Stockton Hosts 550 Athletes For U.S. National Baton Twirling Championships, 7/7
If you think of baton twirlers as the majorettes of the 1950s and 60s, think again! Today's top twirlers are dedicated athletes who train like Olympians and perform amazing feats with one, two, three and even four batons, while using dance and gymnastics to add drama and excitement to their programs.
More than 500 of the nation's best baton twirlers will compete in the 56th Annual U.S. National Baton Twirling Championships, July 7-12, at the Stockton Arena in Stockton. The competition, which is sponsored by the United States Twirling Association (USTA) and Visit Stockton, runs from 8 a.m. to approximately 5 p.m. each day and is free and open to the public.
"Twirling is an aerobic sport that combines athleticism with artistry," said USTA President John Chamberlain. "A top twirler must develop many of the same skills as athletes in other sports, such as the speed of a sprinter, the hand-eye coordination of a hockey player, the technique of a ballet dancer and the flexibility and power of a gymnast. The National Championships will feature the nation's top sport baton twirlers and I know Stockton sports fans will enjoy seeing them in action."
During the championships, athletes will compete for national honors in individual and group events, including:
- Solo - an exciting event using one baton which is rolled, flipped and tossed around the body and through the air at great speed
- 2 Baton and 3 Baton - highly difficult events using two or three batons which must be kept moving at all times
- Strut and Dance Twirl - beautiful but demanding events combining twirling with dance and gymnastics
- Teams - the crowd will be on its feet as groups of twirlers perform synchronized twirling and challenging exchanges
The top national competitors will be featured in the National Championships Finals Show on Wednesday, July 9, at the Stockton Arena. The show is also free and open to the public.
The competitors include 185 athletes from California, including Alessandra Stone of Fresno, one of the members of Team USA, which will represent the United States in the World Baton Twirling Championships in Nottingham, England in August. At that competition, the best baton twirlers in the world will compete for Gold, Silver and Bronze medals in the twirling equivalent of the Olympic Games.