Iowa men’s gymnastics finishes fifth at NCAA Qualifiers

The Hawkeyes failed to qualify for the NCAA Finals but had five individuals advance.


Katie Goodale/The Daily Iowan

The Hawkeyes huddle between events during the Iowa v. Nebraska men’s gymnastics meet in Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Saturday, March 20, 2021. Iowa defeated Nebraska with a score of 406.700 – 406.650. This was the Hawkeye’s last home meet of their final season.

Hunter Moeller, Sports Reporter

The No. 7 Iowa men’s gymnastics team finished fifth in the Session II qualifier for the NCAA Championships Friday evening inside Maturi Pavilion in Minneapolis.

The Hawkeyes scored their third-highest score of the season with a 401.120. In the end, it wasn’t enough to earn them a spot in the NCAA Finals, as only the top three teams out of each session advanced to the finals.

Stanford took the session’s top spot with a 413.855, followed by Michigan, Minnesota, Penn State, Iowa, and California.

The competition marks the end of the Iowa men’s gymnastics program because of financial problems in the athletics department caused by COVID-19.

Although the team’s journey was ended prematurely, the Hawkeyes will still represent with individual performances. Senior Bennet Huang and junior Evan Davis will compete for the all-around title. Junior Peyton Hobson will compete on rings, sophomore Amari Sewell will compete on vault, and sophomore Carter Tope will compete on high bar.

Iowa wasted no time making its presence felt on its first rotation, which was floor. Huang led the way with a 14.366, good enough to tie him for fourth. Davis followed with a 14.266, giving him a sixth-place finish. Senior Kulani Taylor wrapped up his senior season on the floor with a 14th place finish after scoring a 13.933. The Hawkeye team total was 69.997.

In the second rotation on pommel horse, the Hawkeyes scored their lowest team total with a 62.898. Davis ended in a tie for 11th after posting a 13.333. Junior Drew Helberg scored a 12.833 for 17th place. Freshman James Friedman finished 19th with a 12.666.

Iowa’s third rotation was on rings. Davis was the frontrunner for Iowa in the event. He scored a 13.833 for a ninth-place finish. Hobson’s 13.766 was good enough for 10th, and Friedman’s placed tied for 11th with a career-best 13.700. Junior Stewart Brown also scored himself a career-best with a 13.466 and a share of 14th. The Hawkeyes notched their best team total on rings this season with a 67.865.

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Sewell was the lead man for Iowa on vault. He finished tied for sixth with a 14.566. Huang earned a share of 14th after scoring a 14.233, and Davis posted a 14.000 to finish in 19th. Iowa’s team total on the event was 70.198.

On parallel bars, Huang earned himself a career-best with a 13.833 and a seventh-place finish. Tope finished in 10th after scoring a 13.733. Hobson finished 12th after posting a career-best 13.466, and Davis followed with a season-high 13.366 for a share of 13th. The Hawkeyes finished the event with a 65.731.

Iowa’s final rotation was on high bar. Davis was the highest placer for the Hawkeye’s, finished in 15th after scoring a 13.133. Huang and Scigliano both tied for 18th after scoring a 13.066. The team’s final team score was 64.431.

Despite the team not making the finals, Iowa head coach JD Reive was ecstatic for his team’s performance and its opportunity to represent Iowa one last time.

“This team was absolutely incredible this year,” Reive said in a release. “So much more than any of us ever expected. There were so many phenomenal individual performances tonight, which is exactly why they are competing one more time in the NCAA Finals. One more night to represent.”

The NCAA Championship Finals are up next. The finals will begin on Saturday at 7 p.m.