Griffith shines at nationals, Junior Olympics

Meadowbrook High School junior Jacob Griffith has had a spectacular summer as one of the nation’s premier male baton twirlers. In July, Jacob took a gold medal at the U.S. Nationals at Notre Dame and followed that up with a silver medal in the Junior Olympics held at the Convention Center in Virginia Beach in early August. In both competitions, Griffith took gold medal honors with partner Audrey Johnston in the duet division. Audrey is the featured twirler at the University of Virginia.

Griffith has been twirling since age 5, picking up basic skills from his aunt, Gail Shoemaker. Jacob now works under coach Gail Gunnels and the Royalette Baton Corps. Her twirling program, which includes some 55 people of all ages, practices at Bailey Bridge Middle School.

Jacob explains that there are few opportunities to compete against other guys, but that “guys tend to be stronger and the throws are higher and more spectacular.” He mentions Joel Claudio out of the University of Puerto Rico as one of his role models, as well as one of his best friends in the sport. Two of Jacob’s teammates include Victoria and Brittany Maiden. The twins are the reigning Miss Chesterfield and Miss Mechanicsville.

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