The ShowTwirlers of Altoona are packing their bags this week, with their sights set on another national championship.
More than 30 twirlers, their parents and coaches Pam and PJ Maierhofer will take off this weekend for America's Youth on Parade at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind.
The annual event, which is the National Baton Twirling Association's national championships, attracts hundreds of male and female twirlers from the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean. This year's competition runs from July 22 to 26.
Members of the ShowTwirlers of Altoona include (from left): first row — Reese Storm and Gianna Cestone; second row — Alexis Starr, Shayna Miller, Molly Sarra, Libby Sarra, Makala McCracken, Haley Aiken and Lily Pearl Koelle; third row — Gabby Heidler, Laura Kerns, Kayla Irvin, Shianne Graham, Bower Sarra, Daphne Curry, Brittany Frank and Rose McDaid; fourth row — Kaitlyn Millbauer, Alexis Selders, Kacie Emeigh, Brittany Dancha, Gabi Dancha, Courtney Detwiler, Mackenzie Detwiler, Kaylee Campagna, Saige Cestone, Marissa McCoy and Valerie Gulick. Brianna Colbert was absent when the photo was taken.
This will be the sixth year for the ShowTwirlers to compete in the team events. To date, every ShowTwirler team has placed in the top 10 at AYOP, with the group bringing home a national championship in 2009, 2011 and 2012.
As a sendoff to nationals, the ShowTwirlers will host their sixth annual Exhibition and Silent Auction at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the Adler Gym of Penn State Altoona.
The twirlers will present the team and solo routines they will perform at Notre Dame. The public is invited to attend, and admission is free.