AMHERST — Baton twirling may be a family talent, but an Amherst teen has taken it to a new level, competing internationally against adults.
Madison Eis competed in the U.S. Twirling Association’s championship for the first time in 2011 when she was 13. Held in Jacksonville, Fla., she was competing against the top twirlers in the world. At 15, she took to the world stage to compete in the National Baton Twirling Association championship in the Netherlands.
She recently traveled to Gettysburg, Pa., for the Congressional Cup, an invitation-only competition.
And she has won the state championship three years in a row.
While Madison’s grandmother was a majorette for Oberlin High School, and Madison’s mother, Melissa Eis, also was a high school majorette, they have nothing on her.
“I was nothing like Madison,” Melissa Eis admitted. “I was nowhere near her level.
“She gives up a lot. She’s in the gym every day. When she gets invited to a sleepover or to go here or go there, she makes the decision to practice on her own.”
Madison practices one to two hours a day, every day all year long. During competition season, which runs January through August, she competes at least twice a month. Those summer months also bring parades, between 10 and 15 typically. In the fall, Madison picks up her baton again as a majorette with the Marion L. Steele High School marching band. She competes for her high school in November and December, and then it’s back to competition season.
“It’s my favorite thing to do,” Madison said.
It would have to be in order to keep up with such a grueling schedule.
Madison, who also is featured twirler with the Deputies Baton, Drum, Flag Corps in Elyria, teaches younger children tricks and routines as well.
“She has grown and blossomed into quite the little performing machine,” said Michael Harris, director of Fusion Competitive Twirling in Amherst and Madison’s coach. “She’s all about getting high scores from the judges. She wants to be a perfectionist with her routine. She’s not really worried about the other twirlers. She’s passionate about her own performance and tricks.”
Madison has been with Harris for nine years. She is his first student to win three cups at the state contest, a feat no one has been able to accomplish since Harris did it himself.
Even when she isn’t twirling, she’s thinking about it.
“When I’m not doing anything, I’ll twirl my pencil in my fingers and think about my routine,” she said.
In July, she will try out in California for the International Cup, which will be in Canada in August 2015.
When this high school sophomore goes off to college, she hopes to continue twirling in a majorette line, perhaps for Florida State or Clemson universities.
But her overall goal is to be rated in the top five in the world.
She is well on her way.
“When she started, she was very shy,” Melissa Eis said. “She did not want much attention. She always wanted to be on the inside of the line. The more she worked at it, the more confident she became. Now, she is in front of the whole parade group. It has been a big self-confidence booster.”
Madison’s dad, Bob Eis, is general sales manager of Impressions Custom Design in Lorain and a varsity volleyball coach and assistant varsity girls basketball coach at Vermilion High School. He also coaches a travel softball team.
Contact Christina Jolliffe at 329-7155 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 2014: Grand champion in solo, two-baton and dance twirl
- 2013: Dance twirl and two-baton champion
- 2012: Solo champion
- 2011: Dance twirl and two-baton champion
- Member of the U.S. Baton Twirling Association, competing in Amsterdam, Holland, August 2013; placed ninth in two-baton
USTA National Competition
- 2013: Age division finalist, placing second in solo and two-baton and fourth in dance twirl
- 2012: Elite junior silver medalist in freestyle twirl, where the competitor twirls, with artistic expression to her own selection of music — the highest level of competition there is for a twirler
- Twirl Mania’s High School Classic silver medalist competing against other majorettes throughout the U.S. Congressional Cup invitee two years in a row
- Twirl Mania International Gold invitee for five years