Brodarzon becomes heart of Iowa men’s gymnastics

As Jake Brodarzon’s time as a Hawkeye comes to an end, he turns his focus to the future: medical school.

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Brodarzon becomes heart of Iowa men’s gymnastics

Hawkeye gymnast Jake Brodarzon celebrates after competing in the parallel bars Friday in Carver Hawkeye Arena during the Men's Big Ten Championships. Penn State won the team competition with a combined score of 410.350 points.

Hawkeye gymnast Jake Brodarzon celebrates after competing in the parallel bars Friday in Carver Hawkeye Arena during the Men's Big Ten Championships. Penn State won the team competition with a combined score of 410.350 points.

Ryan Adams

Hawkeye gymnast Jake Brodarzon celebrates after competing in the parallel bars Friday in Carver Hawkeye Arena during the Men's Big Ten Championships. Penn State won the team competition with a combined score of 410.350 points.

Ryan Adams

Ryan Adams

Hawkeye gymnast Jake Brodarzon celebrates after competing in the parallel bars Friday in Carver Hawkeye Arena during the Men's Big Ten Championships. Penn State won the team competition with a combined score of 410.350 points.

Sarah Altemeier, Sports Reporter

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Anyone who watches the Iowa men’s gymnastics team perform can see the energy Jake Brodarzon brings to the table.

The Hawkeyes finished last among seven teams at the Big Ten Championships on April 5 — a-less-than-OK finish for the Hawkeyes after an impressive season. Brodarzon played an important role in keeping Iowa up over the weekend throughout the Big Ten Championships.

“I think he’s one of the reasons we kind of stayed a little bit together yesterday,” freshman Stewart Brown said. “It just seemed like every time we got back on our feet, something else would happen. But Jake was always the first one to be yelling and getting us back to our feet.

“Jake is definitely the most energetic guy on the team. It doesn’t matter if he has a bad set or a great set — either way, you’re going to get the same reaction from him, which is an awesome thing to have as a gymnast, something I struggle with. Just having someone like him on the team, it doesn’t matter how the team is doing, he’s always there to bring them up.”

Not only does the senior bring liveliness to the Hawkeye squad, he also brings skill. Brodarzon was one of three Hawkeyes who automatically qualified for an individual event on April 6 after setting a career-high on the still rings (14.550).

Despite lowering his score to 14.300 after the April 6 performance, Brodarzon still finished fourth overall on the rings in his last performance in Carver-Hawkeye.

Katie Goodale
Jake Brodarzon gets ready to compete on the rings during day two of the Big Ten Men’s Gymnastics Championships in Carver-Hawkeye Arena on April 6, 2019.

“Honestly, it’s crazy. It still hasn’t sunk in that is really my last meet in Carver,” Brodarzon said. “I mean, my last performance, I couldn’t have asked for anything more.”

As his time on the gymnastics team at Iowa comes to a close, the upbeat senior has had a chance to reflect on what he’s learned through the program.

RELATED: Hawkeye men’s gymnasts rally on Day 2 of Big Tens

“Being on the gymnastics team here has really just taught me the value of hard work and really just learning how to, when the time comes, not stress about all the reasons it should go wrong or it should go right,” Brodarzon said. “But just going out there and having fun, because it’s such a short time that you have here, so it’d be a shame not to enjoy every second of what you’re doing.”

So what’s next for this senior?

After he finishes his last season on the mat at the NCAA Championships on April 18-19, Brodarzon will graduate with a degree in human physiology. He plans to take a gap year and is applying to be a medical scribe in New York this summer. He will also apply for medical school.

“After graduation, I am currently applying for medical school, so I’m really excited — applications don’t open until later, so I’m in the process of drafting a bunch of my stuff,” Brodarzon said. “But because I’m taking a gap year, I’m applying to be a medical scribe in New York City because that’s where I’m from.”

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