To Jenny Hansen, it’s simple. “Greatest of all time.”

That was the coach’s response when asked what legacy senior Lexy Ramler would leave on the Gophers women’s gymnastics program.

“I think that (legacy) began the moment she stepped onto our campus,” said Hansen, in her seventh season as the U’s head coach. “She really has set the stage and set the standard for our program. I do think she’s going to graduate here probably the greatest of all time, and I think it’s going to be difficult for anyone to catch her.”

Ramler hasn’t announced whether she will use the extra year of eligibility granted to winter athletes following the cancellation of the 2020 season due to COVID-19. But regardless, this weekend’s NCAA Championships will be the culmination of Ramler’s time at the U and her effect on the program.

It will be Ramler’s third appearance at the NCAA Championships as an individual competitor. She finished co-runner-up in the all-around and uneven bars in 2019 and has secured five All-American honors in her previous two trips.

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But this year will be different because her team will be with her. For the first time since 2016, the Gophers qualified as a team. After winning the Big Ten Championships at Maturi Pavillion, Minnesota placed second in the Athens Regional to earn a spot in the NCAA Championships, which begin at noon Friday in Fort Worth, Texas. It will be televised on ESPN2.

The team earning a spot at nationals is due in no small part to Ramler. Yes, she’s the pillar of a strong Gophers lineup, but her effect is more than just a score, senior teammate Ona Loper said.

“Her work ethic, everything she does in the gym, has just really been such a great role model for everyone,” Loper said. “I think it’s really pushed everyone past their limits a little bit to try to excel and get to the level she’s at, which obviously we’ll never be as good as her, but we can try our best.”

Admiration and praise have been abundant for Ramler in her time at Minnesota, but that hasn’t normalized it for the St. Michael, Minn., native. Sitting next to Loper during the media availability, Ramler got uncomfortable any time her teammate threw praise her way.

In a recent practice prior to senior day, Hansen had all the seniors line up and allowed the rest of the team to tell their favorite memories and what they admire most about their teammates. When it came Ramler’s turn, the team began to bow to her, calling her “the queen.” All Ramler could do was crouch and hide.

“Lexy is very humble. She will never talk about her accomplishments even though everyone knows how amazing she is,” said Loper, adding that while she seems serious during competition, she’s “super goofy.”

“I was so shocked the first time I saw her silly side,” Loper said. “So if you get to know that side of Lexy, it’s truly an honor because it’s something really special.”

The accomplishments would be easy to gloat about, too. Ramler’s name is scribbled all over the program’s record books. She’s notched each of the top-seven all-around scores in program history. She is tied for the program-best 9.975 on the uneven bars, a score she has recorded three times. And she has scored perfect 10’s in the vault and balance beam. During the 2020 season, she became the first Gopher to record two perfect 10 scores in the same season. Loper joined Ramler in that honor this season, recording two perfect 10’s on the vault.

Perhaps Ramler’s legacy might be most reflected in that last stat. Before Ramler arrived at Minnesota, only four perfect 10’s had ever been recorded. Since she joined the team in 2018, there have been nine.

Hansen believes last year’s team would have made it this far had the season not been cancelled. This is the deepest team Minnesota has had since she became head coach seven seasons ago, she said. Seventeen of the 19 gymnasts on the roster have competed at some point during the season. Ramler shares some credit for that too.

“She really has left a mark,” Hansen said. “We’re all so proud of her and what she’s able to accomplish, but she’s really set a new standard and helped elevate our whole program.”

Ramler and Loper have tried not to think about what this meet could be, potentially their last time competing for the U. They’re focused on competing and will make a decision on their future after the season’s over. But Ramler did allow herself to reflect on what she would have thought about all her accomplishments as a freshman.

“Definitely coming in as a freshman, I had no clue what I was getting into,” she said. “Looking back then to where I’d be at now, I’d be so proud of myself.”

Still chasing an elusive individual national title that she narrowly missed out on in 2019, Ramler has added a team championship to her sights. It would be the first NCAA title in program history.

With a new NCAA Championships format that will cut the field from eight to four on Friday for Saturday’s final round of competition, it’s “anybody’s game,” Hansen said. Ramler expects just a few tenths of a point will separate teams in the end.

“That’s it. That’s all that’s separating these teams,” Ramler said. “I think, for us, that gives us so much confidence knowing and believing in ourselves that this is something we can do.”