For 2013 graduates Brittany and Victoria Maiden, there was never any question of where they would find their niche at the University. But the success they achieved within it exceeded even their own expectations. “We have been twirling for most of our life,” Victoria said. “We started twirling with the Royalettes Baton Corps based in the Richmond area, and stuck with it.” The Maiden twins performed with the Cavalier Marching band while taking classes at Piedmont Virginia Community College before they transferred to the University. The twins picked up twirling — which consists of coordinating a calisthenics-heavy baton routine — at the early age of five. For Brittany and Victoria, twirling at the collegiate level was then just the next step in an already fruitful athletic career. “College is the last hoorah — many twirlers aspire to be a college feature twirler,” Brittany said. “We worked really hard to get here. We had partial scholarships, so that worked out well in our favor.” The twins’ journey to national recognition started at Piedmont Virginia Community College, where they took classes while performing with the Cavalier Marching Band. After two years in community college, they both transferred to the University to continue twirling. Both girls credit U.Va. band director William Pease and his program with assisting in their transition to the University. “We were fortunate to be a part of the band, which helped us transition as far as social and academic life,” Victoria said. “We were lucky to be a part of the band and have those friends at U.Va. while attending PVCC.” The twins were grateful they had the opportunity to twirl while at PVCC, but both also emphasize how much they improved once they entered the University. “While performing and making routines for halftime shows, we were also making up performances for competitions,” Victoria said. “It enhanced our competition skills because it put us in the gym that much more.” College wasn’t the end, though. At the University of Notre Dame this past summer, the Maidens competed in America’s Youth on Parade — the equivalent of twirling Nationals — and won gold in the duet category. “There are over 10,000 twirlers in Indiana for the championship,” Brittany said. “It was definitely a competitive year, and we were proud to be among them.” Next up will be the 2015 World Twirling Championship in Italy. “We are so happy that we get to go to Italy to compete with other pairs from across the world,” Victoria said. “We knew our time in college was over and we wanted to end our career with a bang. We wanted to end with this accomplishment.” Correction: This article has been changed to reflect that William Pease is the director of the U.Va. band program.