The Minnesota Golden Gophers women’s gymnastics team is in the NCAA Championship semifinals for just the fifth time in program history as they look to make history by advancing to their first NCAA Finals and see if one of a trio of individual Gophers can bring home just the second individual NCAA Championship in program history. The quest for all of it begins Friday afternoon.
The Gophers will compete in the first session of the eight team NCAA semifinals. 8th seeded Minnesota will join #1 Florida, #4 Michigan and #5 California with the top two teams advancing to the team finals Saturday afternoon. The evening session will feature #2 Oklahoma, #3 LSU, #6 Utah and #7 Alabama.
Unlike the men where individuals not on teams advancing to the championship finals will advance to the finals in the all-around and the individual events, on the women’s side the scores each individual records in the Friday semifinals will be the scores that are used to determine individual NCAA Champions in the All-Around and in each of the four individual events, the parallel bars, vault, flood exercise and balance beam.
The Gophers are already guaranteed at very worst a tie for their best NCAA finish in program history as they finished in 8th place in 2013 in their previous best NCAA championships. But the Gophers have three legitimate NCAA Championship contenders in several of the individual disciplines and the all-around competition. if one of them can win it would be only the second individual NCAA championship in program history joining Marie Roethlisberger who won a title on the bars in 1990.
Lexy Ramler has the best chance of a Gopher to bring home some hardware. She is currently ranked in the top five in three of the four events and in the all-around. Ramler is ranked #1 in the nation on the beam, #2 in the country in all-around, third in the nation on bars, and fifth in the nation on vault. She legitimately could win a NCAA title in any or all four of those competitions.
Joining her as a potential NCAA Championship threat is fellow senior Ona Loper. Loper is ranked #3 in the nation on the vault this season and has a pair of perfect 10’s in the event. Freshman Mya Hooten is the third potential championship contender as she is ranked 4th in the nation on the floor with a perfect 10 to her name earlier this season.
While the Gophers will compete at Noon on Friday, they will need to wait until the evening session to see how their scores will compete with the last four teams in action. We will know by early afternoon whether or not the team will advance to compete for a NCAA title, but individual championships will need to wait. Hopefully by the end of the night on Friday Minnesota can add at least one more title to their winter haul this season!
The Gophers session on Friday kicks off at Noon and will air live on ESPN2. The Gophers will open on vault before rotating to bars, beam and finish on the floor.