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August 16, 2012

Tradition bends to allow Silver Twins to continue

Silver Twins 2012

Jordan Foster, from left, and Alyssa Lyzen are the new Silver Twins.
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - In April 2012 it looked like Purdue University's Ross-Ade Stadium might not have that splash of silver  known as the Silver Twins for the fall football season. No identical twins attended Purdue Bands' auditions for feature twirlers.

Jordan Foster of Attleboro, Mass., and Alyssa Lyzen of Brecksville, Ohio, had both been twirling for 13 years, but their paths had never crossed until that April day. Twirling as Silver Twins never occurred to them because the position has been reserved for identical twins. They were going after Girl in Black or a spot on the twirling line.

But, after a month of careful consideration, Purdue bands director Jay Gephart decided not to subtract silver from Purdue's sparkling lineup of twirlers. He asked the two talented brunettes - Foster and Lyzen - to consider joining forces.

Both said yes immediately and have spent the summer getting to know each other and matching their skills so fans will see that similarity in style that has always marked the Silver Twins.

Foster and Lyzen will make their twirling debut as Purdue's Silver Twins at the Purdue "All-American" Marching Band Preview at 7:30 Saturday (Aug. 18), at Hull Drill Field next to the Fire Station on Third Street. The public is invited, and admission is free. Returning Golden Girl MerrieBeth Cox and Girl in Black Cecelia Daizovi will twirl as well. Although she's new to her position, Daizovi has significant ties to the Girl in Black position. Both her mother, Kim Ratcliffe Daizovi, and her aunt, Kelli Ratcliffe Ruble, twirled as the Girl in Black at Purdue.

All three of the new feature twirlers boast significant accomplishments. Daizovi, who's been twirling since age 5, is the current USA National Baton Twirling champion in two events and current Team USA Junior Women's gold medalist.

Foster won the Twirlmania High School Classic and has made the top six in the National Baton Twirling Association's Grand Nationals for two years in a row. Lyzen won four national championships with Drum Majorettes of America and was selected for the U.S. All-Star Team to twirl in the Macy's Parade.

Enthusiasm for their surprise pairing as Silver Twins exudes from Foster, a freshman communications major, and Lyzen, a freshman accounting major whose future interests lie in law.

"I'm really excited to open people's eyes that we aren't twins, while mesmerizing them with how twin-like we are," Foster says. "I want them to be blown away that we aren't twins but twirl like twins."

Lyzen's mother is also a twirler and was inspired to start twirling after she saw a performance by the Purdue Silver Twins. "I'm fascinated with the whole Purdue tradition, and now to be part of that tradition is mind boggling," she says. "I can't wait to learn more and make the position new and even better."

Contact: Kathy Matter, 765-496-6785, kcmatter@purdue.edu