Photos and Story by Caitlin Buck
 Feis America LLC Contributor
Double Reel Special Under 12 Awards: (L>R):
 Sophia Acuna, Ethan Long, Grace Gillock, Meredith Slimp, andJosie Shingleton.

The McTeggart Irish Dancers of North Texas hosted the 17th Texas State Championships and Feis March 2-3, 2012. This is the largest annual Irish dancing competition held in Texas, though it is relatively small compared with feiseanna in other parts of North America. A crowd of 365 registered Irish dancers hopped and whirled around the charming and cozily renovated lobby of the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Irving, Texas, conveniently located near the Dallas/Fort Worth airport.

Inishfree's Bailey Quigley celebrates her perfect score of 300 in Open Championships (U18)
 with friend Jayme Seward (2nd) and asmiling Kelcey Sartin (3rd) from the Maguire Academy.

At smaller Irish dancing competitions, it can be a challenge to find the requisite five in one's age group to validate the competition, especially if winning first place means a move up to Open Champion. Happily, this was not the case as every agegroup averaged 10 to 20 dancers making for good competition and great attendance for Texas. In additiion to the Irish dancing solo, figure and special competitions for all ages up to adult, there were music, spoken word and vocal events.

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 McTeggart Irish Dancers of North Texas brought in six certified adjudicators from An Coimisiun le Rinci Gaelacha: ADCRGs Myra Brennan, Danny Golden, Gary Healy, Kathleen Clifford Lightley, Colette McAllister, and Mike Mullane. Two well-known feis musicians, Billy Furlong and Chris McLoughlin, played live reels, jigs, hornpipes and sets to accompany each competition. Three well-organized stages in back to back ballrooms kept the feis running right on schedule.

Some results are reported here - for full results visit FeisWorx:

Open Championship under 12:
1 - Grace Gillock - Inishfree Texas
2 - Ethan Long - McTeggart, Houston
3 - Colin Troy - Maguire

Open Championship under 14
1 - Hailey Barrell - Tir Conaill
2 - Sarah Troy - Maguire
3 - Hanna Cassiday - McTeggart Oklahoma

Open Championship under 16
1 - Libby Decker - Tir Conaill
2 - Lydia Wilkens-Reed - Inis Acla
3 - Bridget Kennedy - Inishfree Texas

Open Championship 18 & Over
1 - Jason Hays - McTeggart, North Texas
2 - Ashleigh Hopkins - Inishfree Texas
3 - Courtney Otis - Inishfree Texas
4 - Molly McDaniel - McCafferty Arizona
5 - Tania Martinez - Inishfree Texas
6 - Hollis Horton - Inishfree Texas
7 - Laura Cass - Cass Academy
8 - Rachel Bacsik - McTeggart, North Texas

Adult Special - Traditional Set
1 - Shelley Hawkins - O'Maoileidigh
2 - Megan Pumphrey - Inisfhree Texas

Inishfree Texas/Mexico dancers performing at the North Texas Irish Festival.

Though some dancers packed up their dresses and mussed wigs to head home, many families stayed on an additional night for the North Texas Irish Festival held in Fair Park on Sunday. Eight Irish dance schools preformed amidst Celtic bands, vendors and other entertainment making for a full weekend to kick off March Madness in Texas!

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