LE GRAND - Katy Weese had been preparing for last Friday night since the age of 7.
The East Marshall High School sophomore baton twirler heated up a chilly night with a unique halftime performance during the football game as the marching band played behind her.
The 15-year-old twirled batons that were on fire and ended the performance by throwing one up in the air and catching it. Her fellow students enjoyed the performance.
"They said 'Oh my gosh, that was crazy,'" Weese said.
Weese started twirling batons at the age of seven. This past summer her coach, Ashley Holloway, decided to up the ante - by upping the temperature on her routine.
"This summer I was working with my coach and she said, 'Do you want to try fire this year?'" she said.
T-R PHOTO BY ANDREW POTTER
Katy Weese, a sophomore at East Marshall High School, shows how she is able to twirl a baton on fire. Weese performed her fiery baton routine at a recent East Marshall football game.
Weese said she got into baton twirling for the challenge, so using fire added more to the challenging nature of the activity.
With fire at both ends of each baton, Katy Weese has learned it's best to keep her hands in the middle when twirling.
"You have to make sure you don't slide to the ends," she said.
After a few practices and some time to convince her mother it was OK, the time for her first public fire performance came last week as she stood on the track in front of the football fans. The nerves were bubbling over as she lit the ends of the batons on fire.
While Katy seemed pretty calm during the performance, her mother, Tammy, couldn't hide it.
"All of my friends at the game said I looked more nervous than she did," Tammy Weese said.
Her mother said she was happy for Katy after she completed the performance.
"For her first time with fire, she did pretty good," Tammy Weese said.
Weese said she'd like to continue to improve her baton twirling and has a goal to one day twirl in college.
"Watching college twirlers I know I have a long way to go," she said.
Last Friday was the last home football game for East Marshall.
Weese said she would like to twirl fire at home games next year, if school administrators - and her mother - allow it again.