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HIGH SCHOOL GYMNASTICS: Permian, Odessa High focus on improving at Martha Mitchell Invitational - Odessa American: Boys

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HIGH SCHOOL GYMNASTICS: Permian, Odessa High focus on improving at Martha Mitchell Invitational

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Posted: Saturday, January 13, 2018 6:31 pm

As the Permian and Odessa High boys and girls gymnastics teams ease into the bulk of their seasons, they’re hoping to see growth.

Although the goal of winning meets isn’t lost, early-season events such as this weekend’s Martha Mitchell Invitational serve as invaluable time to steadily improve.

For each team, this was the first chance at optional competition as well as their first two-day meet of the season.

And when the dust settled after Saturday’s compulsory competition in the Permian gymnastics gym, the Panthers found themselves on top of the podium on their home floor.

The Permian boys (151.700-171.200—322.900) took first place, followed by San Angelo Central (147.600-163.300—310.900) and Odessa High (140.500-160.800—301.300) to round out the podium.

 Permian’s Brandon Dominguez (51.200-57.700—108.900) won the boys all-around, besting his brother Ryan Dominguez (50.700-57.500—108.200), by seven tenths of one point.

Odessa High’s Nicholas Drakus (50.400-56.500—106.900) took third place as the Bronchos’ best individual finisher.

Even with the 12-point victory, Permian head coach Chris Soto said after the meet that his team still is finding its groove when it comes to competing.

“This year, there’s so much room for improvement,” Soto said. “And we have a long way to go. I can see them improving, they just have to grit their teeth a little harder and fight just a little bit more to be that much more successful.”

San Angelo Central (106.400-112.350—218.750) won the girls competition.

Permian (105.100-110.850—215.950) took second place with El Paso Eastwood (100.450-107.000—20.7450) finishing third. Odessa High (80.300-88.900—169.200) ended the meet in fifth place.

San Angelo Central’s Skyler McCowen (36.95-37.90—74.85) won the girls all-around by nearly two points. Permian’s Joannaly Gonzalez (36.05-36.85—72.90) and Bridgett Pando (35.15-37.60—72.75) finished in second and third respectively. Kelsea Whitlock (26.90-31.25—58.15) was Odessa High’s highest finisher in 16th place.

“I’m very pleased with how the girls did,” Permian girls head coach Brandi Simmons said. “I feel like they did an excellent job from beginning to end … I couldn’t ask for them to do any better at this point.”

Coming off of last year’s state-meet appearance, the Odessa High boys are trying to keep that momentum going with a younger squad.

“I wanted to see consistency and a little bit more improvement from my seniors and my juniors,” Odessa High boys head coach Tony Gonzalez said. “And then I wanted to see the freshman and how they’d work under pressure.”

An injury on Friday to Bronchos’ senior Adrian Arreola caused Odessa High head coach Tony Gonzalez to turn to some of his freshman on Saturday with some of their scores guaranteed to count in the teams’ total. Gonzalez was pleased after the meet with his teams’ effor.

According to Lady Bronchos’ head coach Lisa Torrain, her team improved from last year’s score at this event by more than 60 points. Torrain also knows that Odessa High has plenty of room to grow.

“We got to take baby steps, and they’re doing exactly that,” Torrain said about her team. “They’re taking a little bit at a time.”

Taking in the meet from the sidelines was the event’s namesake, Martha Mitchell.

Mitchell coached the Permian girls from 1971-1992 and won two state championships in her time as the Lady Panthers’ head coach. Permian won a national championship in 1992 under her guidance.

“I just enjoy it so much to be a part of gymnastics again in this capacity, something that I never dreamed of,” Mitchell said. “I think it’s very humbling feeling, it’s a very rewarding feeling at the same time to even be recognized in this way.”

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