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HIGH SCHOOL GYMNASTICS: ECISD sends three teams to state championships - Odessa American: Boys

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Posted: Saturday, April 14, 2018 6:15 pm

For the third straight season, the Permian boys gymnastics team reigned supreme at the regional meet.

The Panthers brushed off any jitters from a turbulent compulsory round at the Region III Gymnastics Championships and picked up their momentum Saturday morning at the Permian Fieldhouse in the optional round to pull away for the victory.

Permian (331.100) bested second-place San Angelo Central (322.000) by more than nine points for the win. Odessa High (313.450) rounded out the podium in third place. The Panthers, Bobcats and Bronchos all advance to state with those marks.

For the Odessa High boys, this year’s third consecutive trip to the state meet is an unprecedented mark in program history.

“That team three years ago developed a certain standard for the next team and I can see that they’re buying into it,” Odessa High boys head coach Tony Gonzalez said. “They’re believing into it and they’re committing to it. When they can do that, the next team just follows.”

The San Angelo Central girls (229.000) also lifted a regional title. Permian (222.150) passed third-place El Paso Eastwood (219.550) on Saturday to finish runner-up and advanced to state.

Odessa High (206.050) finished in fourth place, out of a state-qualifying spot. However, the team’s lone senior, Brittney Paredes, qualified for the state meet as an individual in the all-around.

In 2017 as a junior, Paredes only made the trip to state as a finalist on the floor exercise. Paredes pointed to her underclassmen teammates as what helped her improve this season.

“This little crew of freshman and the sophomores that I have really required her best effort,” Odessa High girls head coach Lisa Torrain said about Paredes. “A lot of people don’t look at gymnastics as a team event, but it absolutely is. She fed off of their energy because they were right there nipping at her heels.”

Paredes added that competing at state last year will help her to focus in the final meet of her high school career.

“I think it’s definitely going to pay off because I’m not blindsided by how many people there are, how many exciting things I’m seeing and I’m able just to focus on myself and do my best,” Paredes said.

Permian senior Brandon Dominguez (110.550) won the boys all-around, finishing less than a point better than his junior brother, Ryan Dominguez (109.850), in second place. Odessa High’s Nicholas Drakus (106.150) finished in fourth place as the highest-scoring Broncho.

“It feels pretty good,” Brandon Dominguez said about his victory. “I mean it’s my last meet here, it’s a good way to go out.”

The Panthers’ regional score puts them fourth among teams who’ve reported results from regional meets behind Saginaw, Kingwood and Bryan Rudder.

“We’ve been practicing just to hit this one meet,” Permian boys head coach Chris Soto said. “We’ve been up there on a big scale.

“If we can make the breakthroughs and kind of adapt on this championship level, we’re golden.”

Even though Soto and Brandon Dominguez admitted the Panthers haven’t hit their potential yet, they said the optional round was a good step in the right direction.

“We can always pick it up more, but it’s a pretty big confidence booster for state,” Dominguez said. “It’s really a mentality thing. We can hit in practice, but it’s just all in our heads.”

El Paso Bel Air’s Amanda Martinez (76.800) won the girls all-around by less than three tenths over San Angelo Central’s Skyler McCowen (76.550), who finished in second.

Permian’s Joannaly Gonzalez (75.600) and Bridgett Pando (75.200) scored the highest for the Lady Panthers, finishing in fourth and fifth respectively. Paredes (73.550) led the Lady Bronchos, finishing eighth.

The Lady Panthers also showed more confidence on Saturday, passing the Troopers and inching closer to the first-place Lady Cats.

“For us a 222 is very good, especially with where we’ve been scoring throughout the year,” Permian girls head coach Brandi Simmons said. “We can only hope for better.”

The 2018 Texas High School State Gymnastics Championships will take place April 27 and 28 at Rockwall-Heath High School. 

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