Copperas Cove senior Amari Clark took a deep breath.
She had been here before and it was time to lay it all on the line and give it everything she had if she and her team were to bring home first place.
Last year, the Copperas Cove Royal Blue Twirlers came in second and Clark was determined to go out on top as she ends her high school career.
The music of “Perm” by Bruno Mars filled the room as the twirlers began their performance.
With precise moves, big smiles and artful coordination, the blur of sparkling blue uniforms, baton tosses that defied gravity and precision moves stole the show as they charmed the audience and judges.
Clarke, who is captain of the squad, senior Haeli Lingo and junior De’Yonna Parker took the first-place title at this year’s Mu Theta Omega Chapter, Alpha Kappa Alpha, Sorority Inc. AKApollo Talent Show in Killeen.
First-year Royal Blue Twirler Lingo said she discovered her passion for twirling during tryouts.
“My friend convinced me to try twirling, and as the tryouts went on, I grew to love it more than I thought I would. And my parents encouraged me to keep going with it,” Lingo said.
Nine acts competed at the Nov. 11 contest with three in the high school competition including the Cove entry.
“It feels really good to win first place; this being my third and final AKApollo,” Clark said.
The twirlers performed one act and were given only four minutes to impress the judges. The twirlers excelled in all scoring criteria, which consisted of stage presence, originality, personality, synchronization and overall performance.
Copperas Cove teacher and sponsor Krystal Meredith said the twirlers shone in their performance even after a tiring week of practice and performing at senior night the evening before.
“The girls have been working toward this win since last year’s competition and represented Cove High well,” Meredith said.
Winning first place came with a cash prize of $100, which the twirlers will use to kick off their fundraising for the 2018 twirler season next fall. The money will purchase uniforms and pay for travel and camps.
The final fall season performance for the twirlers will be at 3 p.m. Dec. 2 during the Copperas Cove Christmas parade.