Airdrie Sky High Twirlers Brooke Mauro and Emily Lewall had some hardware around their necks, after winning bronze at the World Baton Twirling Competition on Aug. 4 in Turin, Italy.
Mauro and Lewall competed in the junior pair category, while Mauro performed in the junior freestyle.
“It was like everything I’ve ever dreamed of,” Mauro said about competing at worlds for the first time. “It’s very elite twirlers and it’s way more prestigious than the other [competitions I’ve twirled at]. It was really cool going.”
According to the girls’ coach Loren Dermody, their goal for the competition was to make it to the final round, and the team did not even have any expectation of medalling at first.
“To win the bronze medal was super exciting because we didn’t even think that was one of our goals,” Dermody said.
A baton twirling coach for over 30 years, Dermody said the Sky High Twirlers pair's first-round performance was “the best job they’ve ever done,” putting them in a positive position to challenge for the podium.
“Second round, they didn’t do as good, but still good enough to win the bronze medal,” she added.
Canada has not won a medal in the pairs division at the World Baton Twirling Championship in 15 years, according to Mauro, who said achieving the feat was surreal.
“It was really awesome to bring something home,” she added.
Mauro placed 12th in the freestyle category, a position she also feels proud of.
“I didn’t really have any expectations so [I did] better than I expected,” she said with a laugh.
To prepare for the world championships, Mauro and Lewall practiced five days a week for four to six hours a day.
“It was a lot, but it was worth it,” Mauro said.
To earn a spot at the world competition, Mauro and Lewall competed in a qualifier championship this May, which was held in Regina, Sask. The pair then moved on to the national championships in Moncton, N.B., before tackling worlds.
“Once you get [to worlds], there’s five days of training before you even get to the competition,” Dermody explained. “The competition was five days long.”
As additional adversity, Dermody said the worlds venue was not ideal and the Airdrie twirlers had to adjust to a hot arena with minimal lighting.
“There’s things that arise that you can never train for…I was really proud of them for adjusting to the different conditions, doing what they were trained to do, trusting their training, and being wonderful role models for all the athletes,” Dermody said.
Mauro is heading into her 10th year of baton twirling and has already completed her dream of competing at worlds.
“Now, I’m kind of re-evaluating what I want to do,” she said.
Mauro has her sights set on two competitions next year, in Liverpool, England, and is hoping to medal again in the future.