An Eastern Illinois University student earned the distinction as the 13th top baton twirler throughout the nation this summer.
Nicola Colucy, a sophomore kinesiology and sports studies major and Bolingbrook native, competed at the 45thannual America’s Youth on Parade national baton twirling competition at University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind.
The competition required Colucy to compete in different categories of baton twirling, which is an activity that requires the use of a metal rod or rods in organized dance routines. Representatives from almost every state — 1,500 competitors in all — were present at the competition.
Colucy competed in the X-strut category, which focused on her flexibility and dancing ability; the solo category, which focused on difficulty and tricks with the baton; and the modeling category, which focused on her overall presentation and interviewing skills.
While Colucy placed as the top 13th in the nation overall, she placed in the top 10 in the X-strut and solo categories of the competition, which is an achievement among other national competitors.
Colucy serves as the EIU Panther Marching Band’s baton twirler during the school year, the first baton twirler at EIU in more than 20 years. She has also been recognized as the 2014 Intermediate Miss Majorette of Illinois, the Illinois State Champion and the Midwest Regional Champion in the National Baton Twirling Championships.
“The competition gives me more confidence to go back to O’Brien Stadium (EIU’s football stadium), but I still need to work harder to keep up my skills,” Colucy said.
She represented EIU Panther Marching Band in the national competition, by competing with more than 70 college feature twirlers in the “down the field” competition. “They got a taste of what I do on the field,” Colucy said.
Her passion for twirling, an obscure yet challenging sport, began back in preschool. She remembers a friend’s mom commenting on her natural talent at twirling.
Since discovering her talent, Colucy has twirled ever since, taking lessons and performing with marching bands. She continues to perform with the Panther Marching Band, and one day plans to teach baton twirling to further the growth of the sport. For more information about the Panther Marching Band, click here.