Jan. 28, 2013
Editor's Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa's Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- JD Reive, head coach of the men's gymnastics program at the University of Iowa, has a lot to be excited about these days.
Reive, in his third season at the helm of the program, has a dynamic squad poised to take the next step in 2013. His Hawkeyes, ranked eighth nationally, have a big meet this weekend, hosting No. 4 Oklahoma at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Saturday at 5 p.m. in the team's home opener. The Sooners have finished as NCAA runner-up in each of the last two seasons.
The Hawkeye head coach is also excited about the new scoring format, set to begin in March.
"We are also doing a brand new format this year," said Reive. "We are moving to a five-up, five-count format. No more of this, six routines, four count, if you have two mistakes, you throw them away. It is much more intense."
The Hawkeyes return 13 letterwinners from last year's squad. Five seniors -- Javier Balboa, Todd Becker, Anton Gryshayev, Matt McGrath and Broderick Shemansky -- are set to lead the squad. McGrath was a 2011 NCAA All-American and Shemansky garnered first team All-Big Ten accolades in 2012. Add seven other returnees and a standout, eight-athlete freshmen class, and there is a lot to be excited about.
Reive feels the new format will go hand-in-hand with the depth found on the Hawkeye roster.
"That is going to benefit us," said Reive. "We may not have the super big guns, but if we are consistent across the board, they make mistakes, we let them lose the meet. That has been our focus."
The new format will not be used right away to open the 2013 campaign. Currently, six competitors perform on each event and five scores count. As Reive pointed out, in the past, four of the six scores counted. The new format calls for five student-athletes to perform, and all five scores to count. This format is found in international competitions.
"We are six-up, five-count through March 1, so we start the season that way," said Reive. "It is all about going out and hitting routines and performing. For us, it is no falls, no major breaks. That is the way that has to go. That is a completely different mindset on the competition floor, philosophically, that is how I coach."
With a deep roster, the emphasis is for everyone to step up and perform as the Hawkeyes compete through the format change. Reive is excited about the potential.
"Everyone is doing it and as soon as one guy does it, that is where the leadership comes in, they all start following, and they all start seeing," he said. "That is why our start is so important for them to truly see and eventually believe what they are capable of doing and put it out there."
Fans interested in attending home meets at Carver-Hawkeye Arena should visit hawkeyesports.com or contact the UI Athletics Ticket Office at 1-800 IA-HAWKS for season tickets.