Men's gymnastics continues to rise
What to Know:
After reaching the team finals at the NCAA Championships for the second time in three years, head coach JD Reive continues to build Iowa men’s gymnastics into an elite program heading into his sixth season at the helm.
The team finished sixth in the NCAA finals last April, and this coming season is loaded with talented upperclassmen.
Whom to Know:
While the program graduated Lance Alberhasky, Will Albert, and Brandon Field in May, the Hawks will return seniors Matt Loochtan, Del Vecchio Orazco, Jack Boyle, and Doug Sullivan, just to name a few.
Talented sophomores-to-be Dylan Ellsworth, Austin Hodges, and Elijah Parsells are now experienced. And juniors-to-be Cory Paterson and Andrew Botto each carry the potential to be in the top tier of gymnasts in the Big Ten.
Boyle and Loochtan, aside from being the team’s top returning all-arounders, were both been named All-Americans on the still rings, the team’s strongest event in 2015.
Paterson and Ellsworth took on large roles last season as youngsters, and they figure to improve in their events after a long off-season of intense training. Ellsworth could fill one of the voids left by Alberhasky and Albert on the rings. The other space is up for grabs, with the likes of Paterson and Hodges likely to be options.
Expect the Hawks to be back among the country’s top teams, especially after losing just three athletes to graduation. In the squad’s shakiest event — the pommel horse — it returns its entire lineup.
The biggest concern for the team may be on the vault, where it will be without two of last season’s stalwarts. Typically a weakness for the program, in 2015, it was Iowa’s second best event.
The group finished just sixth at the Big Ten Championships last year before making its run at nationals. But as the program continues to come into form under Reive, lthe Hawks should build upon the success of last season’s NCAA Finals performance.
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