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Regina to play host to Canadian Baton Twirling Trials

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Regina will host the Canadian Baton Twirling “Team Trials” to determine who will represent as Team Canada at the World Baton Twirling Championships.

“It’s very cool. Not necessarily a bonus but it is to not have to travel. They’re at home and in their comfort zone,” said Maureen Johnson, the director and coach at Sundown Optimist Baton Group.

But the athletes do feel there is a bit of an advantage to playing host to the championships.

“There definitely is a home town advantage because when you’re twirling you have to look at the lights, the poles, and the ceiling. So Sask. Baton let’s us practice there [where the championships will be held] every week. We definitely use that to our advantage so we know exactly where on the floor we can do our big tricks without the lights or any poles getting in the way,” Julee Stewart explained.

Stewart is the reigning world silver medalist in the individual event and has competed at the World Championships ten times.

This year she’s seeking her eleventh championship event.

“I think the nerves have died down a little bit which is nice. I still get very excited because each year my routine grows. This year my routine is very different from the one I did in 2022 to receive that silver medal in the women’s event. I took on a completely different style so we’re showcasing this brand new routine and we’ll kind of see what I can do with it,” Stewart shared.

Another brand new element to this year’s Canadian event is the formation of the “Trans-Canada Team” which features athletes from across the country as one cohesive team that have been working together this past year in hopes to represent in the team event at Worlds.

“Eight girls have been selected from different provinces. So they get together and they’ve had several practices here which has been helpful and it’s very exciting they have a high level team from Canada as opposed to a club team from a provincial where members are all from that province,” Johnson shared.

Stewart and her two local teammates, Elise Miller and Annabelle Porter are also members of the Trans-Canada team that will compete.

“I really love the Trans-Canada team because all of the girls who are on it have become some of my best friends this year. And it’s super cool because usually you don’t have friends from like four other different provinces but we’ve all become so close and it’s so awesome,” Miller shared.

“It’s quite exciting. I’ve made a lot of new friends from other provinces. We don’t get to see them much but when we do they’re quite nice to work with,” Porter added.

All three have competed at the World Championships before but are looking forward to a competition at home to showcase their talents to the local crowd.

“I love when my friends and family and just people from Regina come out to support. It’s so fun showing my routine, my individual and my team event to people who maybe won’t be able to see it on the regular,” Stewart said.

“It’s really cool when people who’ve seen me twirl before, watching twirling because they don’t realize what goes into routines. Sometimes they don’t understand the tricks and how difficult everything is,” Miller shared.

“It’s definitely a lot of good twirling. There’s going to be people from all over Canada and you’ll get to see a bunch of different styles and a bunch of different routines,” Porter said.

The event is set to take place at the University of Regina from March 8 to March 10.

The World Baton Twirling Championships are scheduled for August in Helsingborg, Sweden.

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