Sophia Barden, daughter of Craig and Cynthia Barden of El Dorado Hills, recently returned from the 34th World Baton Twirling Championships held Aug. 2-5 in Kissimmee, Florida.
Only the top-three junior elite twirlers from each country earn an invitation, so the best twirlers from around the world attended and the competition was intense. Barden, 17, placed seventh in the competition. She also achieved her goal of winning the compulsory portion of the competition, which had not been achieved by a USA junior woman in 24 years.
Barden competed in March for her spot on the USA women's team and then had to re-compete at the US National Baton Twirling Championships in July, where she won the gold medal in solo freestyle. In addition, she competed in the solo baton, 2 baton, dance twirl and strut categories and came home with national titles in both 2 baton and dance twirl. The results of the national championships determined who would be the gold, silver, bronze, and alternate representatives at the world competition, so Barden was the gold medalist representing the USA in the junior category, 17-and-under.
Barden is a senior at Oak Ridge High School, a member of the Honor Society, and a competitive soccer player.