Duda sisters, Ally and Alexis, will be defending their titles at the next world championships


courtesy of Adam Anderson

Ally Duda mid-performance.

by Catie Jo Tansey, Reporter

Sophomore Ally Duda, and her sister, Alexis, 2016 graduate, are living the dream as world champion baton twirlers. Last summer, both of them traveled to Norway to compete in the world championship. They left the competition as first place champions with enormous trophies. They will be defending their titles at the next world championship in August 2018.

These incredible sisters have been baton twirling for their entire lives. Growing up with a mother that coaches baton twirling, they were practically born with batons in their hands.

Juli Duda, mother of the sisters, used to be a baton twirler herself. She competed nationally, but during the time she was a twirler, the sport did not have a world championship event. Over time, the sport has gained widespread popularity allowing these girls to compete all over the world.

To get to this point, the Duda sisters practice at least six times a week in Germantown. They compete with the Wheaton Dance and Twirl team. To become eligible for worlds, they needed to take top three in their age groups at the national championship. Last summer at the national championship in Indiana, Ally Duda qualified for worlds.

Ally Duda has competed in worlds four times, but has never taken home gold before. However, this year at worlds, Duda took first in the solo division, took third in strut, and took first in the junior twirl team division.  Her sister, Alexis Duda also took first in solo, and senior twirl team.

Winning worlds was an amazing experience for these girls, but they also gained important life experiences too. Ally Duda´s favorite part of going to worlds is meeting people from all over the world and getting to talk with them

Ally Duda says, ¨I love seeing everyone’s routines at worlds. It’s a lot of pressure but it is fun at the same time. I especially like watching the French routines because I took French 1-4 and am in French Honor Society. ¨

The Duda sister´s mother, Juli, also feels that watching her girls compete is spectacular.  She feels fortunate that they have gained so many life experiences along the way.

Juli Duda said, ¨It´s not just about competing, it’s about the adventure. WE love traveling and seeing new places. ¨

To be at the level they are at, they have had to make sacrifices. With traveling across the world, often times they have to miss school or other events. In addition to the expense of traveling, which can be up to twenty five hundred dollars a person for each time they travel internationally, the sport is also very expensive. One costume can cost as much as one thousand dollars. However, they don’t feel as if they have had to give anything up for the sport.

Juli Duda said, ¨It’s prioritizing. Like, Ally might not get a car for her sixteenth birthday because worlds is this summer. But, I wouldn’t say we have ever had to give anything up.¨

The entire Duda family revolves around baton twirling, but they wouldn’t have it any other way. These girls are amazing talented and prove it every time they perform.

Juli Duda said, ¨Having daughters this talented is crazy, psycho even, but it has been an incredible journey. Watching my daughters make connections with people all over the world is insane.¨