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GYMNASTICS STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS: Permian finds consistency, sits fourth after compulsory round - Odessa American: Boys

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GYMNASTICS STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS: Permian finds consistency, sits fourth after compulsory round

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Posted: Friday, April 28, 2017 10:54 pm

After a season of talking about how it could reach its peak, the Permian boys gymnastics team did enough to get there for the first time Friday.

During the compulsory round of the Texas High School Gymnastics Championships at the Permian Fieldhouse, the Panthers came out of the gates strong on rings and kept it going all the way through pommel horse.

The Panthers (173.350) finished the first of two days at the state meet in fourth place — behind first-place Bryan Rudder (176.150). Odessa High (170.400) finished the day in seventh place.

Permian scored at least 28.450 out of 30 points on every event, keeping them close to the top-three teams throughout the six disciplines.

“This was the right time,” Permian head coach Chris Soto said. “Today was absolutely the best meet that we’ve had. There were a few hiccups here and there but they weren’t big enough to shake the whole team down. I think they were fully prepared to handle today and they couldn’t have done any better today.”

Leading the way individually for Permian were Brandon (57.700) and Ryan Dominguez (57.650), who are in 11thand tied for 12th place respectively in the boys’ all-around. Kaleb Redwine (56.600) was Odessa High’s highest scoring individual, who is tied for 18th.

Bryan Rudder’s Timothy Fletcher (59.600) leads the pack after only having four-tenths taken off his score.

Due to being in different flights, Permian and Odessa High completed the same order of events. All of which went smoothly for the ECISD schools until the Bronchos stepped up to pommel horse.

Odessa High placed 11th on that event with 27.900 points — a score that dropped it to the bottom half of the standings after staying anywhere from fourth to sixth for most of the compulsory round.

By falling into seventh, the Bronchos will be the highest-scoring team in Flight A entering today’s optional round. Only three tenths separate them from Fort Worth Boswell, which sits in sixth place.

“We lost it towards the very last event,” Odessa High boys coach Tony Gonzalez said. “I’m still baffled by it because I don’t know why. It wasn’t extremely bad, but that could have gotten us to Flight B.”

Odessa High junior Nick Drakus said that rough spot started when his team entered the fieldhouse for its final event of the day.

“I think it took too long setting it up,” Drakus said. “I think that took a toll on our warm-up time and I believe that’s why we had that slip up.”

Still, Odessa High is well on its way to improve on the 13th place finish it took at the state meet a year ago.

“Overall it was a really good day for us,” Gonzalez said. “Everybody was hitting I think even a little bit better than we did at regionals. But the scoring was tougher which is okay — its state and judges are going to be really picky about everything. We did much better even though we scored about the same as regionals.”

The Panthers achieved two perfect 10s during the first day of competition while Odessa High’s best individual score of the day came from Drakus (9.850) on vault.

First, Permian’s Esteban Rodriguez used the spring board and vaulting table to his advantage to fly through the air and stick the dismount for the Panthers’ first 10.000 of the day.

Then on Permian’s last routine of the day, Ryan Dominguez stayed in sync for the 20 seconds he was on pommel horse to claim the other Panthers’ perfect score.

“We’re feeling really good,” Rodriguez said after the compulsory round. “I feel like we’re going to hit the second day even harder.

“It’s like everything we worked on in practice is being released right here.”

Permian had eight gymnasts contribute to the team’s total score — second to only San Angelo Central which had nine.

Even with the Panthers’ first-day performance, Soto pointed to how his team prepared for the state championship in how it can inch into the top three in the standings.

He said the early morning training sessions with limited warm-up time gives the Panthers hope.

“We have our foot in the door, now we have to push it wide open and rush through together and make sure we do our thing,” Soto said. “Always just be optimistic. The top two, three teams — they’re dynamic as a team and they’re going to be hard to beat.”

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