Iowa gymnastics ready to avenge Big Ten performance at NCAAs

The Iowa men’s gymnastics team must hit its routines tonight in order to advance as to Saturday.


Katie Goodale

Nick Merryman gets ready to compete on the parallel bars during day two of the Big Ten Men's Gymnastics Championships in Carver-Hawkeye Arena on April 6, 2019. Gymnasts competed in individual competitions. Merryman placed 36th overall with a score of 13.600 on the parallel bars.

Sarah Altemeier, Sports Reporter

The Iowa men’s gymnastics team will begin competition tonight in Champaign, Illinois, for the NCAA Championships. This year’s competition will be the 50th anniversary of the 1969 men’s gymnastics team winning Iowa’s first national championship. The Hawkeyes won with a score of 161.175.

 This season’s Iowa squad finished the season with a record of 7-6. Iowa went 4-2 in the Big Ten, clinching a share of the regular-season title. But the Hawkeyes ended up finishing last at the Big Ten Championships, which they hosted on April 5-6.

 This year’s squad is ranked eighth of 12 at the NCAAs, and the gymnasts will have to step up their routines if they want to advance to the second day.

 Today will be split up into two sessions. Iowa will battle Oklahoma, Illinois, Penn State, Ohio State, and Army in the second session.

 Oklahoma is the top-ranked team and has three athletes who are ranked first in four events. No. 4 Illinois, No. 5 Penn State, and No. 9 Ohio State were all at Carver-Hawkeye for the conference meet. The Nittany Lions went home with the title. Army is ranked No. 12.

 In order to move on to Day 2 as a team, the Hawkeyes will have to finish third or higher in their session. Additionally, the top three all-around individuals will compete on Saturday, and the top three individuals in each event who haven’t already advanced with their team will also move on.

At the Big Ten Championships, Stewart Brown, Andrew Herrador, Nick Merryman, Jake Brodarzon, and Rogelio Vazquez took advantage of the individual competition, qualifying for the second day of competition after placing high enough on April 5 during the team competition.

RELATED: Iowa men’s gymnastics focused on NCAAs after rough performance at Big Tens 

Brown went on to place third on the vault with a season-best score of 14.625. Herrador finished second on the high bar and tied his season best (14.000). The two were named to the second team all-conference squad following the meet.

Iowa’s other top finisher — Brodarzon — finished fourth on the still rings.

Last year at the NCAAs, five Hawkeyes advanced to Day 2, competing in 11 total routines.

Brodarzon finished 15th on the rings, and Herrador placed 15th on the high bar. Bennet Huang ended as the highest Hawkeye finisher, placing 12th in the all-around competition. Huang has led the Hawkeyes in points this season (706.150).

At Big Tens, Iowa started on the pommel horse and finished on the floor. Tonight, the Hawkeyes’ rotation will be high bar, floor, pommel horse, rings, vault, and parallel bars.

In what has been an impressive season for the most part, Iowa wants to bounce back in a big way to salvage the postseason it began at Big Tens.

Although the competition isn’t in Carver-Hawkeye, another Big Ten location will have to do. The competition will begin at 7 p.m. today at the State Farm Center.

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