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Ramler comfortable being Minnesota's greatest gymnast ever

Winona High graduate Lexy Ramler is winding down what has been a spectacular gymnastics career at the University of Minnesota.

Iowa, UCLA, vs Minnesota
Winona High graduate and University of Minnesota superstar gymnast Lexy Ramler does a floor routine in a recent meet.
Contributed / University of Minnesota athletics
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Winona High graduate Lexy Ramler, who came to Winona from St. Michael as a sixth-grader to learn from gymnastics coach Rob Murray, is regarded by most as the greatest gymnast ever at the University of Minnesota. Now a fifth-year competitor there, Ramler has scored five perfect "10" scores in her career and is currently ranked second in the nation in all-around. Ramler finished second at nationals on the uneven parallel bars and in all-around as a sophomore.

Ramler was awarded a “10” on the balance beam on Friday, Feb. 25, in a home meet with Iowa. She also won the all-around competition in the meet. For those efforts, Ramler was named Big Ten Gymnast of the Week, the third time this season she’s garnered the award and the 21st time in her Minnesota career.

Now 23 and a one-time Olympic hopeful, Ramler is making this her final season of competing in gymnastics. The business major and honor student intends to stay in the sport, but only as a coach and teacher. Ramler has four meets left, ending with the NCAA Nationals at Fort Worth, Texas, on April 14-16.

Iowa, UCLA, vs Minnesota
Lexy Ramler is going down as the greatest female gymnast of all time at the University of Minnesota.
Contributed / University of Minnesota athletics

POST BULLETIN: Your best performance of the year, what’s it been?

Ramler: Last weekend (in a home meet with Iowa) was awesome. I think as a team, everyone stepped up and things came together (Minnesota scored a program-record 198.025). And I feel like the best is still to come. And for me to get a "10" at home, that meant so much. Just the flood of emotions that come with that are really something.

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PB: What brought you to Winona and how much did that make a difference in your gymnastics career? 

RAMLER: I’d met (gymnastics coach and trainer) Rob Murray at a camp and connected really well with him. I had aspirations at the time of going elite and the Olympics route. That’s when my family decided to take the next step in my athletic career. My mom would travel with me during the week to Winona, where I would go to school and train, then we’d go back to St. Michael on the weekends. I’d have 6 a.m. practices, then go to school, then have practice again in the afternoons. It was a big change for me, but I loved the sport so much. It helped me be ready for the next step and helped me grow up fast. It also taught me the value of family. My parents gave me a great opportunity with the commitment they made.

PB: Have you stayed connected with your Winona coach?

RAMLER: Roughly every two weeks we touch based. I still listen to him, and he helps me.

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PB: Your reaction to being called the “Greatest of All Time” among Minnesota gynmasts, by Gophers coach Jenny Hansen?

RAMLER: It means a lot to me. There have been a lot of great athletes come out of Minnesota that developed in the (Gophers) program and paved the way. So it means a lot, and has a big impact on me.

PB: How much pressure is there in living up to being “the greatest” every meet you’re in?

RAMLER: There is a lot of pressure when I think of it like that. But you can have a great meet and then you just have to go on to the next one and realize that you have to be yourself and "do you." I try to focus on what has worked in the past, keep working hard in the gym and be in the moment when it is time to compete.

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PB: What is your ritual, hours before any meet? 

RAMLER: I don’t really have a ritual. I try not to focus on needing any one thing in order to be perfect. But I do a couple of typical things. I always do my hair in a certain way, and I always wear the same earrings. I almost forgot my earrings once, and I had my mom run back to the hotel to get them. I’ve been wearing the same earrings since my college career started.

You scored a perfect "10" on the beam on Feb. 25, in a home meet against Iowa. It was your fifth perfect score of your college career. Did you have a hunch you’d done it this last time?

RAMLER: When I got a "10" this last time, I really felt good about that routine as I was doing it. Every time I’d hit something, I’d smile, feeling like it was really good. But to get a"10," it is a special experience. It means so much, because it means you’ve done everything perfectly, and you understand all of the hard work, all the hours in the gym, all of the experiences and everything that led up to that.

PB: What’s on your mind as you finish this season? Anything you’ve not accomplished in your career that you still hope to?

Iowa, UCLA, vs Minnesota
Lexy Ramler looks back on her last five years at the University of Minnesota with great fondness.
Contributed / University of Minnesota athletics

RAMLER: I’d love to get a "10" on the uneven parallel bars. I’d love to get to nationals with the team. But those things are not in my control. What I want to focus on is enjoying this last short time in gymnastics and remember what it was like to be that little girl all those years ago who first stepped into the gym. I just want to enjoy it.

PB: What will you do once this season is done and you’ve used up your college eligibility at Minnesota?

RAMLER: I will be completely retiring from gymnastics. I still want to stay in the sport somehow, because it is my favorite one. But I’m feeling older now and feeling my body breaking down.

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PB: Will it be a relief or a letdown when your career as a competitive gymnast is done?

RAMLER: I’ve thought about that as it’s getting nearer. I don’t think it’s going to be a relief. What I think is going to happen is I’ll look back at how far I’ve been able to come and be thankful that I’ve had a lasting impact.

Pat has been a Post Bulletin sports reporter since 1994. He covers Rochester John Marshall football, as well as a variety of other southeastern Minnesota football teams. Among my other southeastern Minnesota high school beats are girls basketball, boys and girls tennis, boys and girls track and field, high school and American Legion baseball, volleyball, University of Minnesota sports (on occasion) and the Timberwolves (on occasion). Readers can reach Pat at 507-285-7723 or pruff@postbulletin.com.
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