St. Paul’s of Covington brought the power, and just as meet director Kevin Nee had predicted on Wednesday, the Wolves ran away with the championship of the LHSAA state boys gymnastics meet Friday at Baton Rouge High.
With the Skinner brothers, Brennan and Colin finishing 1-2 in the Division I, Level 10 competition, and their teammate Stevie VanZandt winning the Division II, Level 5, segment, St. Paul’s rolled up 390.50 points to 233.80 for second-place Baton Rouge High and 172.80 for Caddo Magnet.
Brennan Skinner, a senior, finished first in five of the six individual events and was top all-around individual with 77.80 points. He also registered the high mark of the day, a 14.00 in the floor exercise.
In the only event he didn’t win, the pommel horse, he finished second to younger brother Colin, 13.600 to 12.100. Colin Skinner went on to place second in the all-around with a 77.00 score.
“When you have a brother with you, it’s a really good experience,” Brandon Skinner said. “Not a lot of people have it. You kind of want to go the extra mile. You push each other, but you’re proud of each other.”
The Skinners were especially happy to contribute to the Wolves’ team win.
“I like it because I think it’s St. Paul’s first three-peat,” Brandon Skinner said.
Stevie VanZandt collected his second straight crown in Division II, edging newcomer Brandon Nguyen of Baton Rouge High, 62.40 to 62.20.
“I had a goal to get first place in all-around, but I only got second,” Nguyen said. “Maybe next year I can move up to first, or move up to level 10 (Division I). I’m close.”
Nguyen is a freshman who had never competed in gymnastics before entering Baton Rouge High and who trains only during the school year.
Both VanZandt and Nguyen won two events. VanZandt scored an 11.00 on floor exercise and the parallel bars, and Nguyen taking the rings with a score of 11.40 and the horizontal bar with a 10.9.
While the Skinners dominated every event in Division I, there were four event winners in Division II. In addition to VanZandt and Nguyen, Miguel Alvarado of BRHS finished first in the pommel horse, and Eddie Williams of Caddo won the vault.
Other local top-10 finishers in the all-around were Miguel Alvarado of Baton Rouge High, third in Division II with a 60.40; Miguel Nabatilan of BRHS, 10th in Division I at 58.80, Dawson Fontenot of Live Oak, fourth in Division I at 66.80 and Brandon Watts of St. Michael the Archangel, third in Division I with 72.10.
Watts finished third behind the Skinners in three events and tied Colin Skinner for second in the parallel bars.
“They (the Skinners) aren’t my real teammates, but we’re all friends out there. They push me, and they encourage me and I encourage them,” Watts said.
Kyle Carter of Barbe claimed second place in one event, the horizontal bar, with an 11.50 and finished fifth overall.
The two-day championship event concludes Saturday with three divisions of girls competition. There will be 133 girls competing in three divisions, beginning with competition in Division III at 9:40 a.m.