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GIRLS GYMNASTICS: Permian climbs leaderboard to finish seventh at state meet - Odessa American: Girls

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GIRLS GYMNASTICS: Permian climbs leaderboard to finish seventh at state meet

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Posted: Saturday, April 29, 2017 11:38 pm

Brandi Simmons didn’t pick apart her team’s performance at the state meet Saturday night.

The Permian girls gymnastics team didn’t accomplish its ultimate goal of winning a team trophy by finishing in the top six in the standings, but no Lady Panther was upset with how the group ended up.

Permian (223.750) finished the Texas High School Gymnastics Championships at the Permian Fieldhouse in seventh place — four-tenths behind sixth-place Dallas Highland Park.

Rockwall (230.400) won the state championship with a comeback effort by San Angelo Central (229.825) falling just short — making the Lady Cats finish runner-up for the second straight season.

L.D. Bell’s Kyleigh Prather (77.400) won the girls’ all-around. Permian’s highest finisher was junior Joannaly Gonzalez who placed 18th.

At one point on Friday, the Lady Panthers were in 11th place in the team standings and found a way to crawl back to almost get in the top half of the standings.

Permian’s two-day score was the highest mark it posted this season and Simmons believes it is the highest mark a team of hers has set in 11 years as coach.

“Honestly, I feel like both days the girls did an amazing job,” said Simmons, who was presented with the Texas High School Gymnastics Girls Coach of the Year Award after the competition ended. “I couldn’t ask for them to do any better. Those girls did an awesome job.”

The Lady Panthers continued the momentum they found late Friday night on balance beam throughout Saturday’s entire optional round.

Permian went through all four events in the same order it did the day before. That seemed to pay off time and time again as the Lady Panthers’ rarely got out of that rhythm for the rest of the competition.

“This is one of our best meets all together,” Permian senior Briana King said. “We kept our spirits up and while some things today might not have gone how we expected, we were able to pull it out.”

The Lady Panthers embraced the freedom of optional floor to flip and dance their way to a 28.400. Permian also stayed consistent on vault and uneven bars.

Then Permian had its most consistent event of the weekend to close out the state meet on balance beam.

Permian’s lowest score that counted was King’s 9.000 routine. The Lady Panthers were bookended by their two strongest scores. Senior Ali Presley scored a 9.225 to start the discipline and junior Joannaly Gonzalez ended Permian’s season with a 9.425.

“It makes a big difference in showing our work — that we work on the little things and not just the big skills,” Gonzalez said after the event ended. “Today went really, really good.”

Even with King, Presley and Caitlynn Cordle graduating this spring, it seems the Lady Panthers’ best days are ahead of them. That’s why Simmons couldn’t be prouder of her team despite missing out on its dream scenario.

“We’re going to miss those girls that are graduating and going off and starting their own career,” Simmons said.

>> PAREDES HITS TOP 20: Odessa High’s Brittney Paredes came into the state meet with one goal for her two floor routines — do well enough to crack the top 20 in the standings. She accomplished that.

Paredes (19.075) finished in a tie for 19th place on the floor exercise after scoring a 9.575 Saturday — more than five-tenths higher than she did Friday.

Her routine set to an instrumental version of “Feeling Good” by Nina Simone lasted more than a minute as she was able to show why she belonged at the state championships.

“I was a little more nervous today because it was optionals,” Paredes said after her routine. “It was my last meet of the season so I was really just going to leave it out on the floor.”

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