GV Baton Twirler joins TEAM USA for international championship


Courtesy / GVSU Laker Marching Band

Hailey Hentz, Staff Writer

Grand Valley State University’s Feature Twirler, student Emelia Adam, will be traveling to Liverpool, England to compete with Team USA at the Nations Cup for baton twirling.

Being Feature Twirler means that Adam performs routines at GVSU’s sporting events alongside the marching and pep bands to provide entertainment and school spirit. At games, she can be seen spinning her way through routines on the court or field. The act of baton twirling is a culmination of many facets and determination – it’s considered an art form in its own regard.

Adam began baton twirling at the age of 5 when she was inspired by twirlers at the Hamburger Festival, a local event in her hometown of Hamburg, Pennsylvania. Since then, she’s known that twirling is her calling.

From that moment on I knew I wanted to twirl,” Adam said. “I knew this was going to be my sport. 15 years later, I can proudly say it has been everything and more than that 5-year-old girl could have wanted.”

Growing up, Adam had two goals for her twirling: performing in college and making the World Team. Twirling is an integral part of the Laker Marching Band and serves as a means of entertainment for those in the crowd at events. Behind the routines, there is much dedication and work with the band.

In an interview with Reading Eagle, Adam said she began working with her current coaches Anna and Casey Bryant at age 7. She first competed with a team called the Class Act Twirlers for a few years, though she now only competes in individual events.

“Many people see me as the girl on the football field or the girl who throws the metal stick around,” Adam said. “And yes, I am that girl, but without the past 15 years of dedication to this sport I wouldn’t be in Lubbers Stadium performing for you all. Baton twirling has been a part of my life longer than I can remember and just like any other athlete here at GV I have been perfecting my talent each and every day.”

GVSU Director of Athletic Bands, John Martin, highlighted Adam’s artistic skill and the importance of her position of Feature Twirler in the marching band. 

“The art of baton twirling is demonstrated by the baton technique with body movement,” Martin said. “Emelia is both an artist and accomplished athlete in her field.”

In addition to twirling in the band at campus-sanctioned events, Adam participates in competitions across the country. Adam’s performances in state competitions led her to compete at Nationals where she was able to qualify for the Nations Cup. Adam made it into her age group’s top 10 highest scores, allowing her to be selected for the Nations Cup competition set for August in Liverpool, England.

“Getting invited to compete at the Nations Cup has been a whirlwind of emotions,” Adam said.

At the Nations Cup Adam will be competing in four individual events. She is practicing her twirling for Strut, Artistic Twirl, 2-baton and 3-baton. Scoring is based on many variables including routine content, choreography, technique, timing and presentation.

The Nations Cup is held by the International Baton Twirling Federation, a non-profit organization that aims to connect its member countries through twirling and advance the sport through new opportunities.

Earlier in the year, Adam traveled to Peru as a twirling ambassador representing the United States in October 2022. Some of her other achievements and awards include the 2022 AAU Collegiate Scholarship Award, the AAU Joel Ferrell Memorial Award, placing in the top 20 of the Senior Miss Majorette of America Pageant and she is a recipient of the Moriah Mascara Feature Twirler Scholarship from Grand Valley State University. 

The Nations Cup, however, will be Adam’s first international competition. 

Martin said Adam competing in Liverpool is a huge achievement for herself and the GVSU community. 

“We are very proud of Emelia and wish her the very best as she competes internationally,” Martin said. “She always represents GVSU, the Laker Marching Band, and all baton twirlers with professionalism, integrity, and pride!” 

Adam’s journey to compete in the Nations Cup inspires Lakers to be passionate about their endeavors and to have the determination to seek new opportunities. Above all, Adam emphasized the significance of enjoying the moment.

“Winning has never been the most important thing to me,” Adam said. “In 10 years, all the trophies, the metals, and sashes will just be memories hanging on my wall. But the memories that go along with those awards are the laughs, the friendships, the growth, that made me who I am.”