Iowa men’s gymnastics downs No. 4 Illinois for second win of season

The Iowa men’s gymnastics team won 402.000-400.500 against Illinois Saturday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.


Katie Goodale/The Daily Iowan

The Iowa men’s gymnastics team gathers for a huddle during the Iowa vs. Illinois men’s gymnastics meet at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021. Iowa defeated No. 4 Illinois 402.00-400.50. Men’s gymnastics was among the four sports cut from the University of Iowa in August and this will be their final season.

Hunter Moeller , Sports Reporter

The Iowa men’s gymnastics team continued its final season Saturday night with a win against No. 4 Illinois. The Hawkeyes downed the Fighting Illini, 402.000- 400.500.

The competition marked the first for the men inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena this season.

Iowa head coach JD Reive was happy to see his team persevere after finding out in August that the sport would be cut from Iowa after the 2020-21 academic year.

“I’m having a pretty good time with these guys this year,” Reive said. “And you can see them also doing so. They’re competing well together, they’re doing it in the gym, and they’re doing it with the hard work that it takes to do this. They’re performing above and beyond what you would’ve anticipated, given all the baggage we brought into this season. The cool thing is they got over it, and they’re setting goals and trying to accomplish them.”

The Hawkeyes dominated the Fighting Illini, winning in five of the six events.

Junior Evan Davis claimed the all-around title with a score of 81.700. Senior Bennet Huang followed closely behind with a second-place score of 80.750

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On floor, Davis’s 14.100 was good enough to notch him second place. Huang once again finished behind Davis with a score of 14.000, giving him third in the event. Freshman James Friedman had an outstanding performance, finishing fourth-place while posting a career-best 13.800. The Hawkeyes scored a team total of 68.300, seventh-best in program history.

Huang had an impressive performance on pommel. His 13.700 score earned him a shared of the title. Davis notched his career-best and a third-place finish in the event with a 13.400. Friedman, who performed on pommel for the first time, finished with a 13.200, earning him fourth. Junior Drew Helberg and sophomore Amari Sewell each had career-bests, scoring 13.100 and 12.150, respectively. The final team total was 66.500.

On rings, the team finished with a 65.800. Junior Peyton Hobson led the Hawkeyes with a 13.600, good enough for runner-up. Davis finished fifth with a 13.400, and Huang finished sixth with a 13.300.

The Hawkeyes finished vault with a score of 69.450. Sewell took the victory on vault for the second meet in a row with a 14.500. Senior Kulani Taylor and Davis both posted a 13.950, tying them for fourth.

Sophomore Carter Tope and junior Stewart Brown both scored a 13.800 on parallel bars, tying them at the top of the event. Hobson scored his career-best on parallel bars with a 12.200. Friedman found himself on the parallel bars for the first time this season and posted an 11.550. As a team, the Hawkeyes scored 66.200.

Davis once against had an impressive performance on the horizontal bar, topping off the event with a win by posting a 13.500. Tope and junior Alex Walther both finished in third place with a score of 13.100, a career-best for Tope. Junior Noah Scigliano rounded out the horizontal bar with a fifth-place finish, scoring a 13.000. The Hawkeye’s finished the event with a 65.560.

Davis said this meet was proof of the team’s hard work, and even though this season is their last, it has brought them closer together.

“Coming into the meet, beating Illinois, and scoring over 400 was proof of hard work paying off,” Davis said. “I am proud of that. This season, for me, is more about the team coming together as a tight-knit group of brothers and going out and competing and having fun. That was the most fun I’ve ever had at a meet.”

Iowa will defend Carver-Hawkeye Arena once again as it plays host to Penn State on Feb. 20 at 6 p.m.