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This article was published 22/9/2017 (1360 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
For competitive baton twirlers, the sport is in their blood. Just ask Jessica Pososki.
"I literally was born into it," Pososki, 22, said.
As a child, her mother ran Cathy’s Crew dance and baton studio out of the Oxford Heights Community Centre. As a teenager, Pososki branched out and eventually found herself twirling with Aerial Fusion Baton in East Kildonan.
"I’ve been there over 10 years now," Pososki said.
In 2011, Pososki got her first taste of international competition. In 2015, she competed in one event at the World Baton International Cup. This year, she qualified for four events at the World Baton Twirling International Cup, held in Porec, Croatia in August.
"I was very nervous, like anyone would be, but it was such an eye opener," Pososki said. "Being able to represent my country for all four events, I was very thankful."
Pososki made the finals for all four events, finishing first in the Adult Level B artistic pairs with teammate Rhaychelle Tan, and second in Adult Level B solo and three baton competitions. She also placed fourth in artistic twirl.
"Internationally, walking into the gym it’s such a fulfilled feeling of excitement that I’ve never found with anything else," Pososki said. "When you see the fans and other twirlers with the same passion you have, that keeps me in to it."
Leading up to the competition, Pososki juggled work, training, and practice, sometimes pulling 16-hour days to get it all in.
"I was twirling five times a week, hitting the gym six times a week, working two or three jobs," she said. "I’d be keeping the baton in my back pocket. If you want to do competitive, the more you touch your baton the better."
Aerial Fusion’s Laura Tymchyshyn finished fourth in Level A Artistic Pairs with Yonatan Orlov, while Caitlyn De Jong got her first taste of international competition. Coaches Leisha Strachan and Jane Tan accompanied the athletes to Croatia.
"It was super exciting," said Tammy De Jong, a coach at Aerial Fusion who accompanied her daughter Caitlyn to the International Cup competition.
Both Pososki and De Jong are big believers in baton twirling as both a sport, and as a community.
"It’s part of the family, really," said De Jong, who is a lifelong twirler herself. "Once a twirler, always a twirler. It’s very unique, and all us coaches are passionate about the sport."
Aerial Fusion’s recreational baton program runs Tuesday nights at Salisbury Morse Place School (795 Prince Rupert Ave.) from October to December, and again from January through April. A recital is held at the end of each year.
"The kids are a lot of fun," De Jong said. "They really enjoy it. They get excited when they learn a new trick."
With the next World Baton Twirling International Cup taking place in France in 2019, Pososki said she is certainly interested in competing again, but unsure just what the future holds.
"In Canada, I’m one of the older athletes. I have to start thinking of a career," Pososki said. "But when you go to international competitions, there are still twirlers late 20s and early 30s still competing. You can still balance it, but you have to find that happy medium that works for you. There are endless possibilities."
For more information on Aerial Fusion Baton’s recreational program, www.leaguelineup.com/welcome.asp?url=afbaton
The Herald community journalist
Sheldon Birnie is the reporter/photographer for The Herald. The author of Missing Like Teeth: An Oral History of Winnipeg Underground Rock (1990-2001), his writing has appeared in journals and online platforms across Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. A husband and father of two young children, Sheldon enjoys playing guitar and rec hockey when he can find the time. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org Call him at 204-697-7112