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Student Spotlight: Meet Austin Peay’s ‘Girl on Fire’ baton twirler, Izzy Melvin

Melvin with East Tennessee State University feature twirler Lexi Maust.

(Posted on Friday, Nov. 12, 2021)

Austin Peay Izzy Melvin
Melvin with former APSU twirler Donna Huffaker.

If you’ve ever been to an Austin Peay State University football game, you know what to expect during the Governor’s Own Marching Band halftime show. Fire, spun by no other than the Girl on Fire, also known as Izzy Melvin.

Melvin is no stranger to majorette competitions and has had her fair share of experiences and wins.  

Recently, Melvin competed in the Miss Majorette Contest at the state level. This competition is the qualifier for upcoming national competition in South Bend, Indiana, at the University of Notre Dame. 

Melvin won three titles at the competition including Collegiate Miss Majorette of Tennessee, Tennessee State 3 Baton Champion and Tennessee State Collegiate Halftime Champion. 

“To me, it isn’t about winning,” Melvin said. “It’s about staying connected to the friends that I have made over the years, having fun and being proud of the routines I put on the floor.” 

Preparing for these competitions is an intense process in which Melvin practices “a lot.” 

“It’s just like any other sport. You have to build up stamina and continue building skills,” Melvin said.

Melvin with her mother.

Twirling a ‘constant’ for Melvin since age 6

From the moment Melvin went with a friend to “bring a friend day,” she “fell in love” with baton twirling instantly. 

“I was involved with so many activities already that my mom said I had to wait,” Melvin said. “I kept bugging her about it and she let me go to classes. I was instantly hooked.” 

Since beginning baton, Melvin has made her way through numerous practices and competitions and ended up twirling with the Governor’s Own Marching Band at APSU.

What does baton twirling mean to the “Girl on Fire”? Twirling has been a “constant” in Melvin’s life since beginning the sport at age six. 

“Without twirling, I would not be the person I am today,” Melvin said. “The pride, joy and love that I have received twirling at exhibitions in Fortera Stadium with GOMB have brought me such an amazing experience, which I am eternally grateful for.”

Melvin’s support system is quite large and includes her parents, coaches, friends and the Governor’s Own Marching Band director, John Schnettler.  

Melvin is now preparing for the Worlds competition in the Netherlands, pursuing a master’s degree in criminal justice with a concentration in homeland security at Austin Peay and another season of twirling with the GOMB.

The Governors’ last home football game is against Tennessee Tech at 2 p.m. Nov. 20. 

“I can’t wait to see what this next year brings,” she said.

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