Notre Dame Irish dance team to compete in All-Ireland Irish Dancing Championships

first_imgHaving Irish danced since she was a toddler, Notre Dame junior Addie Donaher said the adrenaline rush she gets walking out on stage is a sensation that has yet to waver in her career as a performer.“Being on stage is the reason that we all do it,” Donaher said. “You have those two minutes to get up on stage and show them, ‘I’ve been working for a whole year for these two minutes.’”As part of the Irish Echoes, Donaher — along with 7 other Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s students — will be competing this weekend in the All-Ireland Irish Dancing Championships. Photo courtesy of Hanna Dutler Members of the Irish Echoes, Notre Dame’s Irish dance group, compete in the All-Ireland Irish Dancing Championships every year.Fresh off their annual showcase last January, the Irish Echoes are a Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s Irish dance team consisting of roughly 70 members — the largest collegiate team in the nation, Donaher said.Members of the Ceili team — a subset of the Irish Echoes — were selected for the competition via tryout. The Ceili team is lead by juniors coach Hannah Dutler and assistant coach Emily Cline. Dutler and Cline are joined by seniors Caitlin O’Rourke, Rebecca Sidler, Kali Graziano and Lauren Tucker, juniors Donaher and Julia Forte and sophomores Kate Brown and Rachel Hughes.“I think everyone on the Ceili team has been dancing since they were three or four years old and has gone over to Ireland at least once or twice to compete,” Dutler said.The team flew out of Chicago on Tuesday night, landing in Dublin early Wednesday morning. After spending a day in the Irish capital, where they will get a chance to visit Notre Dame students currently studying abroad in Dublin, the women will be hopping on a bus to the competition’s host city, Killarney, a southwest Ireland town with around 14,000 residents.“Girls from all over the world come to compete, and then the competition that we’re in is a club Ceili competition,” Donaher said. “ … It’s like Irish clubs, [and] there’s a bunch of schools from the U.S.”With funding assistance from the Nanovic Institute and the Keough-Naughton Institute, the team has been able to travel to Ireland seven of the past 10 years for this competition and have found themselves atop the podium every time.“We have won the last seven years that we have competed, so hopefully we make it eight,” Dutler said.Dutler also noted that although the teams are strictly business backstage while preparing for their performances, the event gives many of the women the unique opportunity to reconnect with Irish dancers they trained with at past studios who may also be in Killarney for the week’s festivities.Whatever the outcome of Saturday’s competition, however, both Donaher and Dutler said they are thankful to the Irish Echoes for giving them a chance to form the friendships they have in their three years with the team, and for allowing them to continue their passion for Irish dance into their collegiate lives.“We’re all really close, and we all had that love for Irish dance that made us want to go to a school that had a team and keep doing it,” Donaher said. “We both danced competitively our whole lives, so it was such a big part of our life. And then coming to college you kind of expect that to stop. But here, it doesn’t really have to.”Tags: Irish dance, Irish Dance Team, irish echoeslast_img read more

Some colleges tell players not to sign autographs

first_imgIn this April 1, 2014, file photo, Florida State quarterback and 2013 Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston autographs a program from the BCS National Championship for Michelle Reilly in the Capitol Courtyard in Tallahassee, Fla. (AP Photo/Phil Sears, File)Mississippi State star Dak Prescott says he is taking steps to avoid being the next college football star to be accused of exchanging autographs for cash.“I’ve started just personalizing things — making sure I write to the person that they’re asking for. And I don’t sign things in bundles — just being a lot more aware of what I’m signing,” the Heisman Trophy contender said.Personalizing an autographed item lowers its value.Good idea, but still a simple Google search of ‘Dak Prescott autograph’ generates about a dozen images of photographs, mini-helmets and footballs for sale with Prescott’s signature on them. Or at least a signature the seller claims to be Prescott’s. Prices range for $20 for an 8×10 print to $200 for that mini-helmet, which would otherwise go for about $30.Somebody is making a nice profit off this stuff.From left are file photos showing college football players Braxton Miller, Ohio State; Bryce Petty, Baylor; Nick Marshall, Auburn; Myles Jack, UCLA; Marcus Mariota, Oregon and Todd Gurley, Georgia. Six players that have a chance of taking home the Heisman trophy. (AP Photo/File)A year after Johnny Manziel was suspended for a half after an investigation by Texas A&M and the NCAA into whether he was paid to sign memorabilia, Georgia’s Todd Gurley is being investigated for the same thing. The star running back has already missed one game, and it’s unclear if he’ll return.The quantity of signatures from Heisman winner Jameis Winston  — many authenticated by the same company linked to Gurley — has forced Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher to field questions about whether his two-sport star has done anything wrong.“He’s never taken a dime for anything,” Fisher said earlier this week. “He’s signed thousands of things. I mean, the guy sits for an hour and a half before a baseball game and signed and an hour and a half after a baseball game. … He is very accommodating to people.”In some cases, schools have encouraged their players to be less accommodating.Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel reacts after being selected by the Cleveland Browns as the 22nd pick in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft, Thursday, May 8, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)Arizona wide receiver Austin Hill said coach Rich Rodriguez has made the team cut back on the impromptu autograph sessions after games.“I think our media staff and everyone we have now controls it a little better than what we had in the past, because in the past there used to be people around McKale (Center) just with pieces of paper, with footballs, with random things, trying to get us to sign,” he said. “To be nice, we used to sign them. But since Coach Rod got here, it hasn’t been too much of a problem.”Of course, sometimes the school asks him to sign material.“I had to sign a couple of footballs for some big donors, things like that,” Hill said.Former Louisville player Calvin Pryor, now with the New York Jets, said he didn’t get asked to do much signing in college but saw plenty of demand for teammate Teddy Bridgewater, the record-breaking quarterback who is now with the Minnesota Vikings.Pryor, who played under coach Charlie Strong, now with Texas, said Louisville coaches had a very clear policy: Do not give any autographs, and that the staff monitored it closely.He said the message was: “Better be safe than sorry, because we don’t want you to get suspended or having to go through the NCAA. They just kept us away from it.”That meant occasionally disappointing fans, though Louisville would hold formal sessions that gave fans access to players. Pryor said those took the pressure off the biggest stars.“I think that’s a smarter way to do it,” he said.South Carolina receiver Pharoh Cooper said there are no rules against signing away from school-sponsored events, but the Gamecocks are drilled on the rules by compliance staff and coaches and told to be wary.“They just ask us to be careful about it, about what we sign and how many items,” he said. “But sometimes, they’ll tell you to personalize it. People are going to try and get money off your name and sell it, so you’ve just really got to be smart about what you do.”Those school sponsored autograph sessions can be part of the problem, though. They produce hundreds of signed items that nobody is tracking.“It’s always a concern of ours any time that there’s an issue in college football that’s very, very difficult to control externally,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said. “We are very vigilant with our process of how we counsel players, teach players. Our compliance people try to do the best possible job that we can so that we don’t have those issues. There’s a lot of folks out there that are trying to do these types of things for their own personal benefit, and the player is the one that’s going to suffer the consequences if he doesn’t make a good choice and decision.”___AP sports writers Rachel Cohen in Florham Park, New Jersey, Pete Iacobelli in Columbia, South Carolina, David Brandt in Starkville, Mississippi, and John Zenor in Montgomery, Alabama, contributed.___Follow Ralph D. Russo at www.Twitter.com/ralphDrussoAPlast_img read more