The University of Minnesota women’s gymnastics program begins their 2023 campaign tonight (Friday) when they host Hamline, Gustavus and Winona State for a quad-meet. The meet will start at 6 p.m. CT at Maturi Pavilion and the meet will be streamed on B1G+.
“We are incredibly excited to start the 2023 season this Friday,” head coach Jenny Hansen said. “The state of Minnesota has incredible talent at all levels and to be able to bring our four local teams together for this meet is a fantastic way to start the season!”
The Gophers return all but four student-athletes from the 2022 season, with Lexy Ramler, Ona Loper and Hannah Willmarth graduating from the program. Minnesota has eight seniors on the current squad including Kate Grotenhuis, Abbie Nylin, Maddie Quarles, Maya Albertin, Tiarre Sales, Ali Sonier, Mallory LeNeave and Halle Remlinger. The Maroon and Gold also welcomes four freshmen to the team who will make an immediate impact. Brooklyn Rowray, Megan Steensland, Sarah Moraw and Seria Johnson are the newcomers.
Head coach Jenny Hansen is in her ninth season at the helm of the program. Associate head coach Rich Stenger and assistant coach Geralen Stack-Eaton also enter their ninth year with the team.
Under Hansen, Stenger and Stack-Eaton, the Gophers broke numerous team records including a new team score record of 198.025 set against Iowa in February. Minnesota also set a new record on floor (49.750) against Utah State, Temple and LIU.
At the conclusion of the 2022 NCAA Championships, the University of Minnesota finished with eight total Championship All-American honors. Fifth-year senior Lexy Ramler led the way for the Gophers with First Team All-American honors on bars, beam and the all-around. Fifth-year senior Ona Loper earned Second Team All-American recognition on bars and in the all-around. Then-sophomore Mya Hooten continued to impress in her second collegiate season, with First Team All-American honors on floor and Second Team honors on vault. Fifth-year senior Hannah Willmarth was awarded with Second Team All-American honors on bars.
The Gophers had four All-Big Ten Team representatives in 2022, with Ramler and Loper leading the way with first team honors. Halle Remlinger and Hooten represented the Maroon and Gold on the Second Team All-Big Ten. Senior Abbie Nylin was Minnesota’s Sportsmanship Honoree. Three Gophers were named WCGA All-Americans. Ramler earned First Team All-American honors in the all-around and beam, while also earning Second Team honors on bars. Loper was named a WCGA First Team All-American in the all-around and on vault. Hooten was recognized as a WCGA First Team All-American on floor and Second Team on vault.
In the classroom, the Golden Gophers set a program record with 15 student-athletes being named WCGA Scholastic All-Americans. Maya Albertin, Gianna Gerdes, Kate Grotenhuis, Mya Hooten, Katie Horak, Emily Koch, Mallory LeNeave, Ona Loper, Abbie Nylin, Maddie Quarles, Lexy Ramler, Halle Remlinger, Tiarre Sales, Ella Sirjord, Ali Sonier and Hannah Willmarth were given the honors. Six members of the women’s gymnastics team also won Big Ten Distinguished Scholar honors including Albertin, Grotenhuis, Koch, LeNeave, Loper and Ramler.
Gophers in the Polls
Minnesota came in at No. 4 in the Big Ten Preseason Coaches’ Poll and No. 16 in the WCGA Preseason Poll. The Gophers finished the 2022 regular season being ranked No. 6 overall, with event rankings of No. 2 on floor, No. 7 on bars, No. 8 on vault and No. 22 on beam.
Scouting Gustavus, Hamline and Winona State
For the first time since 2019, the Gophers welcome their in-state competitors to Maturi Pavilion for the Best of Minnesota meet.
After Gustavus Adolphus finished No. 8 in the WIAC in 2021-22, the Gusties finished seventh at the WIAC/NCGA West Regional in March, finishing the event with a season-high team score. Sophia Redding and Brooke Merila — two main competitors for Gustavus — concluded their careers at the end of the last season, meaning there will be new faces competing for the Gusties in 2022-23.
The Hamline Pipers welcome 11 freshmen to the team in 2022-23 while having six seniors conclude their careers with the Pipers after last season. The Pipers finished No. 7 in the WICA in 2021-22, one spot above Gustavus.
Winona State welcomes back sophomore Bryce Stoltz for her second season after she earned 2022 NCGA All-American honors — as well as WCGA All-American honors — in the all-around. Stoltz joined the Warriors last season after she won the 2021 Level 10 Colorado State Championship on beam. Junior Kennedy O’Connor also was NCGA All-American honors (vault), and was the NCGA vault National Champion in 2022. Winona State finished No. 5 in the WICA in 2021-22.
Gopher head coach Jenny Hansen spoke with MNN sports director Mike Grimm about the opener and more:
(info and photo courtesy of Gopher Sports)