First Milan Majorette in a Decade

Photo by Balinda Zimmerman
Kaitlyn Kornacki, Milan’s new Majorette.

By Balinda Zimmerman

Milan has a new high school athlete that is showing her merit and doing it on the football field, during halftime. Incoming freshman, Kaitlyn Kornacki, is the first majorette to twirl for Milan for the past estimated 15 years and she has waited several years to be able to do just that. She performs under the direction of Susan Usher.
Kaitlyn is very articulate and personable as she explains that she has been trying to get on that specific football field for over two years and had to wait to become a high school student before she could share her talent at the football games. She was able to march in the parades for the past two years but could not participate on the school fields during games due to safety regulations. She is very excited to be the first majorette at Milan in over a decade, even if she is the only one performing.
Kaitlyn became enamored with twirling when at age 5 one of her older friends came home from a competition with full costume and makeup. Kaitlyn took one look at her and told her mom, “I need to do that.” She did not say I want to do that, she said, “need,” and that is exactly how she felt. She has had a driving need to twirl from that time forward.
She took recreational twirling for two years but her coach quit due to having a new baby when Kaitlyn as 8 years old. This gave Kaitlyn and a friend from her class in Ypsilanti a chance to move to Saline Twirlettes where they experienced a completely new dedication to their sport.
The Saline Twirlettes train twice a week during the school year and compete in several competitions during the season in preparation for the big event, Nationals. When school lets out the girls then train 8 hours a day all during June and half of July until competition day arrives. The specific group with which Kaitlyn performs has a total of 22 students in the KTN (Kids to Nationals) team. It takes some serious dedication to become a national competitor in twirling.
Kaitlyn trained with and performed alongside athletes of the caliber of Haley Williams, Miss Michigan 2013. Haley won Miss Michigan with her twirling performance and went on to compete in the Miss America Pageant. Her further brush with the famous is a photo of her and Cody Carter who performed on America’s Got Talent. She knew Cody BEFORE he found fame with his performance(s) on AGT but she still needed that photo of her with him after he made it on the TV show.
Any time Kaitlyn is bored she twirls; on vacation, on weekend trips away, at home in the evenings, you name the time or place and she twirls. She can twirl 2 batons, 3 batons, toss and spin 5 times before catching, twirl fire batons and perform double illusions. A double illusion is when someone throws the baton in the air and does a one-legged cartwheel with no hands (twice) and then catches the baton.
She explains the difficulty of twirling fire and the mental preparation that it takes to get in the right state of mind before the performance. Unlike twirling a standard baton, the majorette cannot miss the center of the baton at all without risk of being burned. Twirling fire cannot come close to the clothing or hair at any point or it could cause a fire. The concentration level is obviously much different.
Kaitlyn’s talent is evident in her awards or trophies for 2017 alone. Her awards are: Team award- Seniors Small Show Corp, Champions, Individual awards- Michigan State Solo Winner, Carnival Solo Winner, Great Lakes Regional Solo Winner, Great Lakes Strut Winner, Great Lakes Beginner Pageant Winner, National Beginner Solo Winner, National Pageant Solo Winner, National Flag Beginner Winner
Kaitlyn began school at Lincoln where she continued through the second grade. In grades 3 to 6 she attended East Arbor Charter Academy and then transferred to Milan Middle School.
Balinda Zimmerman is a certified mediator, owner/operator at Milan Memories by Minna, and freelance writer for the Milan Eagle News. Balinda can be reached at balindaz [at] comcast [dot] net

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