By Eilzabeth Coss and Jillian McIntosh
This August, two feature twirlers competed with Team USA in Liverpool, England in the first International Baton Twirling Federation Championships.
From Aug. 4 to 13, Brooklyn Bunish, a senior social work major, and Madeline Huff, a freshman forensic science major, both performed and placed in the Level A Nations Cup.
Bunish, who earned three gold medals throughout the competition in Twirling Core, Show Core and Artistic Twirl, said meeting people from around the world was exciting, despite her nerves.
“It was very nerve-wracking, especially right before you go on you have to stand in a waiting cell and you can’t really be next to your coach at all,” Bunish said. “It was a really good experience because I could talk to people I’ve never met and from different countries and I got to make a lot of friendships.”
This is Bunish’s last year of performing. She said she aspires to become a judge and coach after graduating.
“I’m going to switch over to get my judges’ license to give back to the sport that’s given me a lot,” Bunish said. “I understand what they’re going through, so if they don’t have a perfect routine, I still know what needs to be in there, what I can help with and what comments I need to give back.”
Straight out of high school, Huff traveled with Bunish to the IBTF Championships and Nations Cup and placed 8th in the X-Strut competition.
“It’s like a dance routine but with a baton — but you don’t toss the baton at all, which is really different than other routines,” Huff said. “Knowing that I was able to place 8th, I know that I can push myself harder and come out on top next time.”
During the individual events, the pair each competed against around 50 other twirlers. Huff has been twirling competitively since she was 6 years old and twirled in high school before coming to Youngstown State University.
Huff said she’s excited to experience twirling on the collegiate level and the change of pace.
“I’m very excited because I’ve never experienced the college experience … I’ve only twirled on the high school field, so it’s a lot different than college,” Huff said.
Bunish and Huff will perform at every home football game this season alongside The Marching Pride and will also be traveling to The Ohio State University on Sept. 9.