Airdrie baton veteran preparing for world championships
By: Lucas Punkari
| Posted: Thursday, Jul 03, 2014 02:48 pm
As she took part in the 2014 Canadian Baton Championships this week in Calgary, Airdrie Sky High Twirlers competitor Sara Black found herself at a bit of a crossroads.
Not only was the 18 year old looking to win her fourth straight Grand National title, but Black was also wondering if this year’s nationals will be her last for awhile.
“I’ve applied for the geology program at the University of Calgary for this fall, and I’m not really sure at this point how my studies will interfere with my competitive schedule,” Black said. “There’s going to be an International Cup event in British Columbia next year, and there’s a few athletes I know that are wanting to come back for that, but I really don’t know at this point if I will be able to do that.”
“Since I’m not sure what my future holds, that gives me a lot of extra motivation to do well here at the nationals and at the World Championships in Nottingham, England in August,” she added.
Black, who is from Airdrie and graduated from WG Murdoch in June, has been competing in baton events since she was five years old, and is now one of the best competitors in the country in the solo, two baton, three baton and freestyle categories.
“My mom (Debra) did baton when she was younger and she got me into it, but I don’t think I ever expected it to end up like this,” Black said. “I never really stop learning different things about baton, and that’s why I enjoy it.”
“To have her compete at international events and be a multi-time national winner is a great thing for us as a club,” Airdrie Sky High Twirlers Head Coach Loren Dermody added. “Sara really gives our younger competitors someone to look up to and admire to be like.”
This year’s national championships, which started on June 28 and wrapped up on July 3, was different for Black, as she moved up into the 18 and over division after being the top competitor in the 15 to 17 age group.
“There’s a few new faces, but a lot of the competitors here when I represent Alberta are ones that I’ve seen over the years, so it’s not that much of a change in that sense,” Black said.
“I still have those nerves though before any competition, as everyone in this category is very close together,” she added.
As she prepares for the World Championships, which will run from Aug. 4 to 10 in Nottingham, England, Black is hoping to be more consistent in order to place well against the top competitors in the world.
“It’s really all a mental game at this point, as I’ve practiced for so long now that the technique is pretty much down,” Black said.
“One round I can have a really bad routine, but then the next round can go really well,” she added. “I have to make sure that I have the same high level every time I compete, so I don’t have those bad scores.”