Gymnastics sees strong start to season behind Ramler, Kan

Strong performances by Lexy Ramler of the women’s team and Vitali Kan of the men’s have led the way for Minnesota.

Freshman Lexy Ramler competes in the uneven parallel bars at the Regional NCAA Gymnastics Championship on Saturday, April 7, 2018 in Minneapolis.

Ellen Schmidt

Freshman Lexy Ramler competes in the uneven parallel bars at the Regional NCAA Gymnastics Championship on Saturday, April 7, 2018 in Minneapolis.

by Paul Hodowanic

Both the women’s and men’s teams have begun to hit the mats at Maturi Pavilion, each with a few matches under their belt.

The women’s team began their season in the warmth of Arizona on Jan. 4 to take on Arizona State, Missouri and UIC. The team finished third overall, scoring 194.150 points, trailing first place by 1.300 points. 

Lexy Ramler began her sophomore season strong, taking first on vault, tied for first on the uneven parallel beams, second on the balance beam and tied for third on the floor exercise. Ramler scored a combined 39.525 points, which was first among the all-around competitors. 

The team also saw standout performances from Paige Williams, who placed tied for second on vault and tied for third on the floor exercise as well as Ona Loper who finished tied for second on vault. 

The team then traveled back home for the annual Best of Minnesota meet. The event features the gymnastics teams from Hamline, Gustavus and Winona State. Minnesota dominated the meet, with its gymnasts finishing in the top six of each event.

Finally, the team traveled to Iowa on Saturday Jan. 19 to take on the Hawkeyes in their first conference duel of the season. Minnesota took care of its southern rivals swiftly, winning 195.475 to 194.350. Minnesota placed first in every event. 

Ramler continued to put up impressive numbers, finishing first in vault, beam and floor exercise. She finished with an all-around score of 39.450. 

The women’s team next meet will take place on Jan. 26 at Penn State. 

Men’s season begins

The men’s team has also enjoyed early success in its season. The team traveled to Colorado Springs for the Rocky Mountain Open, their first meet of the season on Jan. 12. The No. 5-ranked Gophers performed well, taking third place among six teams, being edged out by No.1 ranked Oklahoma and No. 7 ranked Nebraska. 

The Gophers saw strong individual performances from Vitali Kan, Shane Wiskus and Timmy Kutyla. 

Kan finished tied for first on vault with a score of 14.650, Wiskus finished second on the pommel horse with a 14.100 score and Kutyla finished second on high bar with a 13.800 score. 

On Saturday, Jan. 19 the Gophers traveled to Chicago for the Windy City Invitational. The meet featured UIC, Illinois, Michigan, Iowa and Washington, all of which are ranked in the top-25 nationally. 

Minnesota grabbed its second consecutive third place finish, narrowly losing to No. 3 Illinois and No. 7 Michigan. 

Shaun Herzog finished second among all-around competitors with a score of 79.700. Wiskus wasn’t far behind finishing fourth, scoring 79.500 points. 

Kan continued his domination on vault finishing tied for first with a score of 14.500. He also finished tied for fourth on his floor exercise. 

Justin Karstadt also finished on the podium, finishing second with a score of 13.950 on the pommel horse. 

The men’s team next competition is Saturday, Jan. 26 at Maturi Pavillion against Michigan, where the Gophers will try to avenge their third place finish from last week.