Anna Mitchell Ralston, a 13-year-old from Gainesville, and her baton twirling team, Forte Atlanta, won a beginner national title at the America’s Youth on Parade USA and World Twirling Championships in South Bend, Ind.
A year earlier, she won a pre-teen intermediate national title.
While Ralston competes with Forte Atlanta, she is also an individual competitor. At nationals this summer she competed in the Advanced division, placing in the top 20 of the majority of her events, against more than 70 of the best baton twirlers in her age group across the country. Ralston just started the eighth grade at Gainesville Middle School.
The Forte Atlanta team was established in August 2015 and includes twirlers ages 10-13.
Forte Atlanta’s twirlers competed in two team events: a dance-twirl routine, which emphasizes creativity and intricacy of tricks; and a twirling team, which emphasizes difficulty and twirling unison.
The dance twirl routine was circus-themed for this year’s competition. With these routines, Forte Atlanta placed first in the 2016 Preteen Small Beginner Dance Twirl Team Championship against more than 30 other teams and placed second in the 2016 Preteen Small Beginner Twirling Team Championship.