The Odessa High boys and girls gymnastics teams both come into the Region III meet hoping to see their highest scores of the season.
There’s a difference however in what will make them achieve that goal.
The Lady Bronchos have had a small team all season, dealing with injuries and eligibility issues that have led to them not reaching their full potential, with Odessa High having to count at least one zero at every meet so far this season.
The boys don’t have an issue with numbers, but instead have been looking up at Permian and San Angelo Central all season along. The Bronchos have been trying to clean up their routines to make up the necessary points to not only secure a place in the state meet at the end of April, but push for a Region III title as well.
The Odessa High boys and girls will have their chance to push through those road blocks today and Saturday at the Region III meet at the Permian Fieldhouse.
Compulsory events start today at 4:30 p.m. with the optional portion commencing at 10 Saturday morning. The top three teams that meet a qualifying standard will earn a spot in the state meet on April 28 and 29, also at Permian.
“I’ve seen a more relaxed team in the sense that they don’t doubt that they can make it,” Odessa high boys head coach Antonio Gonzalez said about his team making the state meet. “They’ve been working very hard.”
Those trials and tribulations have consistently led the Bronchos to third-place finishes this season.
Odessa High has finished anywhere from .400 behind San Angelo Central to 1.500. It also has trailed Permian from that same point-and-a-half mark to four points behind.
In the weeks leading up to the Region III meet, Gonzalez has asked his team to put in extra work cleaning up its routines. He hopes that if each gymnast raises their total by a few tenths, the Bronchos could place higher at the meet and hold off the schools trying to take their top-three spot.
“This is the most important part of our season,” Odessa High senior Kaleb Redwine said. “Everything has led up to this, it’s pretty serious.
“It’s a lot of mental and psychical pressure. It makes everyone have breakdowns. But we don’t sit around.”
The Lady Bronchos will have those same butterflies coming into the meet but know their season is heading in the right direction.
While most of the other team’s the Lady Bronchos will be competing against have close to a dozen athletes ready to compete, they’ll have to get their best from half that.
The Region III meet likely will serve as the first time the Lady Bronchos don’t have to take at least one incomplete score because they didn’t have enough healthy squad members to compete.
“The good thing is that the three scores that are going to count are those good and solid scores,” Lady Bronchos’ head coach Lisa Torrain said. “We’re a work in progress.”
Torrain has spent the entire season trying to bring out the best in her athletes despite limitations that have made Odessa High course-correct.
It’s been one nagging injury after another, yet, for a team that recorded its best score of the sason just two weeks ago at the district meet, the thought of qualifying for the state tournament hasn’t left its mind.
“It’s definitely not out of reach,” Torrain said. “It will be an uphill battle, but it’s definitely achievable. We just got to show up and be ready to take no prisoners on Friday and Saturday. We have to leave it all out on the floor.”
There are definitely places that the girls can point to for upping their score — mainly on uneven bars.
Lady Bronchos’ senior captain Samantha Corrales believes her team can progress.
You have to want it, really want it,” Corrales said. “You just have to worry about what you’re doing and not worry about what other people are doing. I think we’ll move up.”