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Northeast Ohioans Compete at World Baton Twirling Championship

Posted at 6:14 AM, Aug 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-04 06:14:46-04

PAINESVILLE, Ohio  — Two Northeast Ohio natives are going for gold this weekend as they compete on Team USA in the World Baton Twirling Championships.

Erienne Hay and Mikayla Schuller are no strangers to the competition as they both have been participating in the sport for more than a decade.

Hay is from Painesville and is a senior at Riverside High School. She told News 5 that baton twirling runs in her family.

“I'm a third generation baton twirler,” said Hay. “My grandmother, who owns Showstoppers Baton Studio, started when she was just 13, and eventually had my mom and my aunt. And they were both really good twirlers. And once I was born, I immediately took up the baton.”

Schuller is from Willoughby and attends Florida State University. She says being able to compete at this level is a dream come true.

“I’ve been dreaming about this since I was 10. So the fact that it's happening is crazy,” said Schuller.

Both Hay and Schuller had to qualify for Team USA at the U.S. National Baton Twirling Championships in July. And since then, they’ve been perfecting their routines for their moments in the international spotlight.

“It's just a lot to be asked to do to make sure that not only are is our routine ready, but our body is ready and we're mentally prepared to go on that floor in front of multiple countries,” said Hay.

“We’re definitely going to be nervous because we want to do well, but also like very excited and happy because we made it this far,” said Schuller. “This is the big competition. It's almost like the Olympics for us. It's just a huge honor.”

Two hundred and fifty of the best baton twirlers from around the world will be taking part in the competition. Team USA will compete in men’s and women’s individual events, pair and team disciplines. Hay and Schuller will both compete in Junior Women’s Freestyle.

They told News 5 that the support they’ve received from family and friends in Northeast Ohio has helped them along this journey.

“Baton is such a hard sport to understand because it doesn't look like any other sport,” said Hay. “It's just as hard, if not harder. It all depends on how determined you are with the baton and how much you enjoy it.”

“Having that motivation or like knowing that there are people there supporting you just helps you continue doing what you love, “said Schuller.

The 35th World Baton Twirling Championship is taking place August 4-7, in Turin, Italy.