The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Seniors fuel men’s gymnastics hopes

Jack Boyle performs on the rings inside Carver Hawkeye Arena on Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015. Iowa defeated UIC in their home opener 428.600 to 398.600. (The Daily Iowan/Sergio Flores)

As the season winds down for the Iowa men’s gymnastics team, the gymnasts will rely on an elite pair of seniors to drive the bus into the Big Ten and national championships.

The dynamic duo of Iowa seniors Matt Loochtan and Jack Boyle have given the Hawkeyes a much-needed boost that has helped them become No. 7 in the NCAA, a boost that head coach JD Reive loves seeing.

“It’s what you want to see from your guys,” Reive said. “It’s awesome; they are obviously our leaders, they are our seniors, they are the guys that we have been talking about the whole season at this point, and they are pulling the team along in the right direction, and it’s cool, because you are trying to beat each other.”

Loochtan and Boyle have put up impressive performances all season, and they have consistently placed in the top three in all-around competition.

Loochtan claimed his first all-around title this season on Feb. 27 against Nebraska and Penn State with a score of 86.400. His performance in the Field House earned him his second Big Ten Gymnast of the Week honor in his career.

Boyle has finished in the top three in two meets this season. His abilities in the high bar have given him an average event score of 15.300, which places him near the top of the national leaderboard.

Along with the impressive stats, Boyle’s work ethic and attitude this season have made him a nominee for the Nissen-Emery Award, an honor given annually to the most outstanding college gymnast.

“I look at it as a reward for all the hard work I have done in the last four years,” Boyle said.

The senior standouts are not only making names for themselves in Big Ten competition, they are also stamping their marks in competition around the country.

Earlier this season, Loochtan and Boyle competed in the Winter Cup, a USA-sanctioned gymnastics event that pits the best amateur gymnasts from across the nation against one another.

Both seniors turned some heads; Loochtan placed 22nd overall with a combined score of 163.400, and Boyle posted a 162.000 to finish in 24th place in the national competition.

Reive loves internal competition and the rest of the team feeds off it, but Loochtan sees what he has with Boyle a little differently.

“We are teammates,” Loochtan said. “We both have one job and that is to win, he pulls for me and I pull for him. There is no competition; we are both in this together.”

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