Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Collegiate Twirler Spotlight - University of Connecticut Feature Twirler

Hello Texas Twirl Fans!

The weather is finally changing and it is starting to feel like Fall here in Texas! We love this part of the season, and we are once again excited to feature another one of our Miss Majorette of Texas title holders. We really enjoyed following her Instastory Takeover from the UConn vs Yale game, and we are happy to share more about this wonderful representative of our sport. 

This week’s Collegiate Twirler Spotlight is the University of Connecticut Feature Twirler!


The University of Connecticut, located in Storrs, Connecticut, is the home of the Huskies. It is also the home of a history of fantastic twirlers, which is why #TeamTexas was ecstatic to see our very own Texas Twirler, Maggie Barnett, named as their Feature Twirler! 

We asked Maggie what made her choose UConn, and she told us it was the perfect combination of academics and a chance to twirl for an amazing school. “When I came to UConn for the first time I fell in love with the campus and the people here. Everyone was so welcoming and supportive. UConn is not only a great school for twirling, but it also has an excellent music program and political science department, which were great for both of my majors.”

With each school having a different approach to naming their twirlers, we wanted to know what Maggie did to earn her spot. “The audition process at UConn is very individualized. You first email the band director about your interest in being a feature twirler at UConn. You also include information about yourself and some videos of you twirling. You then get invited to audition in person and where you will twirl and also talk more with Dr. Mills about twirling at UConn.”


Through this process, Maggie will be able to continue representing UConn for several years. “At UConn we only audition once, and the spot is ours until we graduate, but UConn will have more than one twirler.”

Choosing to go to UConn was a great decision for Maggie. Making the choice to go out of state is often a difficulty one, but not for her. “I have always wanted to go to school out of state. Being on the east coast does provide so many great opportunities and connections for me to explore music performance and political science. I would encourage twirlers looking to go to school out of state to get out their options. It is a great opportunity that will allow you to experience and learn so many new things.”

While it has been a wonderful experience for Maggie, we did want to know what she has missed the most not being in Texas. “This is silly but the one thing I do miss about Texas is being so close to so many Chick-fil-A’s. There are only eleven in the entire state of Connecticut and the closest one to me is thirty minutes away.”

Now that we have learned what brought Maggie to UConn, let’s learn more about her. 

Maggie Barnett
Maggie is a sophomore from Fort Worth, Texas, and is majoring in Music Performance (oboe) and Political Science. In addition to being the Feature Twirler, she also plays oboe in the University’s symphonic band and symphonic orchestra. She has been twirling for 15 years with coach Janice Jackson Seamands. The competition title she is the proudest of earning was the 2021 College Miss Majorette of Texas. In baton twirling she has been very inspired by the former UConn Twirlers. “All of the UConn twirler alum are not only such great twirlers, but they are also amazing people. They have been so welcoming and supportive and they inspire me in so many ways.” Her favorite competition tricks are rolls or five turns, and her favorite field trick is elbow pops into a split. After college, she hopes to attend law school and play oboe professionally, or teach private lessons.



Fun Facts!
Favorite Color – Blue
Favorite TV Shows – Law & Order and Dance Moms
Favorite Music – “I listen to a lot of different types of music, but my favorite artists right now are Taylor Swift and SZA.”

Favorite Quote…
“The best things in life are worth waiting for.”

When she is not twirling, she loves to…
“Listen to music and spending time with my friends.”

Something people might not know about her is…
“I am a geography nerd. I can name all of the countries, their capitals, and other random facts about them.”

Favorite moment as a baton twirler…
“My favorite moment as a baton twirler would have to be at the end of the second day of our preseason in August when our band director Dr. Mills introduced me to the entire band. He then had me twirl to the fight song for the first time while the band made a giant arc around me on our practice field. It was so exciting to finally get to twirl with the UCMB in person.”

Funniest moment as a baton twirler…
“One day at band rehearsal some of the graduate assistants started naming some of the tricks I do in part of our show after Taco Bell menu items. Now every time we run the show and I get to that part we all start laughing. (For reference, horizontal finger twirls are also known as the ‘Baja Blast Freeze’ and whenever I am doing a leap, that means the Taco Bell is closed).”

Most memorable advice from her coach…
“Remember to always positively represent yourself because as a feature twirler you are not only representing your school, but you are also a representative for the sport of baton twirling.”


#1 Non-Twirling Life Skill she has learned from baton twirling…
“The most important life skill I have learned from baton twirling would have to be how to interview. Interview skills are so important and baton twirling gives you so many opportunities to practice those skills.”

Best UCONN School Tradition…
“My favorite school tradition would have to First Night. First Night is an event held at Gampel Pavilion that kicks off the start of basketball season and both the men’s and women’s basketball teams are introduced. The cheer and dance teams perform, and the twirler also gets to perform with the drumline.”

Best UCONN Band Tradition…
“My favorite band tradition would have to be when the band gets ice cream after performing at halftime during the football games.”

Advice for a twirler about to start college auditions…
“Trust the process and never give up. You will end up where you are supposed to be.”

We experienced a very unprecedented year last year. We wanted to know what Maggie learned from that experience and how she stayed motivated, and she told us, “Not getting to perform on the field last year was difficult, but I had to have a lot of patience. I also constantly reminded myself that I needed to twirl just as good, if not better, than I did when I auditioned prior to COVID, because that was the twirler UConn was expecting. In addition, it helped me a lot to watch videos of the alumni twirlers and marching band shows from previous years. Now that I am on campus, I am happier than ever and I know that getting to perform with the Pride of Connecticut was worth the wait.”

Finally, we asked Maggie is she had any final insights she wanted to share with our #TeamTexas readers, and she wanted to emphasize making sure your school choices are well rounded. “I feel like it is so important to not only pick a school where you will be happy twirling, but also where you will be happy learning. Twirling for a school is such an incredible and rewarding opportunity but academics and your education are the most important thing.”

We want to thank Maggie for sharing her Game Day and her experiences with us. We are so proud to see this Texas girl rocking it in Connecticut and we wish her a great rest of the year. Go Huskies!


Each season this blog likes to get to know many of our awesome Texas twirlers a little better by learning about their experiences. We will be meeting many HS twirlers on Fridays throughout the season with the Friday Night Lights Features and discovering more about our Texas Collegians with the Collegiate Twirler Spotlights during the week. We will also be having many of our HS and Collegiate twirlers take over our Social Media Story for their Game Days. Make sure to follow us on Instagram @twirlingiscatchingtx or at facebook.com/twirlingiscatchingtx so you don't miss a thing!

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Friday Night Lights Feature - Needville High School Twirlers

Hello Texas Twirl Fans!

What a fun weekend of field twirling! It never gets old! This past Friday we had fun watching these awesome twirlers do our Instastory Takeover, and are super excited that the next day all four of them earned Division 1 ratings at their Region UIL Solo & Ensemble contest. Congrats ladies! Now we look forward to learning more about these State Bound twirlers and their twirling experiences.  

This week’s Friday Night Lights Feature is the Needville High School Twirlers!


Needville High School is located in Needville, Texas, and is the home of the Blue Jays! Being close to several awesome twirling studios, NHS has had a great twirling presence in their community, and this Fall is no different. The 2021-2022 Needville High School Twirlers are Emily Wittneben (Head Twirler), Elisabeth Kubena, Hope DeLeon, and Kenzie Dees!

We asked these twirlers what the audition process at NHS is like. Elisabeth told us about Try Out day. “We have a try out day in the spring. On tryout day, we are judged on fundamentals, a twirl solo to music of our choice, and a group routine that we learn the week before during open gym practices.  Sometimes we even have had to play our instrument for try outs.”

A fun fact about these twirlers is that after they made the NHS twirling team for Fall 2021, they trained and took a routine to the 2021 AAU Junior Olympics and earned a GOLD MEDAL for their High School Majorette Line routine. #TeamTexas was so excited to see them earn this honor!


There are many great traditions in Needville, but the twirlers all agree that the Victory Bell is one of the most memorable. As Emily told us, “The best school tradition is ringing the victory bell,” and while Kenzie and Elisabeth agree, Hope has a different favorite. “On every home game we walk from the high school over to the stadium as a band and walk around the track all together.”

They also have a ton of fun being a part of the Needville HS Marching Band program. One tradition their band has that they will always remember is their trips to Golden Corral after marching contests. It has become such a fun outing for the band that, as Emily tells us, the band screams to go there after contests are over. Elisabeth enjoys those trips too, but says she also really loves their “Water Day” during summer band. “On our last day of summer band practices, a fire truck comes and sprays water, and the seniors throw water balloons and silly string at everyone, then the freshman have to clean it all up!”

Now that we have learned a more about being at NHS, let’s learn more about the twirlers themselves!

Head Twirler: 
Emily Wittneben, Senior 
Competition Level: Beginner/Intermediate

Emily has been twirling for 15 years with School Coach, Patti Jan, KTPS Coaches Patti Jan & Tracey Sweeney, and Jana’s School of Dance Senior Gem’s Coach, Jana Reid. The competition title she is the proudest of earning was the Marching Auxiliary National Twirling Solo Champion, and her favorite field tricks are toss leaps. In baton twirling she has been most inspired by Madi Jan. After High School she plans to go to college to be a Health Information Manager, and also one day teach twirling.


Elisabeth (Lissa) Kubena,
Sophomore
Competition Level: Intermediate

Elisabeth has been twirling for 9+ years with coaches Heather Holland Mikel, Jana Reid (Sr. Gems), and Tracey Sweeney & Patti Jan with KTPS. The competition title she is the proudest of winning was the 2021 Junior Beginner Southwest Regional Pageant. Her favorite tricks are elbow pops into a one spin, and anything three baton! In baton twirling she has been most inspired by Rachel Foehlinger and Michael Lopez. After High School she hopes to continue twirling in college while double majoring in Business and Dance. “I am not sure where I want to go to college yet, but my big dream is to have my own dance and twirl studio one day.”

Hope DeLeon,
Freshman
Competition Level: Novice

Hope has been twirling for 9 years with school coach, Patti Jan, and KTPS Coaches Tracey Sweeney & Patti Jan. The competition title she is the proudest of earning is the MA State Twirling Solo Champion, and her favorite field trick is a toss illusion. In baton twirling she has been most inspired by her teammate Emily Wittneben. After High School she would love to be a feature twirler at a good college.  



Mackenzie (Kenzie) Dees
, Freshman
Competition Level: Novice/Beginner

Kenzie has been twirling for 10 years with school coach, Patti Jan, and KTPS Coaches Tracey Sweeney & Heather Mikel. The competition title she is the proudest of earning was Strut Queen, and her favorite field trick is a toss, stag leap, roll. In baton twirling, she has been most inspired by her cousin and teammate, Emily Wittneben. After high school she plans to go to college and study to become a biochemist. 



Fun Facts!
  • Favorite Color – Light Blue (Emily & Hope), Pink (Elisabeth), Purple (Kenzie)
  • Favorite Movie – “Aquamarine” (Emily), ”Avengers” (Elisabeth), The Iron Man Movies (Hope), Naruto (Kenzie)
  • Favorite Music – “All Kinds” (Emily), “Pop” (Elisabeth), 
  • Favorite Book – “The Selection Series” by Kiera Cass (Elisabeth)
  • Favorite Class – Health Care/Nursing Career Classes (Hope)

Favorite Quote…
  • Emily – “The purpose of our lives is to be happy.”
  • Elisabeth – “Practice like the world is watching.”
  • Hope – “What you put in it is what you get out of it.”
  • Kenzie – “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” ~ Mae West

When they are not twirling, they love to…
  • Emily – “Hang out with my friends.”
  • Elisabeth – “Dance (especially ballet and pointe) and play my flute.”
  • Hope – “Spend time with my little brother and watch him grow (he was born just a few months ago).”
  • Kenzie – “Hang out with friends and read or draw.”

Something most people might not know about them is... 
  • Emily – “I love dachshunds.”
  • Elisabeth – “I love to cook and bake.”
  • Hope – “I really enjoy twirling, and I hope to become better and better every day so that I have a good chance of making a college feature twirler spot one day.”
  • Kenzie – “I like to watch anime.”



#1 non-twirling life skill they have learned from baton twirling…
  • Emily – “Work hard for what you want.”
  • Elisabeth – “Definitely time management!”
  • Hope – “If you really want something accomplished you will put in the effort to make it happen.”
  • Kenzie – “I have learned that in everything you do you have to be confident about it.”

Most memorable advice from their coaches…
  • Emily – “Just have fun.”
  • Elisabeth – “Don’t let other people undermine your confidence. You know what you are capable of, so go for it!”
  • Hope – “Always pay attention and focus on what you are doing.”
  • Kenzie – “The best you can do is the best you can do.”

Advice to future twirlers...
  • Emily – “Find your motivation to practice.”
  • Elisabeth – “Just put on your favorite music and practice what you need to. Good music always helps!”
  • Hope – “Always count to stay together because it looks so much better when the team is together. If just one person is off count, the team doesn’t look good.”
  • Kenzie – “Stick with it and make it your whole life if you love it that much.”



Favorite moment as a baton twirler …
  • Emily – “My favorite moment is the ending of the halftime show when you’ve done your best and you do the fight song off the field.”
  • Elisabeth – “Just anytime I am having fun with my twirling friends.”
  • Kenzie – “My favorite moments are when we perform on the big floor as a whole big group. It is so much fun!”

Funniest moment as a baton twirler… 
  • Emily – “A memorable twirl moment was finding a mouse in the twirling room walls.”
  • Elisabeth – “While we were marching a half time performance last year, my fake hair scrunchie flew off my head during a spin. I didn’t know it had flown off and I just kept twirling like normal. My band director saw something on the field and thought it was a squirrel – but it was my fake hair!”
  • Hope – “We four twirlers are always laughing and smiling, but I would have to say that the funniest twirl moment was when we were doing the fight song and the football players came out on the field. I turned and did a big loop and accidentally hit a football player in the head, but luckily he had a helmet on.”
  • Kenzie – “The funniest thing that has happened to me was when I hit my eye in the middle of a routine and started crying, but finished the routine with no more drops.”

Favorite thing about marching season...
  • Emily – “My favorite thing about marching season is showing everyone what we have practiced so hard for.”
  • Elisabeth – “Eating at Golden Corral after marching contests.”
  • Hope – “Just spending time together as a band and as a group.”
  • Kenzie – “Performing for the judges.”



What will you miss the most when marching season is over?
  • Emily – “I will miss the special and funny moments most after marching season is over.”
  • Elisabeth – “The fun of Friday night games.”
  • Hope – “What I will miss most is the practices and time we spend together. We have become very close.”
  • Kenzie – “I will miss being with my friends and how close we have become.”

We experienced a very unprecedented year last year. How did you keep yourself motivated?
  • Emily – “I knew that this year we had to work hard coming off of a year with not as many opportunities to twirl.”
  • Elisabeth – “There is a park close to my house with a basketball pavilion.  I would go there almost every day to practice and try to teach myself new things.  I didn’t feel the pressure of competition and I really improved my twirling skills more than I realized.”  
  • Hope - “I kept practicing and knew that I would get better and better the more that I practiced.  So, know that I put a lot of work into this it makes me want to go out there and show everyone what I have been working so hard on.”
  • Kenzie - “Everybody said it was so much fun when they did it before, so I worked hard so I could try it!!”



Over the last year, what lessons did you learn from the experience of dealing with COVID?
  • Emily – “I learned that everyone will learn to adapt in challenging times and learn to work together for the benefit of everyone else.”
  • Hope – “Never take things for granted!”
  • Kenzie – “I developed really bad anxiety over quarantine and I helped overcome it by twirling.”

How has COVID affected your school's football season last year vs this year. What are you looking forward to this year that you didn’t get to do last year due to Covid?
  • Emily – “Last year, we were not allowed to travel to all of the away games, and I’m glad that we now get to show our skills with our football team everywhere.”
  • Elisabeth – “We were lucky to be at a school that, other than having to wear masks, were able to have a somewhat normal year last year.  We have been able to still twirl at the football games both years.”
  • Hope – “Last year there were no pep rally’s and it was hard wearing masks at every football game. Our make up would be ruined and would leave marks. This year, my freshman year, I had to miss what would have been my first high school football game because I ended up testing positive on the third day of school, which made me really upset.”
  • Kenzie – “It was a big difference because last year I was in Jr High and they only had about 5 games while this year we have a full season and are in full swing with Marching Season!”

We want to say thank you to Emily, Elisabeth, Hope, and Kenzie for sharing their game day and their twirling experiences with us. We with them tons of luck with the rest of marching season and we can't wait to hear how they do at the Texas State S&E Competition in May! Go Blue Jays!



Each season this blog likes to get to know many of our awesome Texas twirlers a little better by learning about their experiences. We will be meeting many HS twirlers on Fridays throughout the season with the Friday Night Lights Features and discovering more about our Texas Collegians with the Collegiate Twirler Spotlights during the week. We will also be having many of our HS and Collegiate twirlers take over our Social Media Story for their Game Days. Make sure to follow us on Instagram @twirlingiscatchingtx or at facebook.com/twirlingiscatchingtx so you don't miss a thing!

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Collegiate Twirler Spotlight - San Diego State University Feature Twirler

 
Hello Texas Twirl Fans!

As we cross in to the middle of October, which puts us halfway through football season, we are excited to feature one of our Miss Majorette of Texas title holders. We hope you enjoyed following her Instastory Takeover all the way from California, and we know you will enjoy learning more about this talented twirler. 

This week’s Collegiate Twirler Spotlight is the San Diego State University Feature Twirler!


San Diego State University, located in San Diego, California, is the home of the Aztecs, and led by SDSU twirling coach and former College Miss Majorette of America, Catherine Watters, they are becoming a growing presence in elite baton twirling. It is also the new home of Texas Twirler turned California girl, Kaylynn Lambert! Kaylynn is a well known name in Texas, and we were all very excited to see her named as the sole SDSU Feature Twirler for Fall 2021. Since she headed out to California, we have loved seeing the videos and pictures of her wowing the Aztec community, and are happy to see such a great representative of Texas and baton twirling holding that position. 

We asked Kaylynn why she decided to attend SDSU, and she told us, “I chose SDSU because of the research opportunities I will be able to obtain as I continue in college, as well as the amazing experience I had with the band program at a past SDSU Twirler Day!”

With her audition process falling in the weird COVID year last Spring, we wanted to know what Kaylynn had to do to earn her position. “SDSU’s audition process was completely online this year due to COVID. I submitted a down the field routine to the fight song and a multiple baton routine to my choice of music, and then followed it up with a zoom interview.”

In choosing to go to SDSU, Kaylynn made the decision to not only go out of state, but halfway across the country. We wanted to know what helped her make that decision, and what challenges she has faced being so far from home. “I chose to go out of state because I have always craved independence and what better way to get than moving 1500 miles away! I struggled with the stress of living without my parents there to cook my food, help me with school, and just be there to talk to. However, I have gotten involved more in the variety of communities on campus so it’s easier to live so far away from home. Going out of state is a great way to get yourself used to living independently and while it can be scary at times, overall, it helps you grow as a person! Plus, you get to meet so many new people that come from all over the world!!

Now that we know how she ended up in Cali, let's learn more about her twirling experiences!

Kaylynn Lambert

Kaylynn is a freshman from The Woodlands, Texas, and is majoring in Biology. She has been twirling for 13 years. Currently a member of the Mickey’s Majorettes, she is coached by Patti Mickey and Kayli Mickey-McIntosh, as well as SDSU Twirling Coach Catherine Watters. The competition titles she is the proudest of earning were the 2021 Senior Miss Majorette of Texas and being awarded the Major Margaret Mann “Innovative Choreography Award” for her Senior Advanced Solo. Her favorite field tricks involve two batons. “I absolutely love doing really cool two baton tricks on the field. My favorite are opposition tricks!” In baton twirling she has always looked up to and been inspired by Caroline Carothers. After college she hopes to get into graduate school and earn her Masters. 
 

Fun Facts!
Favorite Color – White
Favorite Music Genre – soft pop music.
Favorite Movie – “That is really hard to pick but I think it would have to be Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”

Favorite Quote…
“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure” - from The Alchemist

When she is not twirling, she loves to... 
“Watch Netflix and spend time with my family and friends.”

Something people might not know about her is... 
“I played French Horn from 5th grade-11th grade.”

Best moment as a baton twirler…
“The best moment I have ever experienced as a baton twirler was a very recent interaction I had with some little kids after a football game. They were so excited and happy to hear about twirling and it just reminded me of why this sport is my absolute favorite!”

Funniest moment as a baton twirler…
“The funniest moments I have had as a baton twirler were during team practices because my teammates would always make the funniest jokes.”
 
Most memorable advice from her coach… 
“Mrs. Mickey once told me that the judges always want to see you succeed and that they are cheering you on as you perform. Any time that I get nervous I just think about that, and it helps instantly.”


The #1 non-twirling life skill she has learned from baton twirling…
“Twirling has taught me how to effectively and confidently communicate with adults, which is super important.”

Advice to future baton twirlers…
“The hardest part about trying out for college twirling positions is not knowing where you will end up, but I promise that you will end up in a place that is best for you!”

Best SDSU School Tradition…
“My favorite school tradition is Aztec Nights which are events the school puts on every Friday that go until 2 am most days!”

Best SDSU Band Tradition…
“My favorite band tradition is when the whole band runs onto the field at the beginning of our pre-game show.”

Advice for a twirler about to go into the college auditions…
“To trust the process, even if you feel hopeless, because it will all work out for the best in the end.”
 
We experienced some unprecedented circumstances last year. We wanted to know how Kaylynn kept her motivation up and what she learned from the situation. She told us, “I stayed motivated by looking into the future and setting goals for the next competition season! I did face challenges at the beginning of the pandemic because I wasn’t managing my time, but I learned that practicing for a few hours every day really brightened my mood! Also, the lesson I took away from COVID was that I need to appreciate the time I have with those around me”
 
We want to thank Kaylynn for sharing her Game Day with us and we loved learning more about her and her experiences. We are so proud of Kaylynn and what she is accomplishing and we know she will continue to grow the twirling presence at SDSU. Way to go Kaylynn, and GO AZTECS!!


Each season this blog likes to get to know many of our awesome Texas twirlers a little better by learning about their experiences. We will be meeting many HS twirlers on Fridays throughout the season with the Friday Night Lights Features and discovering more about our Texas Collegians with the Collegiate Twirler Spotlights during the week. We will also be having many of our HS and Collegiate twirlers take over our Social Media Story for their Game Days. Make sure to follow us on Instagram @twirlingiscatchingtx or at facebook.com/twirlingiscatchingtx so you don't miss a thing!

Friday, October 8, 2021

Friday Night Lights Feature - Joaquin High School Feature Twirler

Hello Texas Twirl Fans!

Another great Friday night is in the books! We love seeing those sparkling costumes and bright smiles on the fields all over Texas. I don't think that feeling will ever get old. It was great to see all the sparkles in this week's Instastory Takeover, and now we look forward to learning more about the Feature Twirler that shared her Game Day experience with us. 

This week’s Friday Night Lights Feature is the Joaquin High School Feature Twirler!


Joaquin High School, located in Joaquin, Texas, is the home of the Rams, and this week’s Friday Night Lights Feature – Avery Prnka! We asked Avery how she was named Feature Twirler… the first at JHS in 17 years! “We first have a teacher evaluation, interview with the panel of judges, then perform our routine.”

Marching season has become a favorite time of year for Avery, and as a senior, this is her last one with the Ram community. We wanted to know what her favorite part of marching season was, and she told us it is, “getting to showcase my drill every Friday night to a different crowd because there’s always someone new in the stands.”

We also asked what she will miss the most about being the Joaquin Feature Twirler when she graduates, and of course it was the supportive community. “I will definitely miss the feeling I get when I’m about to take the field and the crowds excitement.” 

Now that we have learned a little more about how she became the Feature, lets learn about Avery!

Avery Prnka,
Senior
Competition Level: Intermediate

Avery has been twirling for 8 years as a member of the Heart of Texas Twirlers and coached by Beth Maddox. The competition title she is the proudest of earning was SWTA Outstanding Performer, and her favorite field trick is a toss illusion. In baton twirling she has been most inspired by Caroline Carothers. After High School she plans to start the process to get her Real Estate License and then attend a school to get her Dental Hygienist degree.






Fun Facts!
Favorite Color – Pink
Favorite Music – Facing the Giants
Favorite Book – “Everything Always”
Favorite Quote - Philippians 1:6

Life Motto…
“Be the reason someone believes in the goodness of God.”

When she is not twirling she loves to…
“Spend time with my friends and family!”

Something people might not know about her is...

“I am obsessed with Disney World!!”


#1 non-twirling life skill she has learned from baton twirling…
“To persevere through anything you face, and to be your best no matter the circumstances.”

Most memorable advice from her coach…

“No matter the drops, the mistakes, or anything you face, that doesn’t define you, and if you aren’t having fun, nothing else matters.”

Advice to future twirlers…
“Stay focused and grounded in your ability to know you can do things. Don’t skip a day in the gym, but make practice fun and truly enjoy the talent you have!”

Favorite moment as a baton twirler…
“I would say my favorite moment as a baton twirler was the first night taking the field as the first feature twirler in 17 years at my school!”


Funniest memory as a baton twirler…
“Before my stadium got turf we had to twirl on a muddy field, and we would do our best not to slip.”
 
Best School Tradition…
“Homecoming! Our school has a parade, and we have a big homecoming court ceremony during pregame.”

Best Band Inside Joke…
“When I walk into the Band Hall or when we are about to start the drill at practice the whole band will look at me and say, ‘Is that Avery?’”
 
We experienced a very unprecedented year last year. We asked Avery how she stayed motivated for this year, and she told us she just kept going despite the circumstance. “I never stopped twirling and went to practice still. That’s where perseverance and hard work came in.” 


With all of the challenges the last year brought, we wanted to know what she learned from her experiences. “I learned that no matter what’s going on you can’t forget you’re capable of many things. I also learned to cherish every moment and performance, because you never know when something might happen, and it could be your last.”

This year has already been a banner year for Avery as she was nominated as the Homecoming Queen, and is getting to do many things she wasn’t able to do last year. “Covid affected last year by not allowing our band/twirlers to attend and perform at our of town games. This year we are completely back to normal and ready to cheer on our Rams! I’m so excited about having a full stadium and audience to perform for!”

We want to thank Avery for sharing her Game Day with us, and we wish her an amazing year. Go Rams!


Each season this blog likes to get to know many of our awesome Texas twirlers a little better by learning about their experiences. We will be meeting many HS twirlers on Fridays throughout the season with the Friday Night Lights Features and discovering more about our Texas Collegians with the Collegiate Twirler Spotlights during the week. We will also be having many of our HS and Collegiate twirlers take over our Social Media Story for their Game Days. Make sure to follow us on Instagram @twirlingiscatchingtx or at facebook.com/twirlingiscatchingtx so you don't miss a thing!

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

2021 Texas State Pageant Winners - Advanced Pageant

 Hello Texas Twirl Fans! 

We are only about seven weeks from starting the new competition season, and to put the cherry on the top of the 2021 season, we want to wrap up our series where we send our congrats to our 2021 Texas State Pageant Winners! Here is our final post where we are giving shout outs to the Advanced Winners, a.k.a the Miss Majorettes of Texas! Congrats to all of these talented twirlers on achieving this top accomplishment!

Today we will be recognizing the 2021 Miss Majorettes of Texas!



Maggie Barnett
College Miss Majorette of Texas 

Maggie is from Trophy Club, Texas, and is the current University of Connecticut Feature Twirler (Go Huskies!). She is a member of the JJ Texas Stars and is coached by Janice Jackson Seamands. 


Kaylynn Lambert
Senior Miss Majorette of Texas

Kaylynn is from The Woodlands, Texas, where she was The Woodlands High School Feature Twirler. This Fall she started her journey as a collegian as the Feature Twirler for San Diego State University. She is a member of the Mickey's Majorettes and is coached by Patti Mickey & Kayli Mickey-McIntosh.


Amber Sorenson
Junior Miss Majorette of Texas

Amber is from Round Rock, Texas, where she is the Feature Twirler at Stony Point High School, and the 2021-2022 Twirling to Fight Cancer High School Ambassador. She is a member of Twirl ATX and is coached by Ashley Wood as well as Whitney Coons, Lisa Lawson, and Erica Kuntz.


Jacie Conway
Pre-Teen Miss Majorette of Texas

Jacie is from Conroe, Texas. She is a member of the Mickey's Majorettes and is coached by Patti Mickey & Kayli Mickey-McIntosh.


Collyn Lambeck
Juvenile Miss Majorette of Texas

Collyn is from Stockdale, Texas. She is coached by Tori Mays and Catherine Watters.



CONGRATS TO ALL OUR TEXAS MISS MAJORETTES!


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. 

Monday, October 4, 2021

Friday Night Lights Feature - Frenship High School Feature Twirler

Hello Texas Twirl Fans!

Happy Friday Night Lights everyone! That first weekend in October is always the best with the changes in weather, and the football season really kicking in to high gear. It was great to follow along Friday with this twirler during her Instastory Takeover, even if her game did get rained out. We do hope to check back in with her later this season to allow her to finish her takeover, but for now, we can’t wait to learn more about her!

This week’s Friday Night Lights Feature is the Frenship High School Feature Twirler!


Frenship High School, located in Wolfforth, Texas, is the home of the Tigers, and today’s Featured Twirler, Taylor Tubbs! We asked Taylor what she had to do to earn her position and she told us about the audition process. “My school holds auditions for both the varsity and junior varsity lines on the same day. We showcase basic twirling fundamentals that are best suited for the line we are trying to make. After the fundamental portion is over, we perform our own choreographed routine. Once varsity and junior varsity lines are set in place, we hold feature twirler auditions on a football field where we perform a longer choreographed routine and answer a few questions about why we are interested in the position.”


Taylor is very happy to be able to be the Feature Twirler for her Senior year, especially after her Junior year wasn’t what it could have been. “Last year was my junior year of high school, which was a struggle in itself, but it was also difficult recovering from the pandemic. After schools shut down it was hard to adapt to a life that only happened in my house. I was fortunate enough to get a job and go to in person school in the fall of 2020, but it was a struggle to balance everything and adapt to new rules. I learned patience, how to learn quickly, and how to deal with the unexpected.”

Let’s take a few minutes and learn more about this super Senior and her twirling experiences!

Taylor Tubbs,
Senior
Competition Level: Beginner Solo/Intermediate X-Strut
Taylor has been twirling for 8 years and currently works with her private coach, Brittany Ashcraft, and her school line coach, Amanda Tolley. The competition title she is the proudest of was when she won her Show Twirl. Her favorite field trick is “anything rolls or two baton!” In baton twirling, she has been most inspired by “Caroline Carothers, Adaline Bebo, Michael Lopez, Cody Carter, Holly Glasgow, and many others.” After High School she would love to twirl at a University and eventually become a nurse practitioner. 




Fun Facts!
Favorite Color – Pink
Favorite Movie – “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”
Favorite Music – Indie Pop/Alternative. “My current favorite artist is the Artic Moneys.”

When she is not twirling she loves to…
“Spend time with friends and family, listen to music, and read.”

Something people might not know about her is…
“I’ve played piano since the 2nd grade.”

The #1 Non-Twirling Life Skill she has learned from baton twirling is…
“Be patient and refuse to let bad days get to you.”


The Most Memorable Advice from her Coach…
“To forget about any past drops or mess ups and to move on and live in the moment.”

Advice To Future Twirlers…
“Progress doesn’t happen overnight. If you keep a good practice schedule and a positive attitude you will start to feel progress happening! It’s the best feeling!”

Favorite memory as a baton twirler…
“My first performance as the feature twirler in the halftime show was a moment I will never forget. Hearing my name announced at the beginning of the show made me feel so accomplished in all of my hard work as a twirler both on the school line and competitively.”

Funniest memory as a baton twirler…
“One of my friends on the varsity line with me and I made a silly routine during rehearsal one day and could not stop laughing.”

 Best School Tradition…

“The Senior painted parking spots! I was so excited to get to paint my own parking spot this year!”

Best Band Tradition… 
“I love our annual band Olympics at the end of summer band as a member of the percussion section (when I’m not twirling)!”


Favorite thing about marching season…
“I love the energy of Friday night football games and how much of a family we have become because of it.”

What will you miss most when marching season is over…
“I will miss getting to twirl with the band every day at rehearsals and during football games.”
 
We experienced a very unprecedented year last year. We asked Taylor how she stayed motivated and ready for this year. “I was learning new routines during quarantine, and I would practice them in my driveway as much as I could. I competed at a few of the local contests once it was deemed safe to do so in the late winter and early spring.”
 
With all the changes over the last year, we asked Taylor what is different this year, and what she is most looking forward to. “Last year we started the football season very late and our whole band wasn’t able to go to every away game. We weren’t able to use uniforms or costumes and we couldn’t compete at State UIL because it was canceled. This year, we have new uniforms, a beautiful marching show, an entire football season full of our old traditions, and an overall normal year. After overcoming many hardships last year, I am extremely excited to be the feature twirler for my marching band this year!”

That is so exciting, and we are so happy to see Taylor performing on the field doing what she loves. We wish Taylor and the Frenship Marching Band a great rest of their season. Go Tigers!

Each season this blog likes to get to know many of our awesome Texas twirlers a little better by learning about their experiences. We will be meeting many HS twirlers on Fridays throughout the season with the Friday Night Lights Features and discovering more about our Texas Collegians with the Collegiate Twirler Spotlights during the week. We will also be having many of our HS and Collegiate twirlers take over our Social Media Story for their Game Days. Make sure to follow us on Instagram @twirlingiscatchingtx or at facebook.com/twirlingiscatchingtx so you don't miss a thing!

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Collegiate Twirler Spotlight - Texas Christian University Feature Twirlers

 Hello Texas Twirl Fans!

The last couple days of September are here, and we are ready for “Band-Tober” and all the fun that comes with a month full of marching band, football, and watching those collegiate twirlers rock it on Saturdays. We know today's featured twirlers did just that this past weekend and we loved following their Game Day experience on the Instastory Takeover. 

This week’s Collegiate Twirler Spotlight is the Texas Christian University Feature Twirlers!


Texas Christian University (also known as TCU), located in Fort Worth, Texas, is the home of the Horned Frogs, and a long history of amazing twirlers repping the purple and white. This includes the awesome Fall 2021 Feature Twirlers: KK Tunnell, Stephanie McBurnett, and Haylee Chiariello!

We asked these ladies what brought them to TCU, and for all of them it was a mix of the culture and academics. KK told us she loved the atmosphere. “It feels like everyone here is a family and the university really supports and cares for its students.” Haylee had a similar feeling, and felt it was a place she could continue to grow. “The campus is so beautiful, and I was offered incredible academic scholarships. When I visited, I knew I would have a unique perspective and role on campus.” 

While Stephanie also agreed with the campus being a very welcoming place, she also had a family connection that made her look further into whether the school would also be right for her, and it was! “I have loved TCU ever since my sister went here. When I got older and started to plan for my future, I realized they have one of the top business schools in the US, so that was also a major draw for me to come here.”


All three of these twirlers had an unusual experience being selected for their positions because their auditions were all in the middle of COVID shutdowns in spring 2020. Stephanie tells us the process was done virtually. “We submitted a video of uncut performances, an academic resume, twirling resume, and headshot & full body picture along with a cover letter expressing interest and why they should choose you.” It ended up working out for them because their videos were enough to earn them their spots as Feature Twirlers, a position that they get to hold for all four years.

Being a Feature Twirler and attending a Power 5 University is a great opportunity, and these twirlers definitely appreciate the experience. As Haylee tells us, being at TCU has been “such an exciting experience! I have loved getting to share my diverse perspective and represent my people in this sport!”

Now that we have learned more about what brought these three to TCU, let’s learn more about them!

KK Tunnell

KK is a sophomore from Rockwall, Texas, and is majoring in Movement Science and minoring in Religion. At TCU, in addition to being a Feature Twirler, she is in the PAC (a Bible study and discipleship group), on the Greet Team at Christ Chapel College, and a sister of the Gamma Phi Beta sorority. “I also go to Bingo every Thursday which is a lot of fun!” She has been twirling for 11 years with the Texas Touch of Class and is coached by Shirley Payne and Sheila Payne Rigelsky. The title she is the proudest of earning is the 2021 College Miss Majorette of the Southwest. Her favorite competition tricks are rolls, “especially back necks!”, and her favorite field trick is back neck rolls or toss walkovers. “The crowd gets excited by those tricks, and it is fun to see!” In baton twirling she has been most inspired by former UT Feature Twirler, Erica Kuntz. After college, KK plans to attend Chiropractic School and become a chiropractor. 

Stephanie McBurnett

Stephanie is a sophomore from San Antonio, Texas, and is Double Majoring in Finance and Accounting. At TCU, in addition to being a Feature Twirler, she is a sister of the Phi Mu sorority, a member of the Tau Beta Sigma Band Service Sorority, and in the John V. Roach Honors College. She has been twirling for 8 years and is currently a member of the Mickey’s Majorettes, where she is coached by Patti Mickey and Kayli Mickey-McIntosh. She is additionally coached by Tori Mays. The competition title she is the proudest of earning is the 2021 Senior Miss Majorette of the Southwest. Her favorite competition skills are “anything from my Collegiate Halftime routine,” and her favorite field trick is a toss leap into a floor roll. In baton twirling she has been most inspired by Rachel White who is a former Smithson Valley High School Twirler and former member of the Texas Tech Twirling line. After college, Stephanie wants to work her way up in the financial sector of business and, “hopefully one day be a CFO of a large corporation.”

Haylee Chiariello

Haylee is from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and is majoring in Native America Expression & Dance. At TCU, in addition to being a Feature Twirler, she is also a Native American Advisory Circle Student Representative, Race and Reconciliation Initiative Student Representative, Native and Indigenous Student Association Executive Secretary, on the Native & Indigenous People’s Day Committee, a Land Acknowledgment Presenter, member of the Pre-Law Society, and a sister in the Alpha Chi Omega sorority. She has been twirling for 17 years and is coached by Vicki Ray. The title she is the proudest of earning was when she was named Miss Mustang 2021 and went on the place in the Top 10 at Miss Oklahoma 2021. Her favorite competition skills are her rolls, “my roll section is my favorite!”, and her favorite field tricks are tumbling and rolls on the ground. In baton twirling she has been most inspired by many twirlers including DaNae Couch, Megan McGeary, Sarah Harris, Jennifer Horn, and Kelli Masters. After graduation, she plans to continue her education and earn a JD with an emphasis in Indigenous Peoples Law while also utilizing her dance education. “As Native people face many pressing health challenges, I understand the great importance of fitness and health and wellness programming in the Native community. I plan to incorporate dance and other artistic expressions (including twirling!) to promote wellness in Native populations.”

Fun Facts!
  • Favorite Color – “Purple, of course!” (KK & Stephanie)
  • Favorite Movie – Any Hallmark Christmas Movie (KK), “Anastasia” and “When Harry Met Sally” (Stephanie)
  • Favorite Animal – Monkeys (KK)
  • Favorite Things – “My faith is very important to me: I love Jesus and I am so grateful for His blessings! (And Diet Dr. Pepper is a must-have for me)!” (Haylee)

Favorite Quote… 

  • KK – “Never let anyone dull your sparkle!”
  • Stephanie – “Dream Big!”
  • Haylee – “The secret of our success is that we never, never give up!”, Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma Principal Chief Wilma P. Mankiller

When they are not twirling, they love to…
  • KK – “Hang out with my niece, Aspen. She is about to turn two and is the cutest thing ever! Also, I love hanging out with my friends and going to bingo!”
  • Stephanie – “Watch NCIS or Criminal Minds because I love shows where they solve cases. I also love my academics, so I am usually doing schoolwork when not twirling.”
  • Haylee – “Go for outdoor walks and work out in the gym!”

Something people might not know about them is…
  • KK – “I have a niece, Aspen, who is almost 2 and a nephew, Grey, who is 4 months. They are adorable, so fun, and bring us so much joy!”
  • Haylee – “I speak Cherokee!”

Best memory as a baton twirler…
  • KK – “I love getting to meet and talk to sweet little girls on game days. They love asking questions and seeing the sparkly costumes and I love sharing baton twirling with them!  I also loved going to Peru! It was such an amazing experience and I got to meet so many wonderful people!”
  • Stephanie – “When I placed 2nd at AYOP for the Senior Intermediate Pageant after having only been cleared from wrist surgery three weeks before the event!”
  • Haylee – “Incorporating Native dance into my Miss Oklahoma talent routine as a Top Ten finalist was so exciting and an incredible honor. Also, hearing my name announced for the first time during pregame on the field was thrilling!”

Funniest memory as a baton twirler…
  • KK – “When I was in high school my shoe came off during halftime. I was embarrassed at the time but think it’s funny now! I also love just the little things that happen at band practice like trying new tricks and epically failing or running away from bees that fly near us.”
  • Stephanie – “HAHA! At one of our games this season, I was warming up on the sidelines and my hands were super sweaty, and I made the mistake of practicing my swing section from my routine... My baton went flying and hit a cameraman's camera (THANKFULLY NO DAMAGE WAS DONE!!) but I was so scared for my life, and he was so nice about it and just laughed it off saying thankfully it was a baton and not one of the football players that hit him!”

 Most Memorable Advice from their Coaches…
  • KK – “It’s okay to be nervous because that means you care, but don’t let your nerves get the best of you.”
  • Stephanie – “The field is your time to have fun and show people how much you love baton!”
  • Haylee – “Vicki and I both have a dance background and she always tells me I have the look!”

The #1 non-twirling life skill they have learned from baton twirling…
  • KK – “I learned the value of hard work and determination. Twirling has taught me to always reach for my goals even when things get hard.”
  • Stephanie – “How to hold myself with confidence and be able to speak intelligently. This is especially useful I have found with interviews for organizations, internships, and various opportunities in college.”
  • Haylee – “Presentation skills! In any setting, I feel confident in my ability to connect with anyone because of the skills developed in twirling.”

Advice for future twirlers…
  • KK – “Don’t give up!! Twirling is a difficult sport. There may be days nothing is working and that’s okay. Push through those days and keep working hard to accomplish your dreams.”
  • Stephanie – “Time management is everything! Trust me, finding time to practice when you're living on your own in college is HARD! So, it's especially important to plan ahead and work it into your schedule and keep to your schedule you set for yourself. This is also true for your school work and finding times to study.”
  • Haylee – “I always tell my younger brother, Zane-Micah, when he competes that I am so proud of you and all you have done. Train and perform like an athlete.”

Best School Tradition…
  • KK – “Frog Walk! The football team arrives to the stadium on buses. The band plays while the Showgirls, cheerleaders, and football team walks into the stadium.”
  • Stephanie – “I love the Christmas tree lighting they do every year for Christmas. It brings the whole Fort Worth and TCU community together to share in the festivities. 
  • Haylee – “The Riff Ram Bah Zoo chant!”

Best Band Tradition or Inside Joke…
  • KK – “I can’t tell y’all the inside jokes or they wouldn’t be inside jokes…”
  • Stephanie – “My favorite band tradition/ inside joke is the 3rd quarter dirty dogs (hot dogs) we get! After performing all of pregame and halftime, we are so hungry, so a good old fashioned concession stand hot dog hits the spot.”

What advice would they give to a twirler about to go into college auditions… 
  • KK – “Have an open mind. It can be a stressful process but having an open mind will help take away some of the stress. You will end up where your supposed to be and fall in love with your school!”
  • Stephanie – “When you audition, all you can do is try your best and put it all out there when you perform. Once you do your job, it is out of your hands, and you should be proud of yourself for going out there and auditioning for a collegiate position. Also, have fun while you're doing all of this. It's so incredibly stressful that many girls forget to have fun!”
  • Haylee - "Just be you!"
 
We experienced a very unprecedented year last year. We asked them how they stayed motivated and prepared for this year even with the challenges, and Stephanie found that her most important tool was her coaches. “It was very hard to stay motivated, I will admit that. Luckily, I had coaches who were very encouraging and understanding, so we would do at least one zoom lesson a week, just so I would keep twirling. As I said before, time management is everything, and I really had to learn how to keep to the schedule I set for myself.” Haylee told us she used her future plans as her motivation. “As a Miss America local titleholder, I had specific goals for my preparation for Miss Oklahoma. Having a strong team supporting me was so encouraging! I learned the importance of flexibility and being able to adapt in any situation. Dates and locations may change, but I am always ready!”

KK also leaned on her support system to keep her going, and learned a lot about herself in the process. “I stayed motivated by practicing with friends and set fun goals for myself. It’s important to remember that’s twirling is supposed to be fun so challenge yourself, set goals, and come up with crazy and fun tricks. Going through freshman year in a pandemic taught me a lot and challenged me as well. However, through it I realized how important community is. My friends hold me accountable and love on me when I need it. I also learned that it’s the little things that are important. All the little things from last year became my favorite memories, and the little things turned into the big things like eating cookie dough with your roommate and going on Monday night walks with your friends.”

These twirlers were originally selected for the Fall 2020 season, but that season was not quite what they hoped it would be due to COVID. Stephanie told us about the adjustments made last year. “Last season, we were not allowed to perform pregame or halftime on the field. The band stayed in the stands with masks on and luckily, we were at least able to have one twirler at each game down on the sideline for pregame only." Thankfully, as KK told us, "this year everything is back to normal and I’m so grateful for it! I love getting to twirl on the field with the band and Stephanie and Haylee!”

Haylee shares in their excitement and is happy to be on the field just doing what she loves. “As features, we each have individual performances and individual costumes. We get to take the field with the band this year and it is so exciting to see it all come together! I can’t wait for all the Big XII games!”

We want to thank KK, Stephanie, and Haylee for sharing their Game Day and their experiences with us. We wish them an amazing rest of the season, and we know they will shine bright on that field. Go Frogs! 

Each season this blog likes to get to know many of our awesome Texas twirlers a little better by learning about their experiences. We will be meeting many HS twirlers on Fridays throughout the season with the Friday Night Lights Features and discovering more about our Texas Collegians with the Collegiate Twirler Spotlights during the week. We will also be having many of our HS and Collegiate twirlers take over our Social Media Story for their Game Days. Make sure to follow us on Instagram @twirlingiscatchingtx or at facebook.com/twirlingiscatchingtx so you don't miss a thing!