Gophers women’s gymnastics dominates Rutgers, improves to 4-2 on the season

The Gophers saw career-best performances from a number of gymnasts on a historic night, where the team earned its second-highest team score in program history.

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.

Michael Lyne, Sports Reporter

The No. 10 Gophers women’s gymnastics team defeated Rutgers at Maturi Pavillion in dominating fashion 197.625-195.975, earning its highest score of the season and tying its second-highest team score in program history Saturday night.

“We are so excited about where we are as a team right now,” head coach Jenny Hansen said. “This is the first meet this season where we put all four events together and we still have some things to work on.”

Led by senior Lexy Ramler, the Gophers put up season-high scores in the vault (49.450), bars (49.350) and beam (49.400) events.

For the fourth straight week, another magnificent performance from Ramler earned her the meet all-around title. She earned 39.700 of the teams’ total points, the second highest in her career and second all-time in Gophers’ history.

“A night like this really boosts our confidence as we near championship season,” Ramler said. “We have been working really hard in the gym and to see it transfer into competition is so cool. We need to continue to build each week, and we are super excited for the rest of the season.”

Although there were mistakes by junior Abbie Nylin on the floor and by senior Lexi Montgomery on the beam, their Gophers teammates responded well and both of their individual scores were dropped out of the team’s score.

“Our team responded so well tonight and they were aggressive even after a miss,” Hansen said. “We are in a really good place and we can’t wait to continue to get stronger.”

There were strong contributions from the entire Gophers’ roster through each event, as they outscored Rutgers in each event on their way to the win.

Vault — Team Score: 49.450 (Fourth-Best in Program History)

Ramler and senior teammate Ona Loper had magnificent performances on the vault, helping the Gophers obtain their highest vault score of the season.

Ramler ran toward the springboard, graciously flipped through the air, and pulled off a near perfect landing to earn herself a 9.975. This is the highest vault score of her Gophers’ career, earning her first place in the event.

Trying to match Ramler, Loper had a very similar vault performance at 9.950 to earn a second place finish. The difference in score was a subtle hop in the control of her land that caused her to be deducted points.

While these were two key performances for the Gophers, the team also saw the career debuts of sophomores Kate Grotenhuis and Maya Albertin on the vault. Grotenhuis scored a 9.725, while Albertin scored a 9.700.

“It was so fun to finally be out there after all I have been through with injuries,” Grotenhuis said. “I was so happy to be with my team and just kill it.”

Redshirt sophomore Maddie Qaurles and freshman Mya Hooten also competed on the vault. Quarles finished in third place with a 9.925, while Hooten finished in fifth with a score of 9.875.

Bars — Team Score: 49.350

Led by another incredible first-place performance by Ramler (9.950), the Gophers claimed all the top four spots on the bars and obtained their highest score on the bars of the season.

Senior Hannah Willmarth scored a career-high performance, earning a 9.900 and a second-place finish.

Junior Tiarre Sales (9.875), Hooten (9.850) and Loper (9.975) also competed on the bars finishing in third, fourth and sixth place.

Beam — Team Score: 49.400

Led by redshirt senior Mary Korlin-Downs, the Gophers continued their momentum into the beam to earn their season-high team score.

Korlin-Downs had a career-high performance on the beam. She claimed the beam title, scored a 9.975 and even earned a perfect 10 from one of the judges.

“Coming into this week of practice, I tried to nail down my routine and hold my landing,” Korlin-Downs said. “My routines this week were really good, but coming into today I was nervous because last week was my lowest score of the season. However, I felt super strong up on the beam and held my landing.”

The Gophers gathered more impressive performances from Loper, who finished in third-place (9.900) and Ramler, who finished in a tie for fourth-place (9.875).

Other notable performances for the Gophers on the beam came from juniors Nylin and Ali Sonier, with Nylin scoring a 9.850 and Sonier scoring a 9.800.

Floor — Team Score: 49.425

To close out their dominating performance, all Gophers performers placed in the top five spots on the floor.

Hooten and Looper both scored 9.925 and their spectacular performances earned them the share of the floor title.

Ramler (9.900), freshman Emily Koch (9.850) and sophomore Mallory LeNeave (9.825) also competed on the floor finishing in third, fourth and fifth place.

What’s up next

The Gophers will continue to ride their hot streak as they go on the road to compete in the Big Five meet Feb. 26 at 4 p.m, hosted by Maryland. They will face off against Illinois, Maryland, Nebraska and Ohio State.

The Big Five meet will be broadcasted on Big Ten Network+.