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

Young gymnasts wait in wings

Iowa gymnast Jake Brodarzon performs his floor routine at the Feild House, Saturday, Feb. 27. The Hawkeyes, ranked No. 7, beat the No. 6 Nebraska and No. 8 Penn State.

With the Big Ten Championships coming to a close last weekend, and the season nearing its end in just a few weeks, the Iowa men’s gymnastics team has much to reflect on.

From its overachieving seniors to the all-around efforts that led to their top-10 finish, there is much to be proud of.

While the coming weeks will be a goodbye for the senior gymnasts, it will also be hello for this season’s freshmen.

Iowa freshman Jake Brodarzon, Todd Beyer II, Rogelio Vazquez, and Kevin Johnson have absorbed a lot in their first year in Iowa, and they will try to live up to their potential as they prepare for the end of the season and in the off-season for next year.

While it is nontraditional for freshmen gymnasts to make an immediate impact, Brodarzon has in no way shied away from the limelight.

He has competed in every single meet this season, just recently coming off an impressive performance at the 2016 Big Ten Championships in Columbus, where he posted marks of 13.150 on the floor and 14.100 on the parallel bars.

“Jake has been phenomenal,” head coach J.D. Reive said. “Obviously, with his work ethic and just coming in from the recruiting process, this was a kid who did what he was told and executed … he’s just everyday ‘head down, do the work,’ and he has improved every single week, which is very difficult to do as a freshman.”

While the expectations are high for Brodarzon, the young gymnast from Paramus, New Jersey, knows what he has to do for the future.

“I will be a great resource for the incoming freshmen,” he said. “I will be fresh off what they are now, so I feel like looking to me, with me having competed in every meet, I will be able to show them that it does get easier, and they will be able to take comfort in knowing that freshmen can actually make an impact.”

Brodarzon has been the leader of the freshmen pack, but Beyer and Vazquez have also left early impressions in their first seasons.

Beyer has proven to be a key addition; the Cedar Rapids native impressed observers at the Big Ten Championship with a 14.200 on the vault.

Vazquez has also been a solid force recently, posting a season-high mark of 14.500 on the rings in the March 12 meet against Penn State and Nebraska.

While Brodarzon, Beyer, and Vazquez will try to add to their impressive résumés, Johnson will try to prove himself next season.

Johnson was not able to make any lineup this season; however, the young pommel-horse specialist is not discouraged.

“As much as I have struggled, I have learned that I can pull through this,” he said. “I know I can be where the [upperclassmen] are now, and I can do what they have done.“

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