmer.”

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

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