Saline Twirlettes Return to Competition and Bring Home Many Medals and Trophies
The Saline Twirlettes National Team had 18 young ladies compete at the Michigan State Championships and the Miss Majorette Pageant May 15-16 at Walled Lake Northern High School. This year the competitions were back-to-back due to the postponement of the State Championships from November 2020. The postponement, along with the challenges of training while under COVID-19 mitigation strategies and restrictions, did not stop these young ladies from making great achievements. This talented and determined group definitely made their comeback greater than the setbacks they’ve faced since March 2020.
The Michigan State Championships are composed of single events as well as team events where twirlers compete for individual event titles. The Miss Majorette of Michigan Pageant contestants compete to win an all-around title where events of modeling/interview, strutting and solo are combined to determine the overall winners. Twirlers compete in their age group, Tiny Tot, Juvenile, Preteen, Junior, and Senior, and according to their skill level that has been determined by their total number of first place wins. There is a Collegiate division as well that is designated for those who have been given the honor to twirl for the college or university they are attending. The terms Champion and Miss Majorette are reserved for those who compete at the Advanced level while the remaining skill levels, Novice/Basic Skills, Beginner, and Intermediate are considered title holders and pageant winners.
The Twirlettes' top winners from these two contests, pictured from left to right, are Maggie Smith, a Milan Middle School seventh grader, and Alexis Figueras, a Saline High School sophomore. Maggie was crowned Preteen Miss Majorette of Michigan and won the Preteen State Solo, Rhythmic, and Modeling Championship titles. In addition, Maggie also captured the Intermediate State Strut and Beginner State 3-Baton Solo titles and placed second in Intermediate State 2-Baton. Alexis Figueras won the Junior State Strut Championship and the Rhythmic State Championship titles while placing 4th in the Miss Majorette of Michigan Pageant. She also took 3rd in both the State Solo and State 2-Baton Solo Championships while placing 5th in the State Modeling Championship. Both ladies were awarded traveling trophies to add their names to to commemorate their highest honors.
Zoë Dotts-Brown, who will be a Michigan Twirler this fall, won Collegiate Miss Majorette of Michigan royalty. While in the Senior division she also placed 3rd in the Solo, 2-Baton, and 3-Baton Championships and took 4th in the State Strut Championships. Hartland High School sophomore Katrina Grace placed 2nd in the Junior State Modeling Championship as well as 4th in both the State Solo and State 2-Baton Championships while placing 6th in the State Strut Championships and in the Miss Majorette of Michigan Pageant.
In the Intermediate division Erin Huetteman, a Saline High School freshman, won the Junior Intermediate pageant and brought home the Intermediate State Solo and both the Beginner 2-Baton and 3-Baton titles while placing 4th in the State Modeling and 5th in the State Strutting Championships. Her sister Jenna Huetteman, a Saline High School sophomore, placed 2nd in the Senior Intermediate pageant and captured both the Intermediate State Solo and Strut titles as well as the Beginner State 3-Baton title. She also placed 2nd in Intermediate 2-Baton and 3rd in the Intermediate Modeling category. Elly LeCursi, a Saline High School sophomore, won the Junior Intermediate State Strut title and placed 2nd in the State Modeling Championships. She also placed 2nd in the Intermediate pageant as well as in the State Solo category. Aubrey Bukosky, Milan High School junior won the Senior Intermediate 2-Baton title and placed 2nd in both the Intermediate State Solo and Strutting categories while coming in 4th in the Senior Intermediate pageant.
L to R, back row: Karissa Tandy, Erin Huetteman, Zoë Dotts-Brown, Jenna Huetteman, Rylee Schlaud, Alexis Figueras, Maggie Smith
L to R, middle row: Caroline Cotner, Aubrey Bukosky, Laila Frye, Kaylie Clore, Elly LeCursi, Alex Ley
L to R, front row: Mary Inniger, Kaitlin McKenzie, Leah Bersuder, Kristina Diss, Emily Inniger
Not pictured: Katrina Grace
Equally much success was awarded to those in the Beginner division. Kaylie Clore, a Howell High School freshman, won the Junior Beginner pageant and captured the Beginner State Solo, Strut, and Modeling titles while placing 3rd in the Beginner State 2-Baton category. Emily Inniger, a homeschooled fourth grader, won the Juvenile Beginner pageant and took the Beginner State Solo and 2-Baton titles as well as the Novice State Strut title. She also captured the Show Twirl title while placing 2nd in the Beginner Modeling category. Her sister Mary, a homeschooled first grader, won the Tiny Tot Beginner pageant and captured the Intermediate State Model title along with both the Beginner State Solo and 2-Baton titles. She also took the Show Twirl title as well as the Novice State Strut title. Laila Frye, a Milan Middle School 7th grader, brought home the titles for Beginner State Strut and Modeling. She also took 2nd in both the Beginner Pageant and in Beginner State 2-Baton while placing 4th in Beginner State Solo.
There were also many awards captured by twirling newcomers in the Novice/Basic Skills division. Caroline Cotner, a Saline Heritage Elementary fourth grader won the Juvenile Basic Skills pageant and also took the titles of Juvenile Beginner Modeling and Novice State Solo in addition to placing second in both of the Juvenile Beginner 2-Baton and Novice State Strut categories. Karissa Tandy, a Saline Middle School sixth grader, captured the Preteen Novice State Solo title, placed 2nd in the Basic Skills pageant, and placed 3rd in the Novice State Strut category. She also took 8th in Beginner State 2-Baton and 9th in Beginner State Modeling. Leah Bersuder, a Saline Heritage Elementary fourth grader, placed 3rd in both Juvenile Novice State Solo and Strut. Kaitlin Mckenzie, a Grass Lake George Long Elementary fourth grader, captured 3rd in the Juvenile Basic Skills pageant while taking 4th in Novice State Strut. She also placed 6th in both Beginner State Modeling and Novice State Solo. Kristina Diss, a Saline Middle School 6th grader, placed 4th in Juvenile Novice State Strut and 5th in Open Beginner Basic Marching.
Not only did the Twirlettes National Team compete in individual events, members of the team also competed in a dance twirl themed SuperHERoes. The SuperHERoes Dance Twirl Team also won the State title in their category of Junior Large Dance Twirl with members Aubrey Bukosky (Captain America), Kaylie Clore (Wonder Woman), Laila Frye (Black Panther), Erin Huetteman (Batman), Jenna Huetteman (Superman), Elly LeCursi (Iron Man), Emily Inniger (Aquaman), Alex Ley (Elastagirl), Maggie Smith (Spider-Man), and Izzie Strozeski (Incredible Hulk).
It was a day to remember for members of the Saline Twirlettes World Team who also provided an exhibition performance that delighted all in attendance. This team is continuing to prepare to compete in the Netherlands in July 2022 after the event had been postponed twice, in 2020 and now in 2021. Their spot on Team USA was earned in 2019 at the National Baton Twirling Association’s Grand National Team Competition and they remain committed to represent the USA next summer. Members of the World Team who also competed at the State Championships and Miss Majorette of Michigan Pageant are Victoria Dierks and Rylee Schlaud. Victoria, a recent GVSU graduate and feature twirler, won Collegiate Miss Majorette royalty and captured 2nd in the Senior State 2 Baton Championships while placing 3rd in the State Strut Championships. Rylee, a Davidson High School sophomore, took 2nd in both the Junior State Solo and 2 Baton State Championships while placing 4th in the State Strut Championships and 5th in the Miss Majorette of Michigan Pageant. Team member Lexi Peats, a recent graduate from Perrysburg High School located in Ohio, also competed in individual events designated for out of state visitors.
"Great job ladies and good luck this summer!" said Twirlettes coach Susan Usher.
Saline Twirlettes National Team is pictured atop the article. They are, in back, Erin Huetteman, Katrina Grace, Aubrey Bukosky, Maggie Smith, Alexis Figueras, Jenna Huetteman, Izzie Strozeski, and Laila Frye; in the middle row, Kristina Diss, Karissa Tandy, Alex Ley, Emily Inniger, and Elly LeCursi; in front, Kaitlin McKenzie, Leah Bersuder, Mary Innerger and Caroline Cotner. Not pictured are Zoë Dotts-Brown, Kaylie Clore.