by: Simon Fuller, The Lance
A number of baton twirlers from southeast Winnipeg have already made their mark at the provincial level this season.
The 2019 International Cup Qualifier event, which was hosted by the Manitoba Baton Twirling Sportive Association, was held recently at the University of Manitoba Investors Group Athletic Centre, and Team Canada was selected from a pool of 90 athletes from six provinces.
Officials say 11 athletes from Manitoba were successful in making the Canadian contingent, which will compete at the International Cup event in Limoges, France in August. A number of the 11 Manitobans set to travel to Europe later this summer are involved with the Greendell Baton and Dance program. The list includes coach Dana Peteleski; Madison Reynolds; Sydney Reynolds; Speranza Albensi; Gabby Albensi; and Meghan Stanger.
Peteleski, who is head coach of Team Toba and head coach of Greendell Baton and Dance, is excited about the upcoming tournament in France.
"It’s very exciting," said Peteleski, who lives in St. Vital. "We’ve still got a lot of work to do before heading over there, but we’re hoping to make it into the Top 10."
Peteleski said a number of Manitoba twirlers will also be competing at the upcoming Canadian Championships, which will be held in July, making it a busy summer for the athletes and coaches.
Noting the twirlers typically practise several days a week in the run-up to an event, Peteleski said the nationals will give the team valuable experience before heading to France.
"It’s a good chance to get in front of the judges, and we’re really looking forward to representing the city, the province, and the nation."
Madison Reynolds, 18, is also looking forward to representing Canada in France.
"It’s been a lifelong goal of mine, so it’s an amazing feeling," said Reynolds, who lives in Southdale, and is a member of Greendell Baton and Dance.
"I know it’s definitely going to be challenging, and I know what’s up ahead, but I have a little bit of confidence in myself."
Laura Tymchyshyn, 19, said she has learned to channel her nerves leading up to an international competition.
"I am always a nervous wreck leading up to these international competitions, but this stress helps me train hard and efficiently," said Tymchyshyn, who lives in Southdale, and is a member of Aerial Fusion.
"It’s such an honour to be heading to France as part of Team Canada to begin with, so I’m trying not to let the nerves and pressure get to me, and to just enjoy the experience to the fullest."
"The initial qualifier competition was to compete for our spots on the contingent, but when in France it will be the time to put on a show and perform our hearts out, all while doing the sport we all love the most," she added, noting her thankfulness for the opportunity to represent Canada, and her gratitude to everyone that has helped her along the way.
To help support the athletes travelling to Regina and France, organizers a holding a vendor and garage sale fundraiser on Sat., June 22 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Greendell Park Community Centre (75 Woodlawn Ave.). The event will include a hotdog and bake sale, and the athletes will also be on hand to teach baton.