Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Collegiate Twirler Spotlight - University of Oklahoma

Hello Texas Twirl Fans!

After 12 weeks meeting these amazing Collegiate Twirlers representing in or from Texas…

1. University of Texas, Austin Feature Twirler – Caroline Carothers
2. Texas State University Feature Twirlers – Kaylee Williams and Megan Lazrine
3. University of Texas, San Antonio Twirlers – Alexis Tanner, Hannah Kacher, and Caitlin Stanke
4. Stephen F Austin State University Twirl-O-Jacks
5. Texas Southern University Platinum Girl – Kennedi Robinson
6. Texas Tech University Twirlers – Emily, Kimberly, Anna, Chailie, Emma, Holly, and Feature Abby
7. University of Houston Feature Twirlers – Jassandra Holbert and Abigail Neuman
8. Sam Houston State University Feature Twirlers – Sara Wleczyk and Kasey Strouse
9. Southern Methodist University Feature Twirler – “The Doll” Rachel Hutchinson
10. University of Hawaii Feature Twirler – Callyn Marvell
11. University of Missouri Feature Twirler – Josie Linson
12. University of Arkansas Twirlers from Texas – Kendal Baker and Lindsay Richards

We have one final Collegian to meet to wrap up our Field Twirling Interview season, which is also our final post for November. You may have seen her Instagram Takeover on Saturday where she showed us a little more about Game Day in Norman, and gave quite the "fire" performance for the crowd...

Our final Collegiate Twirler Spotlight this year is the University of Oklahoma Feature Twirler!

The University of Oklahoma, known as OU, is located in Norman, OK. OU is the home of the Sooners, and this World medalist ttwirler. She can be seen on Saturdays twirling her heart out for her beloved Sooners. The University of Oklahoma Feature Twirler, and 2019 USTA Collegiate Champion, is Emily Perkins!

Emily is a Texas girl, but when it came time for college and finding her higher education home, she made the decision to cross the Texas State Line into Oklahoma. We asked her what made her decide on OU? “OU was the first place that I tried out, and the moment I stepped on the campus, I knew this was my home.”

Making the decision of where to apply and audition for twirlers can be difficult. Emily told us that applying at OU was definitely the right choice for her. “The band staff is extraordinarily friendly and supportive, and the position has a long line of talented representatives that have upheld such a rewarding tradition.  The directors offered a contract that I couldn’t refuse. I mean…It’s the SOONERS…you just can’t beat that!”

Choosing to go away from her home and her family was the only bad part of her decision, “I missed my cat a lot. But also, not seeing your family for long periods of time or practicing with your pairs partner is challenging.”

While she has missed being at home, being away has led to her developing new skills and learning independence. “It is hard to go far from home, and you might get home sick, but eventually it gets better. Being on your own is the best way to learn responsibility and how to be on your own.” She also advises those wanting to twirl in college to think about where they want to go before application time. “Start looking and apply early… the best schools are very competitive.”

One thing that has really helped her with being away from home is being a part of the OU Band Family. She has made many friends and memories she will always cherish. In fact, she tells us her best advice for future Collegiate Twirlers is to develop that family away from home. “Be a part of the band family. You might be your own section, but you aren’t the only section.” Great advice for all twirlers!

Now that we have learned more about what brought her to OU, lets learn more about Emily!

Emily Perkins
Competition Level: Elite
Emily is a Junior Majoring in Environmental Design (Architecture) and Minoring in Art. At OU, she is also a part of the Student Heroes. She is from Spring, Texas, and has been twirling for 15 years with Coach (and mom) Lori Perkins. Emily has won many notable titles, including the 2019 USTA Collegiate Champion, World Championship Team Silver Medalist, and WBFT International Cup Silver Medal in Elite 3 Baton and Duet. Her favorite competition trick is anything 2 baton, and her favorite field trick is back neck rolls with fire. In baton twirling, she has been most inspired by her pairs partner, Keragan Ogden. “We have pushed each other since we started twirling, and no one cheers louder than we do for each other!” After college she hopes to continue teaching baton and begin her career in architecture/environment design.

Fun Facts!

Favorite Color – Blue

Favorite Music – Alternative Rock

When she is not twirling, she loves to…
“Haha, not twirling? I study a lot and I twirl a lot. Outside of that I enjoy painting, drawing, playing with my cat, Victor, and watching anime.”

Some things people might not know about her is…
“I was the Homecoming Queen in High School, I like to cosplay at conventions, and I have pretty bad anxiety. My hands shake when I twirl – even if it is just a fun performance. I also didn’t really know how to talk to people until college.”

Most memorable advice from her Coach…
“’You don’t have to be perfect.’ She also says, ‘I love you no matter what’ every time I take the floor. (My coach happens to be my mom.)”

Favorite moment as a competitive baton twirler…
“This year at USTA Nationals, I earned my first NINE for my two baton performance.  I think that was my biggest goal and to finally reach it was amazing.  I had earned 9’s in team and pairs before, but never as an individual.”

Funniest memory from a baton competition…
“It wasn’t me, but one of my friends did a solo at Twirl Mania where she dropped every single trick in her routine. I mean EVERY thing she tossed landed on the floor. She has such a great attitude about it and we still laugh when we think about it.”

Best life skill she has learned from baton twirling…
“How to keep going when things get rough, and learning how to speak to people.”

Favorite Game Day Tradition…
“We get to perform a pre-show at Wagner Hall before we enter the stadium, and I enjoy signing autographs and taking pictures with fans before the games.”

Favorite activity with the OU Marching Band…

 “We play a game  called “Assassins” where anywhere you are on campus, you have a band member assigned to “kill” you with a highlighter (by marking you on the wrist, neck, or heart) and take you out of the game. No matter how hot it is, I wear a scarf and long sleeves to cover up for the game. I have come close to winning- top ten out of three hundred! Maybe next year…”

This past summer was an incredible one for Emily, on top of earning several medals in World Competition (WOW!), at the USTA National Championship in July she was named the USTA Collegiate Champion! We asked her what that moment was like. “It was incredible! I still can’t believe that dream came true. I remember having nerves before competing, but the moment I stepped on the floor, I felt like I do on the field. The routine was perfect for me, and the crowd was a lot louder than I expected! I was a little nervous that no one would shout “Sooner” after I said, “Boomer”, but I was blown away when the whole arena shouted back at me. I didn’t have my routine ready in time for previous contests, so that performance was the one and only time I got to perform it on a competition floor.”

That is so amazing, and surely something she will never forget. We asked her how she felt when she heard her name called as the new Collegiate Champion? “Hearing, “The University of Oklahoma” followed by my name, just reminded me of how lucky I am. There IS only ONE Oklahoma! How lucky am I to continue that winning tradition?! And, the trophy that Savannah Miller’s family donated is absolutely beautiful; I was completely in awe to follow in her footsteps.”

We know a lot had to go in to that routine coming together so perfectly on the competition floor. Besides the endless hours of practice and dedication, what do you think helped you to secure that win? “Well, the all catch probably helped. I also have the advantage of having the multi-time USTA Choreographer of the Year as my mom/coach, so there’s that (I did get to collaborate on the choreography too!). I think that my routine had a lot of places focused on school spirit. It wasn’t about the most difficult skills I could demonstrate, but more about the love I have for my school.”

What great advice for future competitors in this event. Making a Collegiate routine about your passion for your University and its traditions is a great way to approach preparing for a collegiate routine. As Emily told us, “You don’t have to demonstrate every difficult skill you are capable of doing, you just have to LOVE what you are doing and the school you are representing. Act confident and be comfortable with your routine!”

We are so happy for Emily and all the achievements she has reached this year. We cannot wait to see where 2020 takes her, and we love getting to cheer her on as she supports OU. Congrats Emily! Boomer Sooner!

To wrap up this amazing season we want to thank the amazing Collegiate Twirlers we have been able to talk to this season. We appreciate them taking the time to chat with us, we loved their Insta-story takeovers, and we know they have continued to inspire the next generation. Collegiate Twirlers bring our sport to the masses, and we are so proud to have these ladies as our representatives! Now, let's all kill it during competition season. Go #TeamTexas!

We hope you have enjoyed this blog post. We are always looking for great new stories about Texas twirlers. Do you have an idea or some information we could use to help highlight our sport? Contact us at texastwirlcontact@gmail.com and we would love to hear more about it.

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