By Shannon Hart – Contributing Writer
Placing 14th at the World Irish Dancing Championships in Glasgow, Scotland, freshman Megan Stella has been dancing for 15 years and reaching for her goals ever since she started. Stella has qualified and will compete at the World Championships this coming April in Dublin, Ireland for McInerney School of Irish Dance.
“Naturally, at the upcoming World Championships, I would love to see Megan win 14th place or better,” said Clare McInerney, Irish Dance teacher at McInerney School of Irish Dance. “Regardless of where she places, qualifying to dance at this prestigious event is an achievement in and of itself. I am very proud of all of Megan’s accomplishments.”
Beginning to dance at the age of three, “The Wiggles” television show helped Stella get her start at such a young age. There was an episode with Irish dancing, and after she watched it multiple times her mother decided to sign her up.
“Megan has been a member of the McInerney School of Irish Dance since she was a young girl,” said McInerney. “Her dance career started like that of dancers all over the world. Initially, Megan enjoyed dancing and the camaraderie of her peers. She came and went to her weekly dance class. Once she started competing, she advanced through the competitive ranks with many others,” she said.
Stella has competed around the world, including Canada, United States, Scotland, Ireland, and England. While practicing two to three hours per day and averaging about 10 hours a week, she works hard to maintain her training.
“As she progressed through the competitive levels, the demands of attaining success increased and Megan rose to the occasion,” said McInerney. “Megan has been blessed with natural talent. That gift is not wasted on her, and she nurtures her talent by practicing and keeping herself in good physical shape.”
Stella has overcome her most challenging obstacle in training; a severely sprained ankle twice in one year. Despite the injuries, through hard work she placed amongst the top dancers in the world. “Playing sports has taught me discipline, time management, how to go after your goals and dreams. It has also taught me how to push myself to my ultimate limit,” said Stella.
Stella is a part of the track & field and cross country teams as well. The events she competes in for track & field are the 100 meter, 200 meter, 400 meter and long jump. “Any runner can run 100 meters, it is the next 4,900 that count and Megan Stella has shown very quickly what drive, determination, and passion can produce,” said Pat O’Neill, Head Coach of the cross country and track & field teams.
“There comes a point in the race when you need to decide, do you really want it? Only one person can decide that. She made a decision this season to give it everything she has and that has shown through in her races and practices, and I expect there will be a lot of great things moving forward for this young athlete,” said O’Neill.
Inspiration is key to pursuing a passion. Stella’s inspiration comes from, “my love for [dancing] and trying to reach my goals,” she said. Irish dancing has become a very large part of her life. Even though she spends a considerable amount of time training for dance or running, she enjoys hanging out with friends just like any other Lasell student.