Meet Miami’s Feature Twirler Lianna McDonald


Lianna McDonald is a sophomore education major and has been one of Miami’s feature twirlers since her freshman year. Lianna has traveled and performed with the marching band at every game for the past two years, however, twirling and competitions are nothing new for Lianna, she has been twirling for 10 years.


HerCampus: At what age did you start twirling?


Lianna McDonald: I was 10 when I first started twirling.


HC: What is it like preparing for tryouts? What is the actual process of trying out like?


LM: For me personally, because this is my third time trying out, it’s not very stressful. Self-discipline has helped me a lot to prepare for every tryout, because it’s up to you to prepare for your routine. When the day comes, it’s all on you and your coach isn’t there to help you. It’s really just about taking the time out of your day to go to the gym and practice your routine.  For Miami, the tryout has been different the past two years for me. Usually, you walk in and have an hour to warm up. Then I do my routine, it’ about 3 minutes long and the routine has to have one, two, and three baton. Last there is a 10 minute interview. They mainly ask about how long have you been twirling or how did you get involved. Then you wait to hear the results for a week or two. Last year was different because I just had to send in a video of me doing my routine.


HC: How is twirling in college different from twirling in high school?


LM: It’s much more relaxed, that’s for sure. Megan, my coach, is super chill because she was a twirler at Miami previously, so she knows the general procedure. The pressure is lifted. It’s easier, not necessarily in a bad way, but definitely not as much stress because everyone is so easy going.


HC: What is your favorite part about being feature twirler?


LM: I feel like I’m more confident because of it. The crowds I twirl for are really big, like when we went to the Cincinnati game. I also really like the camaraderie I have with the other two girls I twirl with and the people in band.


HC: What was your favorite routine to twirl to?


LM: Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and we did Beyoncé’s “Love on Top” and “Single Ladies”. I liked the Beyoncé songs because we got to be sassy.


HC: What is like balancing schoolwork with practice?

LM: During season, there is an hour and a half scheduled for band practice around early dinnertime. It was nice, because it was the one place where I didn’t have to worry about school. After that I would get dinner and then do my homework. I would try to make a schedule in my head and map out which tricks I need to practice and which ones are just second nature, so that I could leave enough time for school work.


HC: Why should people tryout to be a feature twirler, color guard, etc.?

LM: I would encourage people, if they have that skill set and just want to do something that’s low pressure, to try out. It’s nice exercise and fun to be with your friends.