The Minnesota Gophers gymnastics team turned in a great performance in the opening session of the Normal Regional in the NCAA Gymnastics Championships Thursday afternoon. Minnesota won their session with a score of 197.825—their fourth best score in team history and their best score ever in a NCAA Tournament Regional Semifinal. Minnesota advances to the Normal Region Final on Saturday night where the top two teams will advance to the NCAA Championships semifinals in Fort Worth, Texas in two weeks.
The Gophers got things started on the floor where Mya Hooten is the queen who reigns supreme. She nailed her usual routine for a 9.95 which led all gymnasts in the session.
The rest of the team showed out as well with Halle Reminger scoring a 9.925 and Ona Loper and Giannis Gerdes adding a pair of 9.900. The Gophers scored 45.550 which was the 8th highest in school history and jumped out to an early lead.
Next was the vault where once again Minnesota got shining performances from their stars. Loper, who is #4 in the nation on the vault this season and Lexy Ranler both tied for the high score in the event by recording a 9.950. Hooten followed with a 9.900, while Maddie Quarles had a 9.875 and Gerdes totaled a 9.850. The team score of 49.525 on the vault is tied for the third best score in school history and is the second best mark for Minnesota this year.
Minnesota then moved onto the bars where once again the stars shined brightest. Loper scored the highest with a 9.925 while Ramler and Hooten both had a 9.900 Hannah Willmarth scored a 9.875 and Remlinger had a 9.800.
It all came down to beam where as long as Minnesota didn’t need to score a fall they had a regional final spot locked up. Minnesota’s most recent meet—the Big Ten Championships they did need to score a fall and it dropped them all the way down to fourth place, so they knew the circumstances they had to deal with. But this time it was perfectly fine.
Lexy Ramler led the way with a 9.950. Loper and Emily Koch added 9.900’s and Minnesota finished with a pair of 9.800s. Rams and Loper would tied for the all-around title with a score of 39.675. Loper had the second highest individual event score meaning she would win the tiebreaker over Ramler and will receive the one individual All-Around berth to the NCAA Championships if the Gophers do not advance from the Region Final as a team.
Minnesota and #9 Cal advanced in the afternoon session and will join #1 Oklahoma and unseeded Arkansas in Saturday’s Region Final. The top two teams will advance to the NCAA National Semifinals on April 14th in Fort Worth. The highest scoring individual in the All-Around and on each event of a non-qualifying team will also advance to compete for individual championships. As discussed above Loper would advance in the All-Around if the Gophers do not advance as a team on Saturday night. Assuming #1 Oklahoma advances, also advancing for Minnesota would be Loper on vault, Lexy Ramler on beam, and Mya Hooten on floor. Hopefully all three will make it and compete for individual titles with the Gophers as a team participant.
Saturday’s Regional Final will begin at 5PM and will stream live on ESPN+.