Whitefield achieves goal of becoming a Texas Tech Twirler
GLEN ROSE — More than a decade ago, Laney Whitefield began dreaming of becoming a Texas Tech Twirler after she met twirler Amanda Tolley at the West Texas Twirling Championships in Odessa.
“I was fascinated by her every move and thought it was so cool how she was a college kid and was a feature twirler for my dream school,” Whitefield said. “I knew I wanted to be just like her and join a sisterhood like the Texas Tech Twirlers.”
A little friendship grew between the two, and they would connect whenever they ran across each other.
“Every contest, she would always take time to talk to me and take pictures with me,” Whitefield said. “She was always nice and would help me out with tricks and such, so I definitely felt like a cool kid.”
For the next 10 years, Whitefield continued to work and train with that end goal in mind.
She transferred to Glen Rose during junior high, and she asked the junior high band director if she could perform at pep rallies, and it continued to grow from there.
She eventually became the feature twirler for the Tiger Pride Band, and she has won two state UIL Solo and Ensemble gold medals. She qualified for state last year, but COVID-19 canceled the competition. She qualified for state this year, and it will be done virtually. She will submit her video next week.
“I have always felt that baton twirling is a way that I can express myself artistically,” she said. “It has also made me very disciplined. I have practiced three or four days a week for the last 12 years. There is no way to learn to juggle fire batons on a whim.
“Through competition, I have become a dynamic speaker due to the pageant and interview process required of competitive twirlers. Twirling has never left me without a challenge, I am always trying to learn new and more difficult tricks.”
On April 17, all her years of practice, performances and competitions came full circle when she tried out for the Twirlers in Lubbock.
“At auditions, we learned a group routine, performed the routine together and completed an interview,” she said. “Then, I performed a solo routine that I perfected for months before auditioning for the Texas Tech panel of judges.”
After the three-hour audition, all she could do was wait for a text telling her whether or not she’d made the team. While waiting, she was doing her hair and make-up for the Glen Rose High School prom later that night.
“When I got the text I yelled to everyone in the house that I had made the team,” she said.
At a private luncheon later that afternoon with the six other girls who made the team, the coaches discussed the expectations and rules, and then she signed her letter of intent.
“I worked so hard for this all year and it is truly a dream come true, and I haven’t stopped smiling,” she said.
At Tech football games, fans can see her on the south 40-yard line. In addition to football games and all the pregame festivities, the team will compete at National Baton Twirling Association contests in Texas, and next summer, they will compete at NBTA nationals at Notre Dame.
“If you would have told 6-year-old me who was taking lessons in a church foyer that I would be a Texas Tech Twirler, I would have screamed with excitement and told you 'no way',” said Whitefield, who plans to study nutrition on a pre-dental track with the hopes of becoming an orthodontist.
“I feel I still have work to do in order to better my skills, so I can inspire young twirlers who are just like me,” she said.