Studio X-Treme students take twirling talents to AAU Junior Olympics
Many, if not most, children typically spend their summers at the pool or watching television on the couch, but two twirlers from Studio X-Treme in Russellville spent 10 hours in the studio this past week and countless hours at home practicing to compete in the AAU Junior Olympics.
Russellville 7-year-old Elizabeth Davis and Hamilton 15-year-old Macie Bishop traveled Saturday to Greensboro, N.C., to compete from July 29-31 in competitive baton twirling.
“These girls are a huge testament to what hard work can do,” said Studio X-Treme owner Heather Davis. “When people see them, it makes them want to join in and see what they can do.”
Macie competes in the beginner age 13-15 category in parade strut, one baton, multiple baton, freestyle, basic strut and military strut.
Elizabeth competes in the novice category in basic strut and one baton solo and is bumped up a level to beginner in freestyle because of the difficulty level of her routine.
Macie’s routine is to the music “What’s My Name?” from the movie “Descendants,” and Elizabeth competes to “I Want Candy” from the movie “Hop.”
Davis said local businesses sponsored the girls and funded the entire cost of the trip. The girls will wear the sponsor’s names on the back of their outfits at competition.
“Everyone has been really supportive and has just rallied behind us,” Macie said.
Macie and Elizabeth are the only girls competing at the Junior Olympics from this area, with the closest competitor coming from Huntsville.
Davis said the girls will compete for college scholarships and will have the chance to have their trip to the Junior Olympics funded for another year if they choose to compete again.
This is Studio X-Treme’s first year competing at the Junior Olympics, so Davis said she does not know what to expect other than a large competition pool.
“We are going in expecting nothing, so anything they do is a win – and even just being there and competing at such a big competition says a lot,” Davis said.
Six girls from Studio X-Treme qualified in February to compete at the Junior Olympics, but four girls were unable to attend because of band camp. Davis said this is the third year her studio competed at qualifiers, but this year, they went in with a different mindset.
“This year was really the first that we went into this with the mindset that we were going to qualify for the Junior Olympics, and it turned out pretty well for us, so hopefully we will continue to qualify,” Davis said.
Davis said she has students qualify last year, but her studio did not travel to the Junior Olympics because of band camp obligations and because last year the event was in Ohio.
Davis said the girls also qualified to compete at the AYOP Twirling Championships but did not attend because it was the week before the AAU Junior Olympics, but the girls are considering attending both if they qualify next year.
Macie and Elizabeth both average four hours a week rehearsing in the studio, Davis added, but rehearse twice that amount outside of the studio.
Macie said she works hard because her goal is to be a featured twirler for an SEC school, such as Mississippi State.
Elizabeth is currently the reigning Alabama State Athlete of the Year in youth 13 and under and will hold this title until the end of August.
The Junior Olympics will end today, and the girls will drive back from North Carolina Friday.