Ryan and Brandon Dominguez battled neck-and-neck all night long Thursday in the Panthers’ final tune-up before the District 3-6A Championships.
The Dominguez brothers did enough to win but couldn’t outmatch each other — finishing tied atop the podium in the boys’ all-around (57.300).
That helped the Panthers (170.900) take first as a team in a District 3-6A compulsory tri-meet at the Permian Gymnastics Gym. San Angelo Central finished in second place with a score of 167.200, while Odessa High placed third scoring 167.000.
“It’s kind of interesting to watch them both,” Permian boys head coach Chris Soto said. “They know how to play the game and they know when one of them is doing better than the other one.”
The Dominguez brothers knew how to push each other’s buttons the right way — shooting the siblings to first place.
Ryan came into Thursday not knowing if he was going to compete because of the flu. Once he got the go-ahead, he was able to perform.
“We’ve had our fair exchange, but it’s really cool to tie with him,” Ryan said. “I didn’t think I was going to compete tonight, I just did it for my team.”
Brandon thought for the entire competition that his brother bested him.
“I thought he had me honestly,” Brandon said. “I thought he was going to beat me and I don’t know how I came back. It’s better than winning by yourself.”
The Panthers have wanted to hit a compulsory score of 170 all season and they finally got it done two months into the season.
It all went to plan for Soto — who said his team hit its peak too early last year and gassed out by the state meet.
“It’s kind of what I expected all season,” Soto said. “When we started the season I mentioned to the guys that we didn’t want to find our rhythm until this far down the road. We’re right on track and tonight was a really big eye-opener and a big motivator for everybody.”
Soto said that the top-five boys’ teams in the state have compulsory scores in the 170s and now his team can be a part of that.
A little bit further down the totem pole are the Odessa High boys — who despite taking third Thursday — were less than four points behind Permian.
“We’re keeping pace with the other teams,” Bronchos’ head coach Tony Gonzalez said. “I think we had a real good (parallel) bar and high bar, which in the past we struggled with a little bit, and we were consistent on pommel horse. I think were right there with everybody else.”
Both the Odessa High and Permian girls’ teams had to look up at San Angelo Central as the Lady Cats took first place (116.650). The Lady Panthers took second with a score of 113.500 and the Lady Bronchos placed third scoring 91.500.
San Angelo Central also had the top-four finishers in the girls’ all-around. Permian’s Bridgett Pando was the highest Permian finished in fifth (37.400). Odessa High’s Michelle Thomas had the best Lady Broncho individual score in ninth place (33.500).
“We really base it on how the girls did in general on every event,” Permian girls head coach Brandi Simmons said. “Overall today we had some great things and good progress.”
While the Odessa High girls team score has some lengths to go to challenge at the top of the district gaining momentum through spring break is its main focus over the next few weeks. Lady Bronchos’ head coach Lisa Torrain said her team has consistently improved over the past few months.
“The judges can see that,” Torrain said. “Some of the scores I wasn’t really happy with, but the performance I was happy with.”
All four ECISD teams now have a little while to rest before their next meet — the district championships at Abilene High School on March 23 and 24.