07/24/13 On July 13-18th over 900 twirlers from around the United States converged on Daytona Beach, Florida for the 55th annual USTA Baton Twirling National Championships. Two local girls, PHS sophomore, Jillian Smith and PHS freshman, Alicia Dennie were among these athletes.
The local girls competed in two events as a pair finishing third in the Jr. Advanced pairs and fourth in the Jr. AA pretrial pairs.
Jillian finished with a 5th in intermediate dance twirl, a 5th in beginner two baton. Jillian also finished in the top 15 in a very tough Jr. AA pretrial freestyle group and solo group. The biggest group of competitors is the Jr. Division and the girls are competing where scores from 2nd to 8th can be within 5 tenths of a point.
This week the girls are headed to Notre Dame to compete at the AYOP baton competition with their twirl team Stare Down. This team is made up of Jillian, Alicia, three girls from the Ft. Wayne area and the featured twirler from Western Michigan. The girls are coached by Kyle Keiser from Kalamazoo, Michigan. Both girls are also members of Daphne’s Dolls and will be seen twirling in the Blueberry Festival parade.