UVa’s Baton Twirlers Shine on Gamedays

Published: Dec. 23, 2022 at 4:34 PM EST
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - If you went to any of the UVA home football games this past season, you probably saw the festivities before the game and at halftime. In addition to the band, it features two baton twirlers, Madison Salber and Gia Singh.

Salber is from Omaha, and Singh is from Richmond. Both are first years at UVA, and they’re living out their dream. Both started twirling when they were young kids.

“Actually, it was my sister who started twirling the baton. She tried this little summer class, and I went to every one of her practices, I just fell in love with it, I just loved how high they tossed it,” Salber said.

During halftime at Scott Stadium, Singh performed as a 7-year-old with the older girls.

“I realized in elementary school when I got into performing in plays, ‘wow I’d like to pursue performing in college just like I am right now,’” Singh said.

The two girls devoted their lives to baton twirling, pouring in hours of practice for this moment.

“College twiring is something young girls dream of ever since they start twirling. Being able to live out this dream is amazing,” Salber said.

“When I was little this was the dreaming moment of becoming a college feature twirler. Especially when I was little I could only see myself at this school,” Singh said.

They make it look easy and routine. So easy that at halftime they twirl fire.

“It is a little scary at first, I do tell myself pretend that maybe it’s not on fire,” Salber said.

“I definitely have been burned and caught it on the end, because you kind of pretend it’s not on fire,” Singh said.

But the girls are flawless on gameday. Their coach is Brittany Kellaway, who twirled at UVA a decade ago with her twin sister.

“This is what twirlers work towards for their whole lives. This is the last step in their twirling careers,” Coach Kellaway said. “With there only being around ten thousand twirlers in the United States, it’s definitely impactful when a twirler decides to come to the University of Virginia.”

With thousands of people watching, the baton is thrown way up into the air and the girls don’t miss a beat.

“I’m already doing something I love and to get a scholarship to do something I love is just like the cherry on top. I would do this without any scholarship, I enjoy this so much,” Singh said.

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