The University of Minnesota women’s gymnastics program has signed three student-athletes for the 2017-18 season, announced this week by head coach Jenny Hansen. Ona Loper, Lexi Montgomery and Lexy Ramler have each signed a National Letter of Intent (NLI).
“We are absolutely thrilled to welcome this group to the Gopher family,” Hansen said. “Not only are they fantastic students, and wonderful young women, they are a tremendously talented group that will elevate Minnesota to the next level. This is quite possibly the strongest class we have ever brought to campus, and all three will make an immediate impact.”
Ona Loper hails from Bluffton, S.C., where she competes for Summit Gymnastics Academy under Shelley Davis and Dave Andersen. Loper is a three-time Georgia state champion, three-time Region 8 champion, and three-time Junior Olympic qualifier. At the 2016 Junior Olympic Championships, she had three top finishes on vault, beam and floor. She is currently a student at May River High School, where she is in the top 2% of her class, and serves as the president of her school’s National Honor Society chapter. Loper is the daughter of Stephen and Patricia, and has two older siblings (Charlotte and Henri). She plans to major in physiology.
“[Loper] is a tremendous talent that has experienced great success over the years,” Hansen said. “She performs with grace and has an ease about her gymnastics that is hard to find. She has incredible potential to be a top all-around competitor for us.”
Lexi Montgomery joins the Gophers from The Colony, Texas. Montgomery currently trains with Metroplex Gymnastics, and is coached by Marnie Futch. She is an all-around competitor who has won two Texas state titles at The Colony High School. At the 2016 Region 3 meet, Montgomery finished first on all-around, first on beam, third on vault, third on bars, and fourth on floor. She has competed at the past four Level 10 Junior Olympic Nationals, and was a champion on beam in 2016. Montgomery is the daughter of Shawn and Mindy, and has one older sister (Megan). She plans to major in education. Current freshman Paige Williams is a former club teammate.
“[Montgomery] has proven to be one of the most consistent athletes we have ever recruited,” Hansen said. “She is a fantastic competitor and we are excited for her to bring this mindset to this program. Her strongest event is beam, but she has the potential to contribute on all four events.”
Lexy Ramler, St. Michael, Minn. native, competes with KidSport Gymnastics under Murray and Kristin Skime, and attends Winona Senior High School. Ramler has competed at the P&G Championships, Secret U.S. Classic, American Classic on the elite level. She also competed internationally at the 2016 L’International Gymnix Challenge, where she advanced to finals and finished first on balance beam and third on uneven bars. She has claimed national titles on bars and all-around at the 2013 Junior Olympic Championships. At the 2016 P&G Championships, Ramler finished 14th, just missing a qualifying spot for the Olympic Trials. Ramler is the daughter of Brad and Marlene, and has one older brother (Justin). She plans to major in biology.
“[Ramler] grew up a Gopher fan and has a passion for this program as strong as any,” Hansen said. “She has developed into one of the most successful athletes to come out of the state of Minnesota. Not only does she bring a high level of difficulty and experience, she also has incredible artistry that will benefit her tremendously at the collegiate level.”
Meet Preview: Gophers Travel to Michigan State
The No. 21 Golden Gophers will face Michigan State this Friday, Jan. 20 at 6:00 p.m. on the road.
Gophers Place First in Quad Meet
Minnesota placed first with a score of 194.900 at a quad meet against Arizona (193.225), Maryland (192.350) and Alaska Anchorage (188.175).
Meet Preview: Gophers travel to Maryland for Quad
The No. 18 Golden Gophers will face Maryland, Arizona and Alaska on the road this weekend.