Amber Rice (left), a fourth-year in psychology, has her time as president of the Buckeye Twirl club cut short due to COVID-19. Now, Rice hands over the reins to Marissa Fogg (right), a second-year in health sciences. Credit: Courtesy of Amber Rice

After an early end to the season due to COVID-19, Amber Rice is giving up her positions as Buckeye Twirl club president, club team captain and competition team captain sooner than expected. 

Rice, a fourth-year in psychology, has been a four-year member of Buckeye Twirl, a competition team for advanced baton twirlers and noncompetitive club for less advanced twirlers and beginners. The team travels for competitions and performs at events such as tailgates and Ohio State’s homecoming parade. 

Now, Rice will hand over the reins to Marissa Fogg, a second-year in health sciences.

“The hardest thing for me was not getting to say a true goodbye to my teammates,” Rice said. “We have had meetings over Zoom, but it’s not the same as seeing them in person. The memories I’ve had with Buckeye Twirl will always stay with me.”

Rice has learned tricks using two and three batons along the way and has even worked her way up to four-baton tricks –– an extreme skill for any twirler. 

After four years of hard work and dedication to the sport, Rice said she was devastated when she found out her last year of twirling would end earlier than she anticipated. 

Despite the early ending, Rice went out on top with her final team performance at the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus, Ohio, a month ago, when Buckeye Twirl took first place in the collegiate category. 

“Amber is always positive and smiling. She’s great at dealing with issues on the team and she’s been teaching me a lot about how to handle stress,” Fogg said. 

Fogg will take over Rice’s position as president and captain of the Buckeye Twirl club and competition team. 

As captain, Rice said she was in charge of choreographing routines and running practices. She made sure practices ran efficiently while preparing her team for upcoming events and performances. 

As president, Rice ran the executive board, attended monthly meetings and filled out paperwork for university purposes and entry forms for competitions. 

“I am very much looking forward to this opportunity, but I am also nervous to fill such an important role,” Fogg said. “This upcoming season, my goal is to improve the team’s overall technique and to work on us looking more together and clean. I also want to help boost our status on campus and get more performances, like at volleyball games and BuckeyeThon.” 

Fogg was vice president and co-captain of the team for the 2019-20 year, allowing her to witness Rice’s responsibilities in the captain and president positions. 

“I am very excited to see what Marissa does with the team in the future. She cares about Buckeye Twirl and wants the team to be as successful as possible, so I think she will do a great job,” Rice said. 

Although Rice’s time on Buckeye Twirl has come to an end, she will remain at Ohio State to pursue her master’s degree in social work, she said. 

Buckeye Twirl canceled its 2020 Spring Clinic, which is one of the club’s largest yearly fundraisers and serves as an instructional camp for twirlers of all ages. The club’s annual spring showcase performance for family and friends has also been canceled, along with America’s Youth on Parade, a national twirling competition the club was set to participate in at Notre Dame in July. 

“The annual showcase serves as a sort of send-off for our seniors, so we are all very sad that we couldn’t do this for them,” Fogg said. 

Rice said she hopes COVID-19 won’t impact Buckeye Twirl’s upcoming season. Tryouts are currently scheduled for the first Monday of the fall 2020 semester, and the twirlers hope to perform at football tailgates and the school’s homecoming parade.