5 questions with Jade McVay

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One 11-year old girl represented Placer County when competing against the whole country in a challenging competition filled with upper-body strength and elegance. Jade McVay, who will be attending Granite Oaks Middle School in the fall, has competed in baton twirling ever since she was 8. Placing first in most of her events, McVay made her family proud and hopes to continue her passion for baton twirling. 1. How did your interest in baton twirling begin? Do you hope to continue baton twirling in the future? “I’ve been twirling for as long as I can remember. I started with an after school class when I was in kindergarten. Then, I joined a competitive team when I was 7 years old. I started competing as an individual when I was 8 years old. I only perform individually right now. I have twirled on a team (Acceleration Baton), but all of my teammates graduated last year. I like to do both. On a team, there are people to cheer you on, but when you’re alone, it’s all on your shoulders. I (will) continue to take lessons and compete. I also help coach the Rocklin Rec Baton classes that just started through the city of Rocklin in 2009. I think that coaching people who are interested in baton will be an extracurricular activity for me. I’m still hoping to be president of the United States – my mom says I can use this talent on Leno.” 2. Was the California State Baton Twirling Competition your first baton twirling competition? If not, what were some others? “I’ve gone to lots of competitions. This is the fourth California State competition I’ve competed as an individual. I have been to three U.S. Western Regional competitions and plan to go the Western Regional competition in late June. I have been to the U.S. National Twirl Competition two times and plan to go again this July.” 3. What was your most memorable competition and why? “My most memorable competition was my first U.S. National competition in Daytona Beach, Fla. I placed second in my age division for Solo and first in intermediate Solo. The arena was huge and there were thousands of people watching and camera crews on the floor. It was nerve-wracking and exciting.” 4. Do you have a coach and how often do you practice? “I do have a coach – her name is Corey Kinyon-Cruz. She co-coaches one of the U.S. Twirling teams that compete for the United States at the world level. She herself was a national and world baton champion. I work with her once a week. Depending on the time of year and the upcoming competitions, I practice on my own one to five times a week at Breen Park when the weather is good. When the weather is bad, I practice in a racquetball court. It’s hard to find gym space with high enough ceilings for all of my tricks.” 5. What are some perks and pitfalls that come with baton twirling? “The perks are the friends you make, feeling of accomplishment, hand-eye coordination, plus the pretty costumes. The pitfalls are the bruises, blisters and tired feet.” ~ Ilaf Esuf, Special to The Placer Herald