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Meet USTA Professional member

Karilee Schmitt

The phrase “twirling is my life” applies perfectly to USTA Professional member Karilee Schmitt, who hails from Maryland. With her mom and dad already involved in the sport, Schmitt was literally born into baton twirling. She went on to win seven World WFNBTA gold medals with the Dynamics and now continues that legacy as a professional coach. INSIDE LOOP, USTA’s online publication for Professional members, spoke with Schmitt about her life in baton. Here’s what she had to say.

Inside Loop: Tell us a little bit about your start in baton twirling and your journey to this point.

Schmitt: Twirling was a part of my family before I was born. My mom twirled through college and in fact, met my dad when she was a feature twirler with his sister at the University of Maryland. My dad’s sisters were USTA state duet champs and my dad was a drummer in the corps when they won Nationals. So, I have been twirling pretty much since day one. My mom was the director of a local group but started me with Linda Alford and The Dynamics of Maryland when I was six. I competed individually in both NBTA and locally with USTA. With The Dynamics, I have gone to 7 WFNBTA world championships, first as a competitor, winning seven gold medals with the teams, and then as an assistant coach.

The family connection has continued. My sister and I were both Dynamic members and my mom also works with the younger members of the team. My sister and I were national duet champions together and some of my best memories include watching her compete at the first IBTF Grand Prix in Abbotsford, Canada and traveling with her to support the Dynamics at the last Grand Prix in Limoges, France.

Inside Loop: As a USTA Professional, what do you feel benefits you the most in this role?

Schmitt: I really appreciate all the resources that USTA has for professional members. As an individual coach of some younger students, I am always working to keep growing in that role and making sure that I have the best tools to set my students up for success. Especially in the last year and a half, I have appreciated all the webinars and sessions that USTA has done so that I can learn about the organization and make sure my students can take advantage of any opportunities out there. I also have been attending the monthly coaches meetings and I like the mentorship program as I think it’s important to have people with more experience than myself that I can go to with questions and ideas. I’m also starting to work on the coaches and judges trainings so that I can understand my role in as many ways as possible.

Inside Loop: What are three things the twirling world probably doesn’t know about you?

Inside Loop: Please tell us three things the twirling world probably doesn’t know about you.

  • 1. I am the assistant division leader for Math/CS and teach AP Calculus BC, Multivariable Calculus, and Linear Algebra at the high school I attended, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, VA.

  • 2. While I have stepped back some due to my job and twirling responsibilities, I continue to be involved with the color guard at TJ. It was fun to go to USTA nationals in Ohio as I had been to the Nutter Center multiple times for the WGI World Championships with the guard. 

  • 3. I am a big hockey fan, especially of the Washington Capitals. I was able to go to both Winter Classic games that they played in and at least one game each series the year they won the Stanley Cup. I can’t wait to get back to the arena!