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Dauphin County teen wins national Irish dance title - abc27 WHTM

Dauphin County teen wins national Irish dance title

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MIDDLETOWN, Pa. (WHTM) -

A local teenage dancer is celebrating a world title but an unexpected tragedy almost kept him from competing. Garrett Faust is 15-years-old. 

"Even though I've been dancing for ten years now, I still find that everyday, I still come to practice; I find it's still exciting and there's still more to learn," he said. 

This is the winning attitude that recently carried Faust to a world title in Irish dance. He is the first American to do so.

Faust remembers being surprised when he won.

"I kinda just turned around and looked at my teachers and was like, is this really happening?  or am I just daydreaming or something?"

Lena McGinley has been Faust's teacher from day one. She was in Wexford, Ireland for the world open competition, with a team of dancers from her school in Lemoyne.

"He has beautiful feet," she said of Faust. "They just flutter above the ground. And when he's on, he's on."

Back home in Middletown, Faust's mom couldn't believe the news.
 
"I screamed at the top of my lungs and my neighbors looked at me like I was crazy," Linda Jo Fuast said. "There are no words."

Through every level of competition and exhibition, Faust's family was there to cheer him on. But missing from Faust's big moment in Ireland  was his number one cheerleader -- his dad.  

Donald Faust died two weeks before the competition, on Garrett Faust's 15th birthday. 

"I made a pact in my heart that I would try my hardest and work my hardest to get that title, just for him," he said. 

His dad was stage-side last year when Garrett Faust captured the North American title.

"I can feel his presence every time. He brings good luck to me. Without my dad, I couldn't focus.  I couldn't do as well," he said. 

But Faust said winning is not a one person effort. He credits his fellow dancers with sharing a genuine team spirit.  At competitions, they shout cheers and shed tears for each other.

"We feel like we're brothers and sisters. We feel like we're related, even though we're not. We're that close."

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