Aidyn Mentry twirls her way through competitions

Celina Ng

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Throughout high school, many students participate in various extracurricular activities such as clubs, sports, music, and art. These activities give students the opportunity to learn new skills and meet new people who share the same interests as them.
Freshman Aidyn Mentry is the feature baton twirler who performs at pep rallies and school football games. She was inspired to start twirling when she saw a baton twirler on the beach in Emerald Isle, North Carolina. Mentry got a baton, but she didn’t start lessons until a few years later. In second grade, she received a flyer about joining a twirling group, which led to a lifelong passion.
She was a part of the Florettes team until eighth grade. Currently, she’s on two teams within the Royalettes, and she takes lessons from several coaches in Chesterfield County. Mentry loves being a part of the Royalettes for many reasons.
“I have only been in the Royalettes for a year, but one thing that I can say is that it has truly changed my life. They are like a family to me. Some of my best friends are Royalettes, and my coaches are like parents. Everyone is so close and so supportive. I love being on different teams and working with different groups of Royalettes,” Mentry said.
She dedicates many hours per week towards the sport. Every Monday and Thursday, she takes lessons. On Mondays, she practices for a few certain events with a private coach before doing team training. On Thursdays, she has Team Night. Practice typically lasts about two and a half hours. She practices almost daily at American Family Fitness or her house. Mentry also goes to dance on Tuesdays to improve her bodywork for certain routines and events.
When she was in eighth grade, she talked to the retired Student Activities Director, Mr. Clyde Metzger, about performing at two football games. In addition to performing at another two games this year, she has been given the opportunity to perform at pep rallies for the entire school.
According to Mentry, she won’t ever perform a routine without doing it close to 50 times with the music and catching every single trick. Her favorite school performance was her Senior Night one, which involved twirling fire. With the fire performance, she had to make a routine and perform it without fire hundreds of times before adding the fire.
“Fire was definitely the hardest trick to learn. You have to keep the batons in constant motion, which is very different compared to my usual routines. In a regular routine, there are many built-in pauses and poses where the baton is still. However, that can’t happen with fire because the flames grow very high, and the twirler risks injury,” Mentry said.
Since Mentry is a daredevil, she loves performing difficult tricks with high risk. She thinks the batons are fun to catch, and she enjoys hearing a crowd go wild after she successfully performs a trick. She loves twirling with fire, and it isn’t that scary to her anymore because she has done it countless times. Although her fire twirling trick entertained the audience, it involved many risks.
“The most nerve-racking part of the fire twirling, other than spinning flames on a metal rod in front of hundreds, was the final trick. It was a toss walkover with fire. I had to place the baton at a safe angle, so that if it came down just right, which it did, it would land just barely in my hand and nowhere near the audience or my body,” Mentry said.
In addition, she represents the school at competitions for individual twirling and high school feature twirlers. Mentry went to nationals at Notre Dame this year and was on the national level competition team. After winning in Virginia, she got to represent the state with the Royalettes and compete as an individual. In her division, she won a National Two Baton title against about 70 girls.
“One way that I would describe my nationals experience this year was surprising. It was my first time at a national competition, so I went into it completely blind. I was just getting comfortable with the usual crowd of about 200 people at a regular competition in Virginia. On top of many new competitors, I saw many new styles of twirling, tricks, and very unique costumes,” Mentry said.
She has won many other awards throughout her few years of competing. These include 16 state championship titles in several events including Super X, Showtwirl, Solo, Two Baton, and various team championships. Some of her proudest titles are Miss Majorette of Virginia in her division and age, as well as third overall in the Miss Majorette of America Pageant. Pageant in baton is considered to be all-around based on an average of several events and an interview.
In the future, she hopes to continue being a twirler in college.
“I have several colleges that I would love to attend. A few of the colleges that I want to go to are University of Georgia, UVA, and many other ones with a good marketing program and a twirling position in the band. I really want to go to a big school in the South with a huge football program. Many schools have special traditions that involve their twirlers, which seems so fun to me,” Mentry said.
Even though baton twirling requires a great deal of commitment, the sport has given Mentry many benefits such as lifelong friends, lasting memories, and the ability to perform various tricks in front of an audience.

Aidyn Mentry twirls her way through competitions