Loper, Ramler shine in Gophers gymnastics’ dominating win over Ohio State

Fifth-year Ona Loper took home three event titles – vault, bars, all-around – en route to recording her career-best total score of 39.750.

Fifth+year+gymnast+Ona+Loper+swings+on+the+uneven+bars+in+a+meet+against+the+Ohio+State+Buckeyes+on+Feb.+12%2C+2022+at+Maturi+Pavilion+in+Minneapolis%2C+Minn.

Ethan Fine

Fifth year gymnast Ona Loper swings on the uneven bars in a meet against the Ohio State Buckeyes on Feb. 12, 2022 at Maturi Pavilion in Minneapolis, Minn.

by Michael Lyne , Sports Reporter

With the extra season of eligibility granted to student-athletes due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ona Loper exercised the option to return to the Gophers gymnastics team for her fifth year and hasn’t looked back.

Loper helped fuel No. 6 Minnesota en route to a dominating 197.575-195.775 victory over Ohio State after recording her career-best all-around score of 39.750 and winning three event titles Saturday evening.

Originally from Bluffton, S.C., Loper took home the bars title after tallying 9.950, a new career-high, the vault title with a score of 9.975, and the all-around title. She also tied her career-best score on floor after recording 9.950.

“I feel like I’m growing a lot of confidence every single week. Just having the team supporting me is everything,” Loper said. “I don’t think I would get as good of scores without them. I’m really thankful for them. It’s all about the team.”

Fifth-year Lexy Ramler followed just behind Loper in the all-around, recording 39.725, highlighted by her beam title-winning score of 9.975. It’s the third time the super senior has scored over 39.700 this season.

The Gophers’ floor team closed out the meet in dominating fashion as their five scoring routines combined for a team total of 49.700, the second-highest in program history.

Sophomore Mya Hooten returned to Minnesota’s floor lineup and bounced back after she struggled last Sunday versus Illinois, scoring an almost perfect 9.975 to win the floor title.

Ramler and redshirt junior Maddie Quarles matched Loper’s score of 9.950. It was just Quarles’ second time performing floor in her career as she posted a new career-best, almost reaching perfection.

“[Before the Illinois meet], the last time I did a floor routine was six years ago. Last week, I wasn’t even nervous, which was kind of shocking, but I knew I could do it. This week, there was a home crowd. I was so excited,” Quarles said. “I always wanted to do floor…now I can do more than just one event and it’s fun.”

Minnesota’s bars team also had a strong evening at Maturi Pavilion. Their five scoring routines combined for a total of 49.475, which is their highest score this season and ties the fifth-highest team score in program history.

Outside of Loper’s almost perfect 9.975, Ramler scored 9.925 and senior Tiarre Sales made her season debut, scoring 9.900, after recovering from an injury suffered before the season.

“It was really exciting to be back in the lineup and feeling the excitement of the crowd again,” Sales said. “Now that I’ve recovered, it’s super exciting. I can’t wait to help the team grow and do better.”

Minnesota’s total of 197.575 ranks seventh in program history as 18 of their 20 scoring routines were at least 9.800.

With Minnesota’s meet against Maryland being canceled earlier this season due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols in the Gophers program, the meet will now take place Monday, Feb. 14, at 2 p.m. in College Park, Md.