Gophers top Illinois to end losing streak

Ivy Lu’s record-tying score on bars was 9.975.

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.

by Erik Nelson

For the first time in team history, Minnesota held a Friday night home meet. The Gophers looked to capture the energy from the crowd at Maturi Pavilion on the occasion.

The Gophers (3-2) found their stride behind home supporters, defeating Illinois (3-2) 196.100-195.100. Sophomore Ivy Lu tied a Minnesota record on bars, earning a score of 9.975.

Lu said she was in shock after she found out her score.

“It feels surreal. It hasn’t sunk in yet,” Lu said. “I went out there and did my job.”

Lu’s score tied a Minnesota record that was set in 2004 by Mary Skokut. In 2016, Bailie Holst also scored a 9.975.

Minnesota’s first event of the evening was vault. Freshman Ona Loper finished first, receiving a score of 9.900. It was Loper’s first vault routine of her collegiate career. The team’s score was 49.125, Minnesota’s highest score on vault this season.

Loper said it was exciting to earn a win at home after two straight losses. Minnesota has won all three of its home meets this season.

“The energy in here was great. Being at home is always so much fun,” Loper said. “Everyone around us is so supportive. It’s a great atmosphere.”

On beam, freshman Lexy Ramler finished in first place, receiving a score of 9.950. It was the third time this season that Ramler recorded that score. She also finished second on bars behind Lu, receiving a score of 9.875.

Head coach Jenny Hansen said she wants her team to continue to improve even though Minnesota is undefeated at home this season.

“We’re making progress in certain points [of competition],” Hansen said. “For Loper, it was doing vault. She did it wonderfully tonight. That was huge for us.”

Ramler and senior Ciara Gardner tied for first in the floor event. Both earned scores of 9.825. Loper and sophomore Paige Williams tied for third with scores of 9.800. Ramler won the all-around for the fifth consecutive time, earning a score of 39.475.

Hansen said Minnesota’s depth is a key part of its success.

“I wish we had a little bit more, but we’ll take what we’ve got,” Hansen said. “If someone is sick or hurt, we can put someone else in there and they can step in and help the team.”

Minnesota’s next meet will be the GymQuarters Invitational in St. Louis Friday afternoon. The Gophers will host Arizona State on March 3 at 4 p.m.

Hansen said she wants the team to carry the momentum from Friday’s win to St. Louis.

“We know we’re capable of more than what we did tonight,” Hansen said. “It was a good night, but we know we can do more.”