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BOYS GYMNASTICS: Permian's Dominguez brothers lead Panthers into state championships - Odessa American: Boys

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BOYS GYMNASTICS: Permian's Dominguez brothers lead Panthers into state championships

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Posted: Thursday, April 27, 2017 10:11 pm

Permian’s Brandon and Ryan Dominguez found their groove.

The Panthers’ consistent top-two gymnasts aren’t only brothers born a year apart, but have grown up competing and pushing each other to greater heights.

Still with a lot of room to improve, their contributions to the Permian boys’ gymnastics team in 2017 have been invaluable throughout a season where the Panthers have had a steady rise in ability.

Now the Dominguez duo leads a much bigger family than its own into the biggest meet of the year.

The Texas High School Gymnastics Championships start at 9 a.m. today at the Permian Fieldhouse for the boys with the compulsory round, followed by the optional round on Saturday starting at the same time.

The Panthers enter the state meet with the fifth-best regional qualifying score. They also won a district and regional championship. Yet they enter the competition on their home floor looking for their signature performance of the season.

While the Dominguez brothers are only two members of a well-rounded squad, their actions can help steer the team to its peak.

“We talk about this all the time,” Permian boys head gymnastics coach Chris Soto said. “We haven’t had a meet where we’ve pulled it all together at one time. There have been little mishaps and upsets that kind of hinder us from the overall goal.

“We’re up there, all we have to do is put everything together. I think we can make it happen.”

The Dominguez’s all-around scores have helped the Panthers secure plenty of victories this season. But in the quest for more points, Soto also first turns to Brandon and Ryan.

“They do set the tempo for the team,” Soto said. “I know I’ve seen meets where they’re really crucial to the team atmosphere. If one of them is not on their game, that means the rest of them aren’t on their game. That’s how strong those two individuals are.”

The Dominguez’s will walk into the state meet knowing they’ve both been here before. Brandon, a junior, is making his third appearance, while Ryan, a sophomore, is in his second straight state meet.

“The key thing we’re going to look for is intensity,” Brandon said about the state meet. “I’ve said it to my guys over and over. It’s whether or not we’re going to be yelling from event to event. If we’re going to be quiet and no yelling, that’s going to be the big game-changer.”

Another game-changer for the Dominguez brothers is having the other one by their side. They both said in the week leading up to the state meet that they know how to push each other’s buttons the right way to bring the best out of each other.

“I like it because we just have had that bond throughout these years knowing how to push each other to be our best competitor,” Ryan said. “At first my mom didn’t like it. She didn’t want all that competition in the house. But I thought it would be good.

“It’s not a big deal of who beats who. It’s who can work with one another, who won’t get down when you don’t do what you need to do and who can push each other honestly to not be the better brother, but the better competitor.”

Growing up, gymnastics wasn’t close to the only sport they competed in. Brandon said the brothers went head-to-head in just about everything.

It wasn’t until middle school that Brandon solely focused on gymnastics. Ryan entered the sixth grade planning on playing football and baseball but changed his mind so he could be in the same sport as his brother.

“Permian gymnastics is about family,” Soto said. “It’s about relationships and friendships and those are some of the most crucial things in our lives that we try to coach to the kids — who we do this for and how we do it.

 “Brandon and Ryan add a certain specialty to the group. They’re crucial to each other and their teammates. They’re a great ingredient to what team we have.”

Both Dominguez brothers are expected to compete in all six disciplines at the state meet just like they did at regionals.

And when all of the Panthers are competing expect the Dominguez brothers to push that family as best they can toward the podium.

Odessa, TX

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