By Rob LaPlante
Crow River News Sports
Lexy Ramler is not your typical 14-year old.
Ramler – a native of St. Michael and the sister-in-law of STMA girls’ varsity coach Nicole Ramler – returns home from Winona on weekends, where she is currently training in the hopes of someday becoming a U.S. Olympic gymnast.
While attending a middle school in Winona, Ramler trains at KidSport Gymnastics where she has been coached the past three years by Rob Murray.
Murray has coached gymnastics for 35 years and said he has never seen a girl so determined at such a young age.
“I’ve seen some very capable athletes over the years,” Murray said. “Lexy has a lot of things going for her and already is a Level-10, junior competitor. She has tremendous flexibility and overall natural ability. She also has strong support from her parents.”
With the support of her mother Marlene and father Brad, Ramler’s gymnastics career started at the age of five. She is a native of Hanover, but her parents later moved to St. Michael.
As a seven-year old, Ramler decided it was time to take the sport serious. She began to compete for USA Gymnastics, in the hopes of qualifying at a national level. At the age of 11, Ramler left home with her mother to pursue her dream.
“It was a very big decision for me,” Ramler said. “It’s all worth it though. My goal is to make the national team and someday go to the Olympics.”
Ramler made big strides in late January. She was the lone qualifier from the states of Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Missouri and North and South Dakota to qualify for the 2013 Nastia Liukin Cup. She earned that honor at the Wisconsin Dells Vacation Classic.
The prestigious Liukin Cup took place March 1 at Worcester, Mass. Ramler finished 31st out of 34 gymnasts – many of which were Elite Level gymnasts who are Division-I college bound.
Her final score of 35.275 was well off the mark of Alex McMurtry’s top score of 38.450. But one blemish cost Ramler at least a chance to finish in the middle of the pack.
“I fell on the bars and that hurt my score,” Ramler said. “After I fell, I was focused on making things better and I was real happy how I finished on the beams.”
Her score of 9.075 on the beams was the 15th best score posted. She also scored 9.275 on the vault and 9.175 on the floor. Overall, Ramler said the event was a success.
“It’s disappointing a bit, because I could have done better on the bars,” she said. “Most the girls were older and making their second and third times there. Being my first year, I was happy with how things went.”
Her momentum carried into the 2013 Rising Stars Invitational held March 9 at Concordia University.
Ramler finished the Level-10 meet in first with an all-around score of 37.150. She finished first in the vault (9.45), uneven bars (9.40) and balance beam (9.52). She finished sixth on floor (8.775).
“The biggest thing for Lexy was the opportunity to compete on the big stage,” Murray said. “Her ultimate goal is to represent the United States at the Olympics. There are a lot of steps between here and there. Her next step is to qualify for Elite-10 status. With her desire and work ethic, I see a bunch more big competitions in her future.”