Ella Wheeler, daughter of former Madison residents Jason and Tamara Wheeler, was among six students from Donna Mueller's School of Dance who earned their way to compete at Dance America's Dancer of the Year competition held at Disney World in Orlando, Fla. in July.

Wheeler, 9, of Minooka, Ill., competed in the petite division, against other girls between the ages of 7 and 11. She claimed a first-place trophy with her hip-hop solo, "Hey Hey Hey."

In addition to the individual dances, the dancers also are judged for a spot in the top 13 overall. The score to make it into the top 13 is based 60 percent on the dancer's solo, 30 percent on a dance combo they learn and perform with all the dancers in their age group, and 10 percent on an interview with judges. Wheeler was named 7th runner-up in her division at the national competition.

She is the granddaughter of Betty and Ira Todd, and Nancy Wheeler, all of Madison, and the late John Wheeler.