Coastal Carolina University student and New York native C.J. McDermott has a busy summer ahead – including competing in the Miss South Carolina pageant, in the National Baton Twirling Competition and in the International Baton Twirling Federation Grand Prix competition in Limoges, France.
“This is the opportunity of a lifetime,” McDermott said.
McDermott, a freshman, came to the area for college for the HTC Honors College, the warm weather and the opportunity to continue twirling competitively.
Twirling since the age of 3 or 4, McDermott is the only one from the CCU Chanticleer Regiment going to the France competition this summer on Team USA.
“I was sitting in my dorm and went on my team’s private Facebook page…and the coach said we qualified,” McDermott said. “I automatically started crying…this is a huge honor for me to represent not only my country, but also my school and my family in the sport that I love.”
Her mother Lynn McDermott, wondered what was wrong when she got the phone call from C.J.
“She called me in tears, it was during exam week in her first year of college, so my first thought as a mother was ‘Oh my gosh, what did she sleep through?’”, Mrs. McDermott said. “She is very excited. She knew the competition was in August and wanted to make sure she wasn’t going to miss marching band and school. The leader…agreed being on the world team was worth missing a day or two.”
Her team, called Crescendo, is unique, McDermott said, in that it is made up of girls from different areas of the country, and they practice together only four or five times a year.
“The rest of it is done through video,” McDermott said. “I live in South Carolina, three girls are from New York, then one from Michigan, Ohio and West Virginia.”
McDermott currently teaches at Sunshine Twirling, and is also a member of the Alpha Delta Pi sorority.
“I plan on using all the funds from teaching to go towards the expenses for Team USA, as there is no funding given to any team members, and as you can imagine the travel expenses for the competition are large,” McDermott said.
She has set up a Go Fund Me page in hopes that others may be able to help with the high travel costs for the opportunity.
“It would be a great honor to be able to compete against amazing twirlers from all over the world,” McDermott said.
Find her Go Fund Me at https://www.gofundme.com/send-cj-to-france-ibtf-grand-prix