Dancers win world titles

Six Marist High School students were part of two eight-person teams that recently finished in first place in the Irish Dancing Commission’s World Championships in Glasgow, Scotland March 24 through April 1. The girls dance for Lavin Cassidy School of Irish Dance in Worth, Ill.


In the 13 to 16 age group, Marist sophomores Abby Chesniak (left) and Molly Ross won the title with teammates Maggie O’Malley and Annie Shea from Mother McAuley High School, Claire McInerney from Lincoln Way Central High School, Hannah McGillian from Sandburg High School, and Abby Perry and Sydney Rozhan who attend Oak Lawn Community High School. They emerged from a pool of 66 teams. This was the third world title for Ross and Chesniak.

“Our goal was to win,” said Molly Ross, who explained that the team practiced three hours a day four days per week. Teammate Chesniak said waiting for the results was stressful. “We were crying; it was overwhelming.”


Marist seniors Kiley Ross and Grace O’Brien and juniors Alyssa Hoban and Megan Wagner also garnered the world title in the 16 to 19 year old category. Their teammates were Tara Campbell and Elizabeth Gildea from Mother McAuley High School, Nazareth Academy student Caitlin Langs, and Maura Doyle who attends Glenbard West High School. 

O’Brien, for whom this was a fourth world title, said this was her last competition. “It was an awesome way to go out,” she said. Attending college will not afford her the opportunity to train with the team. The same is true of fellow senior and teammate, Kiley Ross, who now has three world titles. They will both perform and teach dance.

O’Brien and the elder Ross have danced together since they were four years old, and said some of their teammates have been with Lavin Cassidy for years, while others have joined in the wake of annual success at the international level for the school.

 Kiley Ross (from left), Grace O'Brien, Megan Wagner, and Alyssa Hoban