Abilene ISD Communications

Cooper High School gymnast Tristan Reyna has spent a portion of the 2024 season with a large target on his back. The two-time District 2-6A all-around champion and reigning Region 3 champion in the all-around, Reyna knows every other gymnast in this weekend’s Region 3 championship meet at Abilene High School’s Eagle Gym will be trying to knock him off the top of the mountain.

But the senior who will graduate from ATEMS next month said he’s primed and ready for the challenge. The Region 3 meet will start Friday at 2 p.m. with boys’ compulsory events, followed by the girls at 6 p.m The meet will wrap up Saturday at 9 a.m. with boys’ optional routines, followed by the girls at 2 p.m.

“There’s always going to be pressure when you get to this point of the season, but I feel good about this weekend,” Reyna said. “The guy I’m trying to fend off (Will Brackeen from Lubbock High) is very talented. I’ve gone up against him many times, and he’s a wonderful competitor. But I’m ready to defend my title.”

Reyna, Brackeen, San Angelo Central’s Logan Kypfer, and Odessa Permian’s Talan Ramirez are the top four gymnasts in the region, according to Texas High School Gymnastics Coaches Association Rankings. In the rankings by highest score this year, Reyna is first (113.0), followed by Brackeen (112.3), Kypfer (109.4), and Ramirez (106.9). In the rankings according to the top three score average, Brackeen is ranked No. 1 (110.933), followed by Reyna (110.266), Kypfer (108.633), and Ramirez (106.134).

In the state rankings, Reyna is ranked fourth in the state by high score and fifth according to the top three score average. Brackeen is sixth and fourth in the state in those two categories.

The top-ranked gymnast in the state in each category is senior Trey Lopez from Rockwall High School. Lopez has a high score of 116.1 and an average score of 115.134. The three-time defending all-around state champion, Lopez leads the defending state champion Yellow Jackets and has already signed with 12-time national champion Oklahoma.

That’s the standard Reyna is trying to reach as he competes this weekend and hopefully at the State Gymnastics Championship meet, May 3-4, in El Paso. To win the ultimate prize he’ll have to post a career-best performance to knock off not only Lopez, but also Diego Ciacci from Round Rock High School, Joshua Smelser from Rockwall, Maksym Trukhachov from Round Rock, and Brackeen.

“I’m absolutely focused on defending the regional title and winning a state championship,” Reyna said. “I’ve always had the goal of winning a state championship in my mind, but it’s never been more of a realistic goal than this year. I’m capable of reaching the level of those top guys.”

Reyna – who enters this weekend’s competition with a slight wrist injury – said he spent the early part of his senior season experimenting and tinkering with his routine, taking risks in competition that cost him points but led to better results later in the season.

“I took some big risks on the pommel horse early in the year, and they didn’t work out at all,” he said. “I got a 5.9 on the pommel in the first meet and barely improved in the second meet. By the third meet it was better, but still needed work. The routine was longer, and I didn’t have the endurance to do what I had to do, so I drilled, drilled, and drilled some more until I started getting it.

“I told (Abilene High gymnast) Korban Jackson that I wasn’t getting off the pommel horse until I had the routine down,” Reyna said of his optional routine. “The repetitions have helped me become more and more comfortable with the routine, and I’m looking forward to performing this weekend.”

Reyna’s score of 8.1 in the optional portion of the District 2-A championship meet on March 7 was good for a tie for sixth. And while a marked improvement over the 5.9, Reyna said he won’t quit working on his routine until before he gets on the bar this weekend.

AISD gymnastics head coach Brandon Cooke said that work ethic has separated Reyna from almost every other gymnast in the state.

“He’s got a tremendous class workload, but he keeps his grades up and works very hard in the gym,” Cooke said. “You won’t find a better kid than Tristan Reyna. He’s a hard worker in everything he does. He encourages everybody in the gym, whether they’re a Cooper kid or an Abilene High kid. He’s helped create an atmosphere where everyone is rooting for one another no matter which school (AHS or Cooper), and you work hard in everything you do.”

When: Friday, April 19 and Saturday, April 20
Where: Eagle Gym (Abilene High School)
When: Boys – 2 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. Saturday; Girls – 6 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday
Tickets: Tickets can be purchased online beginning at 8 a.m. Friday (April 19)
Prices: 2-day adult ticket ($15); 1-day adult ticket ($10); 1-day student ticket ($5); 1-session ticket for adult ($5); 1-session ticket for student ($5)
NOTE: Tickets will be available at the door with a card only. CASH WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED!