Both the Minnesota Golden Gophers men’s and women’s gymnastics teams will be represented at their respective NCAA Championships Meets this weekend. The Gopher Men head into the competition in Chicago ranked #2 in the nation with a chance to win their first ever team NCAA Championship. The men also have several individual gymnasts who could bring home their first individual NCAA event title since 2014. Meanwhile, Gopher freshman Lexi Ramler will complete in the all-around competition at the Women’s championship meet in St. Louis.
The Gopher men enter this weekend’s NCAA meet ranked #2 in the nation behind only the Oklahoma Sooners. The Gophers will try and win their first even team NCAA Championship in a long and storied tradition that dates back to a 4th overall finish at the 1938 meet. The Gophers have finished in 2nd place three times in school history—1941, 1949, and 1990.
Friday’s preliminary competition pits the top 12 qualifying teams in two sessions—one in the afternoon and one at night. The top three teams from each session will advance to compete for the NCAA Championship Saturday night. The #2 ranked Gophers will be in the afternoon session with #3 Michigan Wolverines, #6 Stanford Cardinal, #7 Nebraska Cornhuskers, #10 Navy Midshipmen, and #11 Air Force Falcons. Minnesota got to choose the event they wished to start on as the highest seeded team in the afternoon qualifying session, so the Gophers will begin their competition on floor. Minnesota is ranked #2 in the nation on floor this season. They also rank #2 in the nation on the vault, #5 on parallel bars, #6 on high bar, #7 on pommel horse, and #8 still rings.
Several Gophers will also try and bring home individual event hardware. Freshman Shane Wiskus may be the Gophers best hope of a champion as he is ranked #2 in the all-around #2 on the floor, and #6 in the parallel bars this season. Tristan Duran was the co-Big Ten Champion on the parallel bars, and he is ranked #7 in the nation in the event. He also is ranked #4 on floor and #9 on the high bar.
On the women’s side, Gopher freshman Lexi Ramler will try and bring home a NCAA All-Around title back to Dinkytown. Only Marie Roethlisberger has won a NCAA Championship for the Gophers when she took home the uneven bars title in 1990. Ramler’s more obtainable goal is to try and secure a first team All-American spot. The top eight finishers in the all-around and in each individual event will take home first team All-American honors, and the 9th-16th place finishers will take home 2nd team All-American honors.
Ramler has had an amazing freshman campaign with Minnesota. She received Regular Season First-Team All-American honors on beam and Second-Team honors on both all-around and bars. She was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year and won eight all-around titles this season. Her average all-around score for the season was 39.485 which led the Big Ten, and her 39.600 at Ohio State was the highest score by any conference gymnast in the regular season.
Gopher fans can watch Ramler go for a title Friday night. She will rotate with the University of Kentucky in the evening session on Friday. It begins at 6PM and can be watched live on ESPNU, or streamed on WatchESPN.
Good luck to both Lexi and the entire Gopher men’s squad as they try and bring home some hardware this weekend!