Gophers earn third-place finish at Big Five meet

Minnesota clinched a spot in the evening session of the Big Ten Championships with the performance.

Lexy Ramler performs her beam routine at the Maturi Pavilion on Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018.

Jack Rodgers, Daily File Photo

Lexy Ramler performs her beam routine at the Maturi Pavilion on Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018.

Erik Nelson

After a wobbly start on the beam, the Gophers finished off the Big Five meet strong, ensuring placement in the evening session of the Big Ten championships.

Minnesota finished third at the Big Five meet in New Brunswick, New Jersey, scoring 195.150. The team competed against No. 7 Michigan, Iowa, No. 25 Penn State and Rutgers — four Big Ten teams Minnesota had not yet faced. 

“They did a good job. That was uncharacteristic for us on balance beam. Beam has been a steady event,” head coach Jenny Hansen said. “They came back strong on the next three events.”

On beam, Minnesota earned a score of 47.750, the Gophers lowest score of the season. Sophomore Ivy Lu was the bright spot in the event, earning the highest score on the team with a 9.850.

Senior Hannah Hitchcock said Minnesota had to adjust its strategy after beam.

“We were trying not to watch any scores or see what place we were in during any of the events,” Hitchcock said. “Sometimes when you look at the scores and you’re behind, it makes you feel nervous and puts more pressure on you. You start to make mistakes. It’s better to stay in our own bubble and focus on ourselves.”

Lu said the Gophers tried to create momentum themselves in addition to using the crowd and music for motivation.

“We try to create our own energy and use the energy that was already out there,” Lu said. 

Sophomore Paige Williams tied for the event title on floor, receiving a score of 9.900. Minnesota’s team score was 49.000. Freshman Lexy Ramler finished second on the team in floor with a score of 9.825. 

Minnesota earned a score of 49.375 on bars. That score helped the Gophers advance to the evening session of the Big Ten championships. Lu won the event, receiving a score of 9.950. 

Ramler tied for the all-around title with a score of 39.450. She has won eight all-around titles this season.

Saturday’s meet was the final regular season meet for Minnesota’s four seniors: Hitchcock, Abby DeMuse, Ciara Gardner and Rachel Rowland.

“I was feeling excited and a bit sad because it went by so fast,” Hitchcock said. “I feel like I’m still a freshman, even though I’m a senior. It’s sad but it’s also exciting because we’re having a good season.”

The evening session of the Big Ten championships will be held on Saturday in Champaign, Illinois at 4 p.m.

“It simulates the NCAA regional championships better,” Hansen said. “It’s always great to be in that evening session.”