National baton twirling champion joins Laker Marching Band
This fall, the Laker Marching Band will welcome a national champion as the ensemble's new feature baton twirler.
Carolyn Gregory began her twirling career when she moved from Florida to Michigan in 2005.
"When I moved to Michigan I saw my neighbor twirling in the street and told my mom that I wanted to try it," Gregory said.
After performing with the Walled Lake Northern High School majorette line throughout her high school career, Gregory won the 2016 Teen Miss Majorette of Michigan title.
During her 10 years of twirling, Gregory has also won numerous individual and team state and national titles, including a top 10 placement in the Miss Majorette of America Pageant, as well as the World Twirling Association's (WTA) Junior World Majorette Festival Queen, Junior Solo Champion and Miss High School Majorette Dance Twirl Champion.
Gregory's talents have even taken her abroad. In September of 2015, she was selected as one of 14 twirlers to perform at the Trujillo International Spring Festival held in Peru.
John Martin, director of athletic bands, said Gregory was chosen because of her proficient technical abilities, personality, poise, national competitor status and ability to act as an ambassador for Grand Valley, the Laker Marching Band and academic integrity.
"We chose Carolyn immediately after her audition because she completed a rigorous routine with grace, athleticism and a glowing personality," Martin said. "Even more impressive, she did her routine while a jackhammer was pounding away just outside of the gym, and she never dropped a baton or lost concentration."
Before beginning her career at Grand Valley, Gregory will compete this summer in the Twirling Unlimited Competition, and in the WTA and National Baton Twirling Association national competitions with her twirling team, the Twirl-M's.
She will also take private lessons from Grand Valley's previous award-winning twirler, Moriah Muscaro. The two have competed side-by-side with the Twirl-M's over the years and Muscaro's mother, Rhonda, is Gregory's coach.
Prior to graduating from Grand Valley, Muscaro created the Moriah Muscaro '15 Feature Twirler Scholarship, and Gregory was the first recipient of the scholarship.
"I feel very honored to be the first recipient," Gregory said. "Moriah envisioned and wanted to ensure that top twirlers sought out Grand Valley and there are very few twirling scholarships offered in the country — even some top Division I schools do not offer this kind of scholarship."
As the new Laker Marching Band feature twirler, Gregory hopes to bring passion and dedication to the field.
"Since I was 8 years old, it has been my dream to be a college feature twirler," Gregory said. "I am so excited to spend the next four years doing what I love at the school I love."
For more information about the Laker Marching Band, visit www.gvsu.edu/marchingband.