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

Men’s gymnastics faces challenge

Iowa gymnast Cyrus Dober-Mofid chalks his hands before hitting the parallel bars in Carver-Hawkeye on Feb. 1 2015. Dober-Mofid has been one of the most consistent gymnasts this season. (The Daily Iowan/Margaret Kispert)

The No. 7 Iowa men’s gymnastics team will host No. 4 Minnesota on Saturday in the Carver-Hawkeye the last home meet of the regular season.

The competition will also serve as Senior Night for Matt Loochtan, Jack Boyle, Cyrus Dobre-Mofid, Del Vecchio Orozco, Emmanuel Monroy, and Doug Sullivan, who will be honored at the end of the meet.

“We have come a long way,” Dobre-Mofid said. “This is going to be our last meet at [Carver-Hawkeye], and we just want to go out with a victory.”

The Hawkeyes want to rebound after a disappointing performance last weekend; they finished third in the Arnold Challenge against No. 3 Ohio State and No. 6 Nebraska.

Despite the late-season loss, head coach JD Reive is not discouraged.

“Like with every meet, there could have been things we could have done better,” he said. “We will continue to practice and continue to get better and continue to improve, and I have no doubt my [gymnasts] will reach their peaks.”

While Reive is confident that Iowa can come out victorious on Saturday, there is no question that the Hawks will have their hands full.

Iowa will face Minnesota for the second time season, after falling, 419.700-432.650, on Feb. 13 in Minneapolis.

Minnesota is led by junior Zach Liebler and sophomore Yaroslav Pochinka.

Liebler is ranked first nationally on floor exercise with a three-score average of 15.867, and Pochinka leads the nation on vault with an average score of 15.383, closely followed by Liebler in second (15.333).

Luckily for the Hawkeyes, they, too, have a pair of elite gymnasts who are nationally recognized names.

Boyle and Loochtan have proven to be the leaders of the team with their impressive performances throughout the season.

“I think it’s important that we just get back to what we have been doing,” Loochtan said. “The [postseason] is what we are competing for, and it’s what we have been prepping for all season.”

Boyle is tied for second nationally on high bar this season with Stanford’s Akash Modi. Boyle owns a three-score average of 15.233 through eight meets, and he posted a career-high of 15.300 against Illinois on Jan. 23.

Loochtan is recently coming off being named the Big Ten Gymnast of the Week after he claimed five event titles on floor (15.350), rings (15.150), vault (14.450), parallel bars (14.850), and high bar (14.450) to help the Hawkeyes defeat then-No. 6 Nebraska and No. 8 Penn Sate. His all-around score of 86.400 marked a career-high.

With the Big Ten Championships just a few weeks away, it is pivotal that Hawkeyes have their star seniors come out of Carver-Hawkeye with yet more impressive performances.

A win on Saturday could set the Hawkeyes up nicely — they would potentially move into the top five in the NCAA standings and further increase their chances of competing for the NCAA national championship.

More to Discover