Byron seventh-grader grabs second-place medal in state gymnastics meet

Feb. 24—ST. PAUL — The future looks bright for Byron gymnast Sydney Portner.

The seventh-grader showed Saturday that the present is also glowing.

Portner used her first appearance in the Class 1A state gymnastics meet to come away with a second-place medal, nabbing that on the balance beam where she scored a 9.2500 at Roy Wilkins Auditorium.

Portner, who along with senior teammate Lydia Evans competed in all four events as a state qualifier in all-around, also managed a ninth place in floor exercise (9.300), a 17th place on the vault (9.325) and a 32nd place on the uneven parallel bars (8.300). In all-around, she was ninth (36.1375). Evans was 19th in all-around (36.175) and Austin's Kiki Rodriguez was 14th (35.4500).

"For her first time at state, for Sydney to do as well as she did is really good," Byron coach Charro Coleman said. "The beam was the last event of the day. That ended up just being icing on the cake."

Byron also got a 29th-place finish from another seventh-grader, Norah Brown landing there on the vault (9.150).

Other top southeastern Minnesota finishes came from Winona's Karissa Merchlewitz, 11th on the uneven parallel bars (9.0125), and Pine Island/Zumbrota-Mazeppa's Ava Fogarty on beam (20th, 8.925). PIZM's Reighly Sorum was 23rd in floor exercise (9.0750), Rodriguez was 16th on vault (9.2875) and Evans was 18th in floor exercise (9.200).

Coleman was thrilled to see Evans competing in all-around. She'd also made it to state in all-around as a sophomore.

"For her to finish off her career at state in all-around is great," he said. "She had a good meet."

(Winning score; SE Minnesota finishers)

Balance beam: 1. Lauren Woelfel (Becker) 9.450, 2. Sydney Portner (Byron) 9.2500, 20. Ava Fogarty (PIZM) 8.925, 29. Kiki Rodriguez (Austin) 8.625, 31. Jillian Macon (Winona) 8.300, 37. Emily Klapperich (Austin) 8.375, 39. Lydia Evans (Byron) 8.325,

Floor exercise: 1. Hali Bullerman (Worthington) 9.600, 9. Sydney Portner (Byron) 9.300, 18. Lydia Evans (Byron) 9.200; 23. Reighly Sorum (PIZM) 9.0750, 28. Kiki Rodriguez (Austin) 9.00, 29. Alexie Awe (Kasson-Mantorville) 9.00, 37. Callie McRae (Austin) 8.825.

Vault: 1. Avery McAllister (Perham/New York Mills) 9.800, 16. Kiki Rodriguez (Austin) 9.2875, 17. Sydney Portner (Byron) 9.325, 29. Norah Brown (Byron) 9.150, 33. Karissa Merchlewitz (Winona) 9.1250, 34. Lydia Evans (Byron) 9.1125, 48. Hannah Whitby (PIZM) 8.550,

Uneven parallel bars: 1. Dakota Esget (North Branch) 9.500, 11. Karissa Merchlewitz (Winona) 9.0125; 27. Kiki Rodriguez (Austin) 8.300, 29. Jaida Mitchell (Winona) 8.3625, 31. Jillian Macon (Winona) 8.300, 32. Sydney Portner (Byron) 8.300, 38. Lydia Evans (Byron) 7.950.

All-around: 1. Dakota Esget (North Branch) 37.600, 9. Sydney Portner (Byron) 36.1375, 14. Kiki Rodriguez (Austin) 35.4500, 19. Lydia Evans (Byron) 34.575.