Gophers fail to qualify as a team for NCAA championships

Minnesota finished fourth at the Minneapolis regional.

Lexy Ramler finishes her balance beam routine at the Regional NCAA Gymnastics Championship on Saturday, April 7, 2018 in Minneapolis.

Ellen Schmidt

Lexy Ramler finishes her balance beam routine at the Regional NCAA Gymnastics Championship on Saturday, April 7, 2018 in Minneapolis.

Erik Nelson

Minnesota was backed by a home crowd of more than 4,000 people at Maturi Pavilion, but the team could not clinch a berth in the NCAA championships.

The Gophers finished fourth at the Minneapolis regionals and scored 196.100. No. 1 Oklahoma finished in first place with a score of 198.000. No. 12 Kentucky finished second with a score of 197.050.

Head coach Jenny Hansen said she was proud of her team’s effort, even though Minnesota didn’t advance to the NCAA regionals.

“Our team did a great job. We could have done better, but overall, I’m proud of them,” Hansen said. “They would have had to been lights-out perfect tonight to be able to qualify for the national championships because the other two teams were fantastic.”

Freshman Lexy Ramler qualified to compete in all-around at the national championships. Ramler finished fifth overall in all-around, earning a score of 39.500. 

Ramler said she is excited to participate in the upcoming event.

“I came in and didn’t have any set goals,” Ramler said. “I want to see how far I can go. I’m excited that I can represent the U in that way.”

On bars, Ramler tied for 12th place, receiving a score of 9.850. Senior Hannah Hitchcock and sophomore Ivy Lu tied for 18th place. Both gymnasts earned scores of 9.825.

Ramler finished second on beam with a score of 9.925. Junior Mary Korlin-Downs tied for 15th place with a score of 9.775.

“We want to make sure the athletes go after the routines in a way they know how and not let the environment overtake their emotions,” Hansen said.

Sophomore Paige Williams tied for second on floor with a score of 9.950. Ramler tied for 21st, earning a score of 9.850.

Ramler tied for sixth on vault with a score of 9.875. Hitchcock tied for ninth place in the vault, her final event, with a score of 9.850.

Hitchcock said it felt great to compete at Maturi Pavilion one last time.

“I have never competed at the Pavilion in front of this many people,” Hitchcock said. “The energy was insane.”

Minnesota’s 2017-18 season is over after competing in its 23rd consecutive NCAA regional. Hitchcock said the team can use Saturday’s competition as a learning experience.

“Our best event is usually bars. We started off slow on bars, but we came back and had our best floor and vault of the season,” Hitchcock said. “We tried to stay focused and not worry about the scores. We learned that a comeback is possible.”

The 2018 NCAA championships start on April 20 in St. Louis. 

“I’m going to keep trying to do what I do in practice and continue working hard,” Ramler said.