After falling to No. 6 Minnesota, the Nebraska men’s gymnastics team hits the road again to face conference rival No. 8 Iowa. With less than five points separating the two teams in the national rankings, the Huskers hope to regain their momentum from earlier in the season. NU will compete in Carver Hawkeye Arena at 5 p.m. CST on Feb. 23. Live stats will be available on HawkeyeSports.com for those who are unable to attend the meet. Fans who can’t make it to the meet can also follow the Huskers on Twitter (@NebraskaMGym) or on Facebook (facebook.com/NebraskaMGym) for live updates from the meet.
The Huskers look to earn their second win of the season Saturday. Nebraska dominated at their home opener against UIC, claiming the top spots both individually and as a team on all six events, as well as in the individual all-around. Iowa lost their home opener, but followed up at home the next week by overcoming Minnesota 422.750-419.450. They then proceeded to beat Illinois in Champaign, Ill., by 0.05 points. Nebraska faced Iowa twice during the 2012 regular season, most recently on March 24, 2012, at the Bob Devaney Sports Center.
Scouting the Hawkeyes
A Glance at Iowa
Head Coach: JD Reive
2013 Record: 5-8 (2-6 Big Ten)
2013 High Score: 430.600 (vs. Air Force, 1/26/13)
No. 8 Iowa started their 2013 season off with a fourth-place finish at the Windy City Invitational in Chicago. The Hawkeyes were unable to match conference foes Michigan, Illinois, Ohio State and Minnesota, who claimed the top four spots. Iowa continued on the road, traveling to Fort Worth, Texas, for the Metroplex Challenge. They finished fourth at the meet, behind Oklahoma, Ohio State and Illinois. They faced Oklahoma two weeks in a row, hosting them for their home opener in Iowa City, Iowa. The Hawkeyes fell to the Sooners with a team total of 420.200-436.550.
Nebraska returns to Lincoln for their last two home meets of the season after facing Iowa this weekend. The Huskers will kick off the two-week home schedule by facing No. 2 Oklahoma on March 3 at 1 p.m. CST. They will then host Iowa and Minnesota on March 16 in their second triangular meet of 2013. The meet will begin at 7 p.m. Both meets will be held on the track in the Bob Devaney Sports Center.
Last Time Out: Huskers Stumble in Minneapolis
Coming off of their first win of the 2013 season, Nebraska struggled against No. 6 Minnesota. Sophomore Grant Perdue took home the event title on floor exercise and tied for first on vault with a personal-best score of 15.15.
Sophomore Louis Klein earned his first podium finishes of 2013 season, placing third on floor with a 14.95 and third on high bar with a 14.70. He also competed on still rings, vault and parallel bars.
Co-captain Mark Ringle took home two event podiums as well, earning second on high bar (14.90) and third on parallel bars (14.30). The junior’s high bar score was a new personal-best. Ringle struggled on floor, earning a 13.60 and finishing in 13th on the event.
NU finished the meet with their second-lowest team score of the season. The Huskers’ 419.750 came in just above the 418.900 they earned at the Rocky Mountain Open on Jan. 12. Nebraska’s highest scoring rotation of the night was on vault (72.450), while their lowest scoring was on pommel horse (66.150).
Nebraska Maintains Top-Ten Status
The national rankings switched to a 3-score average on Feb. 11, causing some shuffling in the overall, as well as in all six events. The Huskers’ consistency in team scores anchored them in the No. 9 position nationally after the first week of their two-week break. Nebraska maintained top-10 positions on all six events throughout the break as well, holding ninth in half of them.
Grant Perdue’s dominating performance on floor against Minnesota helped the Huskers move up to ninth on floor exercise with a team average of 71.483. Nebraska sits just above reining Big Ten and national champion Illinois on floor. NU also jumped up to sixth on high bar with a team average of 70.300. They rank above No. 3 Michigan, No. 7 Illinois and No. 8 Iowa.
With the new 3-score average system, all-arounder Wyatt Aycock was dropped from the rankings with only two all around scores for the season. Teammate CJ Schaaf jumped up to the No. 8 spot nationally. Aycock was able to claim top-20 spots on two individual events, though. He earned 16th on pommel horse with an average score of 14.533, as well as tie for 18th on vault with a 14.617 average.
Perdue rocketed into the national rankings on floor and vault. The sophomore tied for fifth on floor exercise with an average of 15.100. Illinois’ Alex Varga shares the position. Perdue also grabbed fifth on vault, grabbing a 14.933 3-score average.
Louis Klein and Mark Ringle also earned spots in the national top-20 rankings. Klein tied for 18th on floor with his new average of 14.783. This marked his second week in the top-20 on floor exercise. Ringle jumped to the No. 11 spot on high bar with his 3-score average of 14.417.
The rankings shuffled again on Feb. 18, pushing the Huskers down to the No. 10 spot nationally. California edged NU out of the No. 9 spot after they increased their team average to 421.917, less than 0.3 more than Nebraska’s average. The Huskers also dropped in the team event rankings, staying just within the top ten. Perdue stayed in the top 25 on both floor and vault, along with teammates Wyatt Aycock on horse and CJ Schaaf in the all-around.