(BASIL JOHN / THE STATESMAN)

Victoria Massey, above, twirled at the halftime show on Oct. 11 when the football team played the University of Maine Blackbears. (BASIL JOHN / THE STATESMAN)

 

While most college students are still asleep at 8 a.m., Victoria Massey is already awake and has been drilling for 45 minutes. She will be taking the floor soon.

Right before she makes her entrance, she and her teammates gather round with a stuffed animal, sometimes a cow named Milky.

“And we’ll just squeeze it before we go on and we’ll give our coach a hug,” Mossey said.

Then she walks on baton in hand.

This past summer, the senior Spanish and French major competed at the 2014 World Baton Twirling Championships.

Massey has been twirling since elementary school. The Selden native used to live upstate near Binghamton. She joined a dance school and said she  liked the relaxed atmosphere.

When she moved to Suffolk County, she joined another dance school. It was not so laid back there. Saying she did not like the experience would be an understatement.

“I used to cry every time I came home,” Massey explained.

She finished out the school year at her dance school and then joined her friends for a baton twirling class.

“I just fell in love with the sport,” she said.

After a few years of learning the basic skills, she started tossing and competing on a team.

Right now, Massey is in the off-season and she has more time to focus on her schoolwork.

She tries to budget her time, but managing her studies and her practice is not easy.

“I’ll try and go early in the morning so I can get a heard start to my day but it’s hard. It’s hard to juggle everything.”

When she is on the floor, Massey also works on her consistency. She knows how to throw a baton up in the air. But adding a high level move like a triple element or a triple illusion and still managing to catch the baton afterwards is tricky. She also said she has to work on her baton height to give her more time to catch it after her tricks.

“I’ve caught triple element tricks many times but to get it consistent and to do one of those tricks at the end of a two-minute routine, that takes a lot of stamina, energy.”

One event that Massey does not find so difficult is the “strut,” which is a solo performance where the twirler has to stay in step with the music.

“I find it just clicks for me,” Massey said.

When she is not studying or strutting, she hangs out with her teammates or coaching little kids at her coach’s studio.

She knows that like unlike her kids that she trains, her years of baton twirling are numbered. She is an accelerated degree program so she will graduate in 2016 with a master’s degree in education.

She wants to teach high school Spanish and French.

But there is still one piece of unfinished business.

“I’ve only gone to world championships as a team member and that’s a big deal too but I would really love to make it as a soloist,” she said.