Teen twirls her way to gold in Belgium

May 10, 2009|By JANET HEIM

BIG POOL -- For 10 of her 14 years, Briana Rohrer of Big Pool has been twirling a baton.

That talent earned her a chance to compete in the National Baton Twirling Association World Championships in April in Ghent, Belgium.

She and her duet partner, Kaitlyn Boyer of Glenwood, Md., won the gold for their category. There were about 130 twirlers representing the United States at the event, as well as competitors from 21 countries.

Twirlers had to qualify at the nationals at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana to earn a competitive spot at the world championships. Briana was one of 13 twirlers from The Dynamics who went to Belgium for worlds.


"It was really different than being on the floor for nationals, having every country watching you on the floor by yourself," Briana said of her first overseas trip.

That pressure worked in Briana's and Kaitlyn's favor.

"It was probably the best performance we've ever done," Briana said. "Everyone told us they'd never seen us twirl that well together before."

Briana said the United States won in 33 of the 36 categories, a reflection of how much more advanced twirling is in the U.S.

Her mother, Penny Rohrer, went with Briana, with travel expenses paid by the individual families. Briana's father Rod, and younger brother, Brady, stayed home.

Their 10-day trip revolved around a 2 1/2-minute routine, but allowed for a two-day visit to Germany and travel to Bruges, Belgium. Briana said she enjoyed meeting people from all over the world and seeing how other people live.

"Through twirling, she's gotten to meet people she would have never met. I think it's been a great opportunity," Penny Rohrer said.

World Championships are held every three years. Briana has her sights set on the next one, which will be in Switzerland in 2012, her senior year of high school.

A freshman at Clear Spring High School, Briana will attend the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts next year for dance. She said dance will enhance her twirling routines.

Briana started twirling and dancing with Washington County Show Kids when she was 4, then joined The Dynamics in Laurel, Md., when she was 11.

She had been taking dance lessons at 24/7 Dance Studio in Hagerstown, but took a break this year to prepare for the national twirling competition. This year's schedule consisted of twice-weekly practices with The Dynamics and individual twirling instruction with a coach in Rockville, Md., three times a week.

Briana said she hopes someday to be on a dance line or maybe twirl in college. For now, she's eagerly awaiting the start of the new school year in the fall.

She said she's looking forward to going to school where the students share her interest in the arts. Briana also said she thinks the smaller classes will help her push herself academically.

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