Gymnastics keeps win streak

The Hawkeyes beat the Nittany Lions Saturday night to move to 3-0.


Ayrton Breckenridge

Iowa all around Evan Davis is energized after performing on the horizontal bar on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2022 during the Iowa vs. Penn State men’s gymnastics meet at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Iowa defeated Penn State 398.850-393.550. Davis tied for first on the horizontal bar with Penn State’s Michael Jaroh and Matt Cormier with a final score of 13.250.

Hunter Moeller , Sports Reporter

The No. 6 Iowa men’s gymnastics team performed with tenacity to stay undefeated Saturday night against No. 5 Penn State.

The 398.850-393.550 win over the Nittany Lions wasn’t pretty, but the Hawkeyes knew what they needed to do.

Evan Davis, who won all-around for the second straight week with a score of 80.850, said his team’s tenacity and energy are why they perform so well.

“The reason this team is so strong is that there’s something about being an underdog,” David said. “We create so much energy that it feels like it affects the other team. We want to prove people wrong.”

The Iowa men’s gymnastics team will be discontinued at the end of the academic year because of financial constraints caused by COVID-19.

Iowa, who started on floor, finished its first rotation with a 68.200-64.300 lead over Penn State. Bennet Huang and Davis led the Hawkeyes on the floor, finishing first and second overall with a 13.900 and 13.850. Carter Tope scored himself a season-best of 13.800, well enough for fourth.

Throughout the second rotation on pommel horse, the Hawkeyes held a steady lead. Three Iowa gymnasts finish inside the top five. Carter Tope finished second with a 13.350, and Drew Helberg and Huang finished fourth and fifth, respectively, with 13.200 and 13.050.

The Nittany Lions clawed their way back on the third event of the night — vault. Penn State took the first and second spots with high scores of 14.600 and 14.400.

While the Nittany Lions gained momentum with their stellar vault performance, Davis says the Hawkeyes gained momentum back on the same event.

“Having [Stewart Brown] land that vault was a huge mood booster,” Davis said. “I think everyone dominoed off of it. Especially on high bar, that first routine that goes, landing, and then it’s just one after another. We’re so good at building momentum, and I think that’s one of the reasons we’re so dominant this year.”

Brown led the Hawkeyes on vault, finishing third with a score of 14.300. Tope added to his night with a share of seventh, scoring a season-high 14.050. James Friedman scored his career-best with a 14.000, giving him ninth overall. Davis’s career-best score of 14.350 was counted into his all-around total.

The back end of the competition was a close-knitted battle.

On rings, the Hawkeyes took four of the top five spots. Freshman James Friedman led the way for the Hawkeyes. He finished second with a 13.350. Davis earned another third-place finish with a 13.300. Brown finished with a 13.100, giving him fourth. Reuven Anderson posted a 12.900, a season-best.

Huang and Tope both took a share of the top stop on parallel bars, each finishing with a 13.350. Davis picked up a third-place share with a 13.250, and Brown finished with a 13.200, slotting him in the fifth position.

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As the Hawkeyes entered the sixth and final rotation, horizontal bar, they held onto a 334.800-332.100 lead. The Hawkeyes needed a commanding performance, and they got it from Davis. He found himself in a three-way tie for the title, with a score of 13.250. Noah Scigliano finished fourth with a season-high of 13.150.

After a week off, the next two meets for Iowa are on the road, something Iowa head coach JD Reive knows will be a challenge.

“That recovery is important for us right now so that we can get back into this next phase of things and hit it hard,” Reive said. “We have Michigan and Ohio State. Two road trips all within a week, that is going to test us.”

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