Lexy Ramler heads to NCAA Championships as lone Minnesota qualifier

Ramler earned Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors at the 2018 Big Ten championships.

Lexy Ramler competes on the balance beam at the regional NCAA gymnastics championship on Saturday, April 7, 2018.

Ellen Schmidt, Daily File Photo

Lexy Ramler competes on the balance beam at the regional NCAA gymnastics championship on Saturday, April 7, 2018.

by Erik Nelson

Freshman Lexy Ramler was anxious heading into her first NCAA Regionals on April 7.

“When I get nervous, you have to breathe through it and focus in on what you need to do,” Ramler said. 

Her nerves, however, didn’t get in the way of her performance.

She qualified for the NCAA championships in the regionals for the all-around, as the only Minnesota gymnast to qualify this season. The freshman heads to St. Louis this weekend after earning a score of 39.500 in the all-around at the Minneapolis regional.

On Tuesday, Ramler worked out at Peik Gymnasium on campus before leaving for St. Louis. She said, heading into the championships, she is going to focus on having fun.

“I normally perform better,” Ramler said about focusing on enjoying events. “I’ve noticed that if I think about it too much, I get nervous and stuff gets shaky.” 

The NCAA championships won’t be Ramler’s first high-stakes competition. Ramler has not only performed in the Big Ten and NCAA regionals, but she also won two Junior Olympic gold medals. In 2016, Ramler was the all-around champion at the L’international Gymnix Challenge. 

Marlene Ramler, her mother, said she has worked hard to get to this point in her career.

“She’s worked for years training as an elite [gymnast],” Marlene Ramler said. “That level of training puts you in these environments that she’s currently in. These aren’t new environments, per se.”

Ramler looks to become the Gophers’ first NCAA champion since Marie Roethlisberger won gold on bars in 1990. Roethlisberger is Minnesota’s only NCAA champion.

Minnesota’s failure to qualify for the NCAA championships this year made it the second consecutive season it has missed the cut. The Gophers last competed at the NCAAs in 2016, finishing 12th overall.

Head coach Jenny Hansen said Ramler has adjusted well to college gymnastics so far.

“[Ramler] has learned a lot about what it takes … to be as good as she wants every single weekend,” Hansen said. “That’s a learning process for freshmen.”

Ramler finished first in the all-around in Minnesota’s first five meets. She won eight all-around titles this season.

Besides all-around, Ramler’s highest average score this season was on vault. Her average score was 9.838.

Hansen said Ramler does well in high-pressure situations.

“She enjoys those environments,” Hansen said. “She tries to put herself in those positions, so when it comes time to compete in those big meets, it feels like she’s done it before and has been there before.

The NCAA championships will be on Friday and Saturday at Chaifetz Arena in St. Louis. Marlene Ramler said she will be attending her daughter’s first NCAA championships and looks forward to seeing her compete.

“It’s exciting for her to be on that podium. She should feel comfortable,” Marlene Ramler said. “We’re excited to see her. It’s a new venue.”