Iowa men’s gymnastics ends program with two All-Americans

Bennet Huang and Evan Davis were named All-Americans in all-around Saturday night.


Katie Goodale/The Daily Iowan

Iowa all-around Bennet Huang competes on the parallel bars 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. Huang placed third on the parallel bars with a score of 13.750.

Hunter Moeller, Sports Reporter

Iowa men’s gymnastics competed in its final competition in program history Saturday evening at the NCAA Championship Finals in Maturi Pavilion in Minneapolis.

The program will be discontinued because of financial struggles in the athletic department caused by COVID-19 cancellations.

For Saturday’s finals, Iowa was represented by six individual gymnasts. The team failed to finish in the top three of Friday’s qualifier to make the finals as a team.

Bennet Huang, Evan Davis, Peyton Hobson, Amari Sewell, Carter Tope, and James Freidman all competed for Iowa.

For the Hawkeyes, it was a night to remember, especially for Huang and Davis. Both competed as all-arounders for the Hawkeyes and finished as All-Americans.

“Evan Davis and Bennet Huang solidified their legacy tonight as two of the best all-around gymnasts in the NCAA,” Iowa head coach JD Reive said in a release. “Their leadership never faltered.”

Davis was the highest placer for Iowa. He finished the all-around in fifth place with a score of 81.931. The Houston native’s best event finish was on floor, where he scored a 14.566 to finish ninth. On pommel, he tied for 16th with a score of 13.166. Davis earned an 18th place finish on parallel bars after posting a season-best 13.433.

Davis also tied for 22nd on both high bar and rings with a 13.166 and 13.600. His 14.000 on vault gave him a 33rd place finish.

Huang followed just behind Davis with a seventh-place finish in all-around after posting an 81.465. Huang finished 15th on pommel with a 13.233, and a share of 19th on both floor and rings with a 14.223 and 13.633. His 13.633 rings score tied his career-best, which he previously posted during the 2019 national finals.

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On high bar, vault, and parallel bars, Huang finished in 25th, 26th, and 27th, respectively. His score on each event was 13.000 on high bar, 14.166 on vault, and 13.200 on parallel bars.

“It has been a whirlwind of emotions, but I’m grateful for the time that I’ve had at Iowa,” Huang said in a release. “To cap it off with All-America honors alongside Evan was an amazing experience. I’m grateful for everyone who has helped me to this moment of my life, and there are far too many people that I need to thank for my successes.”

Freidman impressed in his first NCAA finals. He posted a 13.466 on rings, good enough for a 27th place finish. Hobson finished in 37th with a score of 12.700.

Sewell ended his run on vault in a tie for 19th, after scoring a 14.266 on the event. Tope’s 13.333 on parallel bars gave him in a three-way tie for 22nd.

The Hawkeyes had a year to remember.

During the season, Iowa had two Hawkeyes named Big Ten Gymnast of the Week. Huang first earned the distinction Feb. 1, and Davis earned it Feb. 13.

Iowa also had the most All-Big Ten selections at the Big Ten Championships. Huang was named first-team All-Big Ten, while Davis, Stewart Brown, and Hobson were all named second-team All-Big Ten.

Huang and Davis were named regular season Collegiate Gymnastics Association All-American honors.

Huang was also in the running for college gymnastics’ highest distinction, the Nissen-Emory Award, which is given to the year’s most outstanding senior.

While this is the final chapter for Iowa men’s gymnastics, the gymnasts will never be forgotten.

“I am proud to call this group of young men my final Iowa team,” Reive said. “The 2021 Hawkeyes are legendary, all of them and all of those who played their part. Once a Hawkeye, always a Hawkeye.”