Seven Marist students captured world titles in two divisions at the 2017 World Irish Dancing Championships in Dublin, Ireland, held April 9-16. The girls dance for Lavin Cassidy School of Irish Dance in Worth, Ill.
Marist freshman Molly Ross, sophomores Alyssa Hoban and Megan Wagner, and juniors Kiley Ross and Grace O’Brien won in the under 19 category (left). Their teammates Shannon O’Malley, Tara Campbell, and Elizabeth Gildea attend Mother McAuley High School.
Marist freshmen Michalene Donnelly and Abby Chesniak also won with their team (left) in the under 16 category. Their teammates were Sydney Rozhon of Oak Lawn High School, twin sisters Anna and Olivia McMahon who attend Lincoln Way Central, Claire McInerney who attends Martino Junior High in New Lenox, Maggie O’Malley of Mother McAuley, and Abby Perry from Oak Lawn-Hometown Middle School.
At the event the girls competed against 60 teams in the under 19 category and 90 teams in the under 16 category. The top quarter of teams advanced from the first round to the finals, where the scores from both dances were combined. O’Brien said preparing for the world competition included two to three hours per day of practice. It has paid off for the girls, many of whom have two world championships to their credit. O’Brien, who won the title with her teams in 2015 in Montreal and in 2016 in Scotland, says having a third world title is “pretty cool.”
For Donnelly, it was her fourth visit to worlds and second title. “It feels pretty good,” she explained. “It was very exciting.” She says that it’s a very long process to get all the team members dancing together at the same time, but it’s worth it.