ETSU Feature Twirler advances to ‘Elite 8’ in virtual collegiate competition

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JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – Lexi Maust said she has been twirling for 15 years. Her hard work and dedication to the sport are what helped land her a scholarship to continue twirling at ETSU, only this time as the Feature Twirler.

Maust is a sophomore at East Tennessee State University and when she’s not working on schoolwork, she spends a great deal of her time practicing. However, with no football to be played this semester and an unfortunate lack of halftime performances, her practice time now serves a new purpose.

As Feature Twirler, Maust has the honor of representing her team in competitions. She said in a regular year, there are regional, state, and even national competitions, but this year, COVID has changed things.

For the first time ever, a virtual twirling competition is being held and so far, Maust has done a great job in terms of advancing. What started as 64 twirlers from collegiate establishments across the United States is now down to 8 finalists with even more competition to be held.

While it’s a different experience having a virtual competition, Maust welcomes the opportunity with open arms. “Obviously, since everything is moved to virtual, it’s a little hard but it’s still an amazing opportunity that I and all my other fellow competitors are able to represent our universities in this competition,” said Maust.

Those who work with Maust every day see it as no surprise that she’s made it this far. “I personally may be biased but I think that we have the best-feature twirler in not only the state of Tennessee but also nationally,” said ETSU Majorette Coordinator, Candice Mitchell.

ETSU Director of Athletic Bands, Joe Moore, told News Channel 11’s Kelly Grosfield that he believes she has what it takes to go all the way.

“They can see she is passionate about what she does and that translates through her twirling and through her performances. She is a star and she needs to keep doing what she’s been doing,” said Moore.

Her initial submission video was sent in back in the first week of October and ever since then, she’s practiced around the clock, hoping to ‘wow’ the judges and to move on to the finals.

“Every twirler puts in the hours and the hard work and it’s really just time management on being able to practice and be on the competition floor,” said Maust.

Maust said it’s an honor to represent ETSU, and win or lose, she’s proud of how far she has come.

The competition continued Tuesday night with judges making the decision to advance Lexi to the Elite 8.

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