Marie Kershaw Baton

Marie Kershaw twirls in front of Northark’s fountain during the World Baton Twirling Day event.

Graduating from middle school this month, Marie Kershaw is the 13-year-old daughter of the new Dean of Health Professions at North Arkansas College. She is a four-time AAU Jr. Olympic Champion in the Juvenile and Jr. divisions, winning the All-Around title and additional gold medals in solo and multi-baton events. Before COVID-19, she performed as the feature twirler for the men’s and women’s basketball game half-times at Northark’s Pioneer Pavilion. Her latest regional competition was the March 7 Tennessee Memorial contest where

she received a scholarship for winning the preteen division’s All-Around championship, coming in first in solo, two-baton, strut, and artistic twirl. Marie has been twirling for 7 years. She is the 2020 DMA Pre-Teen Majorette Queen of America and the 2019 WTA Pre-Teen World Majorette Festival Queen. Her recent national titles include 2019 DMA Petite Miss Majorette of the Year and 2018 Miss Mid-Continent Majorette. Marie is also the 2019 USTA State Champion for Solo, Strut, and Artistic Twirl and the DMA Miss Majorette of Ohio. She was the Juvenile Intermediate Pageant Winner at the NBTA America’s Youth on Parade and she is the youngest twirler to qualify for the USTA Jr. Elite U.S. Pre-Trials in the initial year of the Jr. Women’s short program and freestyle routine. Additionally, Marie enjoys ballet and gymnastics, spending time with her family, going to church, and reading. She is an avid bird watcher and loves sketching animals. She aspires to compete internationally and to be a world champion twirler.

“With four older brothers, Marie is highly motivated and pushes herself harder than her coaches do,” said dad, Steve Kershaw. “She loves competing, and making new friends at competitions. The contestants are like a family: they’re competitive but still support one another. She also loves sharing the sport with other people. She carries her batons everywhere.”

Marie is exceptionally talented, and she encourages other young people to begin the sport and build their skills as she did.“It’s a great sport for boys and girls which involves strength, coordination, concentration, discipline, self-confidence, composure and agility. Those are only some of the skills you’ll learn while twirling.”

The theme of the international 2020 World Baton Twirling Day event was to showcase your Country Colors. Held on April 10, hundreds of participants around the globe performed twirling routines virtually in celebration of the sport of baton twirling. Marie’s routine was performed at the Northark Fountain with the American flag and Arkansas flag in the background. Marie’s full routine may be viewed in the following link https://youtu.be/IqtURRKngcE.

It conveys hope and courage for the future, despite the postponed contests and social distancing caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Marie’s ending pose portrays the baton symbolism that we are “Apart But Together” during this time of social distancing. In the meantime, Marie is helping in a different contest – the battle against the coronavirus – by making face shields for the health care workers on the front line. She also participated in the inaugural AAU Twirl Off the Virus event which was completed on April 30. Marie hopes that sporting events will reopen so that athletes can compete in this year’s AAU Jr. Olympics to be held in Virginia Beach, Virgina in late July to early August.

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