Helena High School student represents Team USA in London twirling competition

Published 4:21 pm Wednesday, September 13, 2023

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By EMILY REED | Special to the Reporter

Helena High School student Maddie Randall spent two weeks in London, England this August representing Team USA in the Nation’s Cup/World Championship for twirling.

“The travel to England was really cool,” Randall said. “My dad was super awesome and bought us first class tickets for our flights. We landed in London on my 16th birthday. Luckily I had an awesome support system in the United States that helped do all of the online paperwork so that I could get my driver’s license and get my school parking permit.”

Randall spent the first two days of her journey sightseeing some of the popular attractions in London.

“Once we got to Liverpool, we had an opening Team USA party, but then it was down to business,” Randall said. “There was not much time to play in Liverpool with our practice and competition schedule, but we did eat some amazing food in the evenings while we were there.”

Randall twirls with Intrepid, a team based out of Tallahassee, Fla.

Intrepid was selected as Team USA for the team competition, which was from Aug. 4 to Aug. 14.

A third-generation twirler, Randall’s nana and her mom both twirled, Randall, who started twirling at the age of 6 said this was her first international world stage competition.

“The arena is huge and everywhere you look there are people from all over, speaking all different languages,” Randall said. “There were 19 countries represented at the competition. My divisions and pair’s division was huge. The first round-they only take the top 10 into finals. Once you compete, you just wait super impatiently for the results to post online so you know if you have moved on. The waiting game is the hardest.”

Randall described finding out that she had won the gold medal in pairs as a favorite memory from the trip.

“We knew we had a great performance, and were second going into finals, but with a different panel of judges you never know what is going to happen,” Randall said. “There were several other top pairs who had better performances in finals as well. We went out for awards holding hands, and as they ticked down from 10, our grips got tighter and tighter. When they called out fourth, we took a deep breath–we had medaled. But, then when they called our second, we actually held our breath. It was an amazing moment. Our teammates were there to celebrate with us and one of them got that moment on video.”

Something Randall has loved about twirling since she first started is the friendships and the ability to perform in front of crowds.

“I love the feeling of performing on Friday nights and showing my school spirit,” Randall said. “I have made an incredible number of friends that I would never have made without twirling in both in the states and internationally.”

Randall said preparing for the competition meant practicing at least two hours a day after school.

“I am really thankful for the guys at the Helena Sports Complex who put up with me when it is cold or raining outside,” Randall said. “They are really supportive.”

Randall said she also spent two weekends a month during the school year in Florida for team practice and then once school got out, she was gone.

“I spent a total of eight days at home this summer,” Randall said. “When we are at practice, it is 14 hour days. I do get to practice my individuals and pairs during that time as well, but it can be very intense, and hot–we twirl outside a lot because gyms are hard to come by.”

Currently, Randall enjoys her time as Helena Majorette where she is captain. She also plans to begin visiting colleges soon, and has already started preparing for her next competition season by starting to rework routines for the upcoming year.

“I want an individual medal, so I am setting my eyes on qualifying for the next Team USA,” Randall said. “I appreciate the support from my community and from my school so much. Mom and dad say it takes a village and I am grateful that I got this opportunity and that my community and my school, especially my band director, majorette sponsor, and school principal supported me living out this dream.”