Baton twirling with the UCM Marching Mules

Amanda Glenski, senior History and political science major, twirls at a Mules basketball game. Glenski has been twirling and throwing batons since she was 8 years old. (Photo submitted by Amanda Glenski)

It’s marching band season at the University of Central Missouri but marching band isn’t all percussion and brass instruments.  

Amanda Glenski, senior history and political science major, started her journey in baton twirling for the University of Central Missouri last season, but she’s been twirling since she was 8 years old. Glenski said her interest in twirling came from her mother.

“She twirled a little bit when she was a kid, and she always wanted us to do something unique and sparkly,” Glenski said. “She likes glitter and being the star of attention so my mom kind of pushed me to do it.”

When looking for twirlers, Shelby Stark, UCM twirling coordinator, said she looks for good technicals skills, great showmanship and someone with a “wow” factor. Stark said she also looks for students who have the drive and focus to get better and who can represent UCM.

“Amanda embodies those qualities and then some,” Stark said. “She is a great role model for twirling youth and she represents UCM with pride, poise and class.”

Glenski said she loves being out on the football field and performing. She said her first football game was exhilarating.

“During pre-game I have a feature when I’m the only one doing anything on the field, which is definitely nerve wracking,” Glenski said.

Holly Noneman, marching band drum major and senior music education major, said Glenski is one of the hardest working members of the band and always has a welcoming smile on her face.

“Every time we have a break in instruction, she is always working on her routine and is consistently pushing herself to get better,” Noneman said. 

In addition to twirling for UCM, Glenski coaches baton to elementary students. She said her proudest moment as a coach was when she was watching her students perform a group routine during the Missouri State Baton Competition and the Miss Majorette.

“We worked so hard, and we only had two competitions to do the routine at, and they performed it really, really well,” she said.

Glenski’s students performing their group routine at the Kansas State Competition. (Photo submitted by Amanda Glenski)


Glenski said she likes playing a part in helping her students grow as people.

“It takes hard work to twirl a baton and perseverance, and I like sharing that with all these kids.”

Glenski said getting the call for being the feature twirler for UCM was a big moment for her.

“When I got the call that I was the feature twirler, I was in Spanish class, and I actually took the call and just went out in the hallway, and I was shaking. I was so excited,” she said. 

Glenski said the tryouts consisted of a series of routines as well as an interview. 

While performing and being on the football field can be exciting, Glenski said constant practice definitely takes its toll; she not only practices with the marching band on Tuesdays and Thursdays, she works on her own three times a week.

“It takes a lot of practice to have a good routine, to get out all the drops,” Glenski said. 

Because of how big a commitment twirling can be, Glenski said she had trouble with her classes during her first year. But having a plan and making herself do her assignments has helped her with balancing  classes and twirling.

Glenski said twirling has also helped her come out of her shell and competitions have helped her with her interviewing skills.

“I’m a little more shy than you would think a twirler should be,” she said. 

Stark hopes Glenski continues to grow as a collegiate twirler.

“I want her to keep her competitive edge, to keep her skills up and to continue to represent UCM on the state, regional and national level,” she said.

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