UNION, NJ - Union High School is one of only eight schools in New Jersey that still has a baton twirling team.
Union High's senior competition team, along with several soloists, have attended competitions both at the state and national levels. Private clubs typically attend baton twirling competitions, and UHS twirlers have set a new precedent for public high schools’ attendance at the competitions.
Over the last two years, the senior competition team has won two state competitions, a feat never before accomplished by a high school team. Two soloists, Christiana Selby and Tiahna Selby, attended the Congressional National Cup in Maryland, another first for UHS, where they placed top four in several categories. Team members include Daniele Arrieta, Maria Asitimbay, Christina Selby, Alyssa Squillante and Anastasia Ristova.
For the past two years, the competition team has earned over eighty awards both as a team and as soloists. They have won three state championship titles. In April, the team received the Mayor's Award for the second year in a row and have been featured on Verizon Channel 1 News.
"It is extraordinary that a public high school team is able to perform at the competitive level,” said Twirling Coach Nicole Placca, “but the fact that they created a level playing field all season, and won against private organizations and more experienced dancers, is even something more to be proud of.
I am truly blessed to still be involved in a sport that did so much for me personally growing up.”
Placca said she is proud to run a program that teaches members with no prior experience and watch them grow into skillful, confident competitors and performers. “The twirlers have made quite a name for Union at private competitions and it is an absolute pleasure to watch their wonderful accomplishments in such a short amount of time,” said Placca.
“I give them a tremendous amount of credit for believing in themselves and for matching the skill level of more experienced twirlers at competitions,” continued Placca. “They are doing something truly unique and very special and it an honor to run this program."