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    Student-Athlete Talents Take Center Stage For A Great Cause

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    Northwestern University's Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) hosted the school's first ever Student-Athlete Talent Show Tuesday night, May 3, showcasing off-the-field talents of athletes across six sports. Over 250 students and members of the Evanston community attended the event, and all proceeds went to support the Kathryn Mahoney Fund. A senior gymnast at Michigan State, Mahoney fractured her C6 vertebra in a practice accident in December 2010 and currently is continuing her rehabilitation at home in Western Springs, Ill.


    Hosted by senior softball player Michelle Batts and junior soccer player Christian Ludke, the show was set up American-Idol style, with a panel of judges that included head football coach Pat Fitzgerald, strength and conditioning coach Jay Hooten, Dean of Students Burgell Howard, and Manager of Business Development Amy Potter.


    Let's Get Down To Business

    The night began with senior field hockey player Katie Lynch and Andrew Bouverette, who weren't messing around with their rendition of Lynch's original song, "Someone to Come Home To." While Bouverette set the mood with a pair of macaranas, Lynch played acoustic guitar; the pair's beautiful harmonies meshed perfectly to complete an understated yet whimsical folk vibe.


    Going the Extra Mile

    Next up was senior cross country runner Madeline Rozwat and her friend Douglas Husking, a member of NU's own acapella group -- Freshman Fifteen. The pair sang a lovely rendition of "I Run To You" by Lady Antebellum, completely with on-stage chemistry and bubbly energy. The judges, however, said they wanted more "pizzazz."


    Arabian Nights

    Talk about a showstopper. The third act of the night featured junior soccer player John Rogers and sophomore lacrosse player Beatrice Conley. Decked out in white harem pants, a purple vest, and a red solo cup atop his head, Rogers began by painfully belting out the first verse of "A Whole New World" from Aladdin. Let's just say, Roger's better hope to find a magic lamp if he wishes to continue his singing career. The act was saved when Conley emerged as Jasmine -- with a voice fit for a Disney princess -- and the two began a duet of comedic Jekyll meets Hyde proportions.


    Teach Me How to Dougie?

    The show was then interrupted by a surprise act from junior soccer player Peter O'Neal, junior footballer Bo Cisek and academic advisor Davon Robb. While O'Neal attempted to serenade Judge Amy Potter with a sappy rendition of "My Girl" and Cisek rolled up his sleeves (to reveal his tattoo much to the chagrin of Judge Fitzgerald) and read Fitz's favorite song- Livin' On A Prayer- in poetic form, Robb tried to play bass decked out in a purple wig. The three were quickly interrupted by emcee Michelle Batts, who attempted to "teach" them the art of a good talent show act by pulling teammate Robin Thompson out of the audience for a 'Dougie' tutorial.


    2/5 of a Great Act

    Act five featured sophomore Jake Gregus and another member of his five-man band, The Have-Naughts. The duo performed their own original song, "Rising Sun," a mix of folk and rock musical genius, and the act was highlighted by a guitar solo in Judge Fitz's face! Duly noted is the fact that Gregus managed to get on stage with a casted broken foot and still rock out!


    Me, Myself, and I

    Next up was yours truly, Kristin Scharkey, with an acoustic cover of "Need" by Tyrone Wells. The performance was the second time I've played in front of an audience; my first being an open mic night at the Brothers K Coffee House last April. On both occasions, Batts has taken on the role of 'manager' in encouraging a singer who's usually too afraid to get in front of a crowd to do the shows. It was a privilege to play in honor of Kathryn Mahoney last night; she is truly the epitome of courage and an inspirational athlete.


    Click It Or Ticket

    The night ended when student-athletes turned Youtube sensations Pat Gibson and Michael Bolden staged a live performance of their viral music video, "The Seatbelt Dance." Although Coach Fitz had warned at the start of the show that he would walk out if he heard an utterance of  "seatbelts," he ended up staying to be highly entertained by Gibson and Bolden's antics. As they pranced and danced around stage, the duo closed the show with plenty of laughs and cheers from the audience.


    To see what all the fuss was about, check out "The Seatbelt Dance" on Youtube.


    Give My Regards to Broadway

    After the judge's scores had been tallied (and Hooten was through channeling his inner Simon Cowell), the winner of SAAC's Student-Athlete Talent Show 2011 was revealed to be a certain centerfielder with a blog called ScharkBytes.


    The highlight of my night, however, was having the opportunity to meet Mahoney, an athlete whom I have the deepest amount of respect for. Whenever I had started to get nervous before performing, I'd simply look out to the first row of the audience and find her gentle smile. I know I speak for all of my fellow NU student-athletes when I say that she is an inspiration, and I can think of no one better to honor than Mahoney with this show.


    Editor's Note From Scharkey: If you would like to make an additional donation to Kathryn's fund, donations can be sent directly to the credit union at Michigan State Federal Credit Union, 3777 West Road, PO Box 1208, East Lansing, MI, 48826 or to Kathie Klages at 312 Jenison Field House, East Lansing, MI 48824-1025. Checks can be made out to the "Kathryn Mahoney Fund." The account number is 398385-05; however, that doesn't have to be on the check. People can also call 517-333-2424 and make a deposit via virtual check at no cost. Thank you for your continued support of Kathryn!


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    Im wondering how much money was raised? Everything looked awesome, can't wait for next year

    Thanks for the question! The student-athletes raised exactly $1,000 through the talent show and related efforts.

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