A group of Salina twirlers are among the best in the world. After qualifying at a national competition last summer on the campus of the University of Notre Dame, 14 twirlers from Shannon’s Stars journeyed with Team USA earlier this month to the twirling world championship competition in Liverpool, England, and came home with gold medals around their necks.
Coach Shannon Meis tells KSAL News it’s the first time ever twirlers from Salina, and for that matter from the state of Kansas, qualified for the world championships.
The Salina team qualified at the National Baton Twirling Association championships at the University of Notre Dame last summer. The Salina twirlers earned their spot on the USA Twirling Team by winning the Junior Show Twirl Corp event, as well as the National Artistry Award. Additionally, twirler Callan Hall individually represented Team USA in the discipline of three-baton competition.
Leading up the event in England, from August of 2022 to July of 2023, the team had a lot of work to do. Along with perfecting their routine, they worked hard at fundraising to help pay for the overseas trip. They did things like gift wrapping, restaurant nights, working at concession stands, hosting a golf tournament, hosting garage sales, and meeting with potential donors and sponsors to help fund the trip.
As a coach, Meis had numerous Zoom meetings for rule education, and team preparation. There were many hours of practice, competitions, and local performances.
Prior to leaving for England, the team was part of a community sendoff event. They performed their World routine, and Callan performed her three-baton routine at a reception.
The International Baton Twirling Federation World Championships are considered the Olympics of Baton Twirling. The competition is held every three years. It was held earlier this month in Liverpoool, England.
There were 21 countries competing. Team USA was comprised of 256 of the best twirlers in the country, including the 14 from Salina. Shannon’s Stars were the only Junior Show Twirl Accessory Corp named to represent the USA in World Competition. Their mission was to create, perfect, and perform a four-minute routine meeting content criteria while utilizing props, developing a story line, and exhibiting baton twirling excellence.
After participating in opening ceremonies on August 9th, Shannon’s Stars competed as a team on August 10th. The team performed well, qualifying for the finals. Callan also qualified for the finals in her individual event.
In the finals, Callan placed 6th overall, finishing as the highest ranked USA three-baton twirler in the junior age division.
In the team finals, Shannon’s Stars continued to outperform the competition, and won the world championship! The girls from Salina won the gold for Team USA. Croatia finished with the silver medal, and Norway won the bronze medal.
According to Meis it was very emotional and an “extreme honor hearing our national anthem played after being awarded the medals on the podium.”
Meis says she is extremely proud of all of the girls. And she adds that she is grateful to everyone who helped support the team, because without them the trip might not have been possible.
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Photos, Video via Shannon Meis
ONLINE: Shannon’s Stars
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