FINDLAY - Back just a few days, Devyn Weasel is already planning a return.
The Arcadia High sophomore recently competed in the All Ireland Irish National Dancing Championships in Killarney in County Kerry, Ireland, recently competed in the All Ireland Irish National Dancing Championships in Killarney in County Kerry, Ireland,taking 80th out of 199 dancers.
"I'll be seeing them soon, hopefully, at least next year if not sooner," said the 16-year-old daughter of Scott and Becky Weasel of rural Findlay.
"It went really well. It was a lot of fun and I enjoyed it a lot," Weasel said. "It went really fast. I was having so much, time just flew by. The dancing was over quick, and I miss it."
Weasel took up Irish dancing about four years ago after watching a performance of Riverdance with her mother.
She quickly picked up the technique and style and was soon competing across the country and in Canada, earning nearly 90 first, second and third place finishes.
And also catching her instructors' eyes.
Her teachers invited her to compete in one of the genre's premiere events, this year's All Ireland Irish National Dancing Championships, held Feb. 9-17.
Weasel said the event was intimidating, with five judges and an auditorium filled with spectators watching dancers perform on a huge stage.
"It was so amazing," she said. "The adrenaline almost took me too far because I needed to concentrate on what I was doing, and at the beginning of my dance I didn't do that and I just was up there dancing."
The setting wasn't the only challenge. Weasel said she also had to compete with another dancer on stage. She said that proved difficult because neither of them knew the other and had different steps and styles.
But dancing and watching others do the same was a great learning experience, Weasel said.
"They're all so sweet, and they're amazing dancers. I just look up to them and try to learn from them," she said.
"I knew they were good, but I was really surprised by how good they were," she said.
"I noticed everything they do is a step above what I've seen [in America], and they're continuing to get better and I'm going to try to do that for next year and work my hardest to get at the level they're at," Weasel said.
Aside from dancing, Weasel said her favorite part of the trip came from meeting other dancers from Ireland and around the world each night after the competition sessions ended, gathering mail and E-mail addresses to keep in touch.
And when they weren't dancing, Weasel and her mother also took in the sights - Blarney Castle in Blarney, Bunratty Castle in Shannon and Ross Castle in Killarney.
"Every day we were doing something different. It was a lot of fun," said Weasel, who added she can't wait to return next year a little more at ease on the big stage.
"I knew going into the competition that it was going to be stiff," she said, "so I was going for the experience to get jitters out, and then next year it will be so much easier for me to get up on that big stage."