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UNITED: Twirlers bring home trophies

by CAITLIN SOPHIA WIGNEY-HARTZ, Gazette Student News Reporter on April 11, 2014 10:40 AM

ARMAGH — The United High School Twirlers attended their first competition of the season on March 8. They placed second and also won two other caption awards: marching and choreography and overall effect.

Brian Stutzman and Dessie Kernan, both ninth-grade students, are members of the Twirlers.

When asked what the Twirlers do, Kernan explained, “We basically practice for what they will judge on in the competitions and compete against other schools.”

Stutzman said that the competition they attended, which was the first of the season, went well.

“We got second place overall and two caption wins,” and, Kernan added, “We did well, and (it was) a lot of fun. Even before the competition we hung out and played games. It ended up being a lot less nerve-wracking than I thought.”

The competition’s overall theme was Teams on Fire, but Kernan said, “Each squad chooses their own individual theme. This year our theme was ‘Grease,’ which meant we all dressed up like Pink Ladies and Greasers. Our routine was marching and twirling, a little bit of everything; but my favorite part would be when Kelsey Henry and I flipped Ashley Aloi.”

Kernan also explained how competitive majorettes works.

“The judges look at how you march, facial expression, overall form, how the routine flows and if any mistakes are made,” she said.

“They then award points to those categories, and the highest-scoring team would be the winner.”

Stutzman and Kernan both gave their personal outlooks on the sport, as well. Stutzman said his personal goal is “to win the juggle off (where competitors juggle three batons individually) at the next competition.”

Kernan said she would like to accomplish “spinning two times on a baton.”

She also added that her favorite thing about the sport is “meeting new people and seeing their routines,” while Stutzman said he liked “seeing what other people come up with and hanging with friends.”

This is Stutzman’s and Kernan’s second year in the Twirlers, and, Kernan added, “I plan on doing this every year until I graduate; I love it.”

Henry, a 10th-grader, is the captain of the Twirlers. She said that her favorite part of being team captain is “the leadership experience. There are so many opportunities to learn about the leadership role and to help the members of the squad with their twirling and confidence.”

Henry said that the hardest part is “when conflict arises and being able to find a solution that satisfies everyone and is fair to the team.”

When asked how she thought the latest competition went, she answered, “really great. We showed the coaches and fans our United pride. Just because we are a small school going up against big ones doesn’t mean we can’t hold our own.”

The United Twirlers also competed on March 22 at Altoona, where they placed third; on March 29 at Penns Manor, where they placed third and won two caption awards for marching and choreography and general effect; and on Saturday at Blairsville, where the team closed out the season with another third-place finish.

The members of the Twirlers are Aloi, Juliet Davis, Samantha Hall, Henry, Kelly Hoover, Kernan, Jacinda Kingsbury, Marisa McCleary, Casey Moyer, Karly Reasor and Brian Stutzman.

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