Baylor twirler wins world championship title
As a child, Adaline Bebo‘s parents had trouble channeling her creative energy. After trying everything from dance to gymnastics to cheerleading to horseback riding, Adi finally found her dream: She wanted to be a baton twirler.
Years of dedication paid off last month when Bebo — now a Baylor junior — won the world championship in strut at the World Federation of National Baton Twirling Associations (WFNBTA) 2018 world championships in Norway!
The path from eager young twirler to world champion was not an easy one. Living in a small town in Indiana, the Bebos had trouble getting Adi started, as finding a twirling instructor proved difficult. But by age 9, she at last had a baton in her hands — and even then, her mother had to drive an hour each way, twice a week, to get her to lessons.
That first year, Adi made it to nationals — but she finished last in every event she entered. Determined to never let that happen again, Bebo came back a year later and won all of her age category titles. By 2012, she was good enough to make Team USA, earning the chance to compete at the World Baton Twirling Federation’s World Championships in France — basically, the Olympics of baton twirling. There, she placed fifth in the Junior Women category. She went on to represent Team USA again in 2014 and 2016 at the WBTF world championships and in 2015 at the WFNBTA world championships, while at the same time trying to figure out her plans to twirl at the collegiate level.
Finding a college to twirl at can be a more difficult feat than you might think. Universities typically only have two or three spots overall, so there may only be one spot to fill — or no spots at all. Adi began her search for a college with an open mind, but after seeing Baylor’s McLane Stadium, she instantly fell in love and knew she had to twirl here. The rest was history, and if you’ve attended a Baylor football game in the past three years, you’ve likely seen Bebo performing as a Golden Girl with the Golden Wave Band.
In preparation for this year’s world championships, Adi began and ended her days with early-morning and late-night training sessions in the Ferrell Center — one of the only facilities around with a ceiling high enough to train in. (She learned this through trial and error, having lost more than a few batons in the McLane Student Life Center.) She also had to balance her baton training with her schoolwork, as a neuroscience, pre-law major in the Baylor Interdisciplinary Core (BIC). And when this year’s WFNBTA championships came around, she fought through lost luggage, temperatures approaching -20, and four days of rigorous competition to being home the title.
Moving forward, Bebo plans to use her degree to advocate for children with special needs through No Limitations Athletics, while also working to elevate the legacy of the Golden Girls and make Baylor a destination for elite twirling athletes. She plans to retire from competing internationally after the 2018 WBTF world championships this summer, but she hopes to stay connecting to twirling as a coach and judge.
Sic ’em, Adi!