Three Columbia-area dancers earned high honors at the recent U.S. National Irish Dance Championships in Phoenix, Arizona.

Madighan McMaster of Blythewood won first place in the under-18 preliminary championship competition. The preliminary championship division includes dancers who have placed first in certain previous competitions. McMaster is a recent graduate of Blythewood High School and will attend Coastal Carolina University in the fall to study exercise science.

Carolina Murray of Lexington placed fourth in the under-15 open championship. Her sister, Aurora Murray, also claimed a fourth place in her division, the under-13 open championship. Open championship dancers are at the highest level of competition for their age groups and qualify by placing first in previous competitions.

The three award-winners were among six students from Connick School of Irish Dance in Lexington who competed in the national championships. Approximately 4,200 dancers from across the country competed in the five-day event.

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