Gophers women’s gymnastics puts on magnificent show, wins Big Ten Championship on program record-breaking night

Senior Lexy Ramler was crowned 2021 Big Ten Gymnast of the Year.

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 Michael Lyne

The No. 7 Gophers women’s gymnastics team won the Big Ten Championship title for the first time since 2006 Saturday night at home at Maturi Pavilion.

Coming into Saturday’s championship, the Michigan Wolverines held a streak of six consecutive titles. The Gophers snapped this streak by scoring a program-record 197.750 to win their sixth conference championship in school history.

“I’m just so excited for them. After everything we’ve gone through and to have a performance like that tonight, I’m just so happy for them,” Gophers head coach Jenny Hansen said. “We just kept building all night long, and our athletes just came through and had such confidence from start to finish. It’s an incredible night, but it just feels magical.”

“We feel like we’ve been building to this all season long,” Hansen added. “We finally put it all together in the type of team that we think we are. To do that at the Big Ten Championships, it’s just so special.”

Led by magnificent performances from all-around seniors Lexy Ramler and Ona Loper in their last meet at the Pav, the Gophers dominated their competition from the very beginning as their vault team opened up their night with a team total of 49.350.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Loper said of winning the Big Ten Championship. “We are so excited that it happened and that all of our hard work paid off. It truly couldn’t be more incredible.”

Collectively, the Gophers’ seniors returned for their last season after the 2020 season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year was a difficult time for many, and to secure the title on Saturday made it that much more special for the Gophers.

“We have worked so hard this year. Everyone is just overwhelmed with emotions. Super excited, yelling, screaming, the usual,” Ramler said. “Our team is so grateful to have these opportunities to be able to come out, compete, and have our family here as well to support it. It just makes this moment even more special.”

“I’m so glad they got to have this moment. This last year has been so hard. For them to have this moment at home, they’re going to remember this night for the rest of their lives,” Hansen added. “For this to happen, to come to fruition for our team tonight, I think it’s worth it.”

Ramler’s remarkable year

Ramler earned three individual event titles. She won the all-around title with 39.725, the beam title with 9.975 and the bars title with 9.950. This meet marks the eighth consecutive meet she has won the all-around title.

“I think it’s always so cool and to do it at home too makes it even more special,” Ramler said. “The stars aligned, things came together, and the best part is running back to my incredible team.”

“This incredibly special woman… I’ve never seen anybody more focused and determined,” Hansen said. “What you see in competition is what she does every single day, and that’s so inspiring for our team. They watch that, and they know those expectations necessary to strive for that. She has elevated our program to a whole new level.”

To cap off what has been a magical year for Ramler, she was crowned as the Big Ten Gymnast of the Year, accomplishing this feat for the third consecutive season.

“It’s always such an honor,” Ramler said. “There’s so many incredible journeys and athletes in the Big Ten, and to be honored with that award is just always incredible.”

In her senior season alone, Ramler has scored a perfect 10 on the vault and the beam and set a Gophers’ program record for the all-around, scoring a whopping 39.850. She has also won 24 event titles and has garnered five Big Ten Gymnast of the Week awards.

Ramler’s lauded senior year has put her in the AAI Award conversation; the award recognizes the most outstanding senior female gymnast in the country. The award is often called the Heisman Trophy of women’s college gymnastics.

Currently, Ramler is tied for first in the nation on the beam, second on bars, tied for fourth on vault and 23rd on the floor. With all of these rankings combined, she stands at No. 2 in the all-around in the country.

While Ramler has collected many accolades throughout her Gophers career, she said that this accomplishment highlights her tenure at Minnesota.

“Coming in freshman year, that was one of our goals, and to achieve it and attain this year means even more,” Ramler said.

Gophers cornerstone in Loper

The Gophers can always rely on Loper throughout every event, night in and night out. She finished in second place behind Ramler in the all-around, scoring 39.575.

On the bars, Loper tied her career-high score of 9.925 that she earned earlier this year against Illinois. To round out her spectacular all-around, Loper finished out the Gophers’ historic night by scoring 9.950 on the floor, which secured her the individual event title.

Currently, Loper is tied for second in the nation on the vault, sixth on the floor and 21st on the bars. With all of these combined, she ranks No. 11 in the country in the all-around.

The Gophers’ beam team shined

While the Gophers saw excellent team scores across every event, the Gophers’ beam team shined, scoring 49.525 to take first place in the event.

Outside of Ramler’s 9.975 and Loper’s 9.850, senior beam specialist Mary Korlin-Downs did what she does best to score 9.950.

Senior Lexi Montgomery also had a historic night on the beam to score a career-high 9.850, while junior Tiarre Sales rounded out the Gophers’ beam team, scoring a 9.900.

Nylin’s debut on floor

The Gophers went into the final rotation leading by just 0.125 after the beam team’s tremendous performance. The floor team needed to show up, and they did just that.

In the biggest meet of the Gophers’ season so far, junior Abbie Nylin competed on the floor for the first time this season, and she did not disappoint, scoring 9.800.

“She’s been doing so well in practice, and we felt so confident in her doing what she was capable of,” Hansen said. “She wasn’t ready at the beginning of the year, but she was ready now. We felt so good about her going into tonight.”

To secure the Big Ten Championship, the Gophers closed out on the floor with their three All-Big Ten First team performers in Loper, Ramler and freshman Mya Hooten. They were incredibly calm in one of the biggest moments of their careers.

Loper scored a 9.950, while Ramler and Hooten matched each other’s scores with 9.900.

What’s up next

The Gophers are set to compete in Regionals on April 2. The 2021 Division I Women’s Gymnastics Regional Selection Show will take place on Monday at 4 p.m CST. The selection show will be streamed live on