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Student-Athlete Advisory Board raises more at 2009 talent show than in the previous two years combined

COLUMBUS, Ohio It was the second to last act that won the hearts of the crowd and judges at the third edition of the Ohio State student-athlete talent show Buckeyes Got Talent’ Wednesday night in St. John Arena. Ultimately, it was the men’s track team dancing in little black leotards and red leggings to Beyonce’s “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)” that won the 2009 trophy and bragging rights over Rat Pack’ crooner Evan Blankenship of the football team.

“After tying for first the past two years and finishing second, it feels good to finally tie for first and win in my last year,” Patrick Woods, a multi-event athlete for the track team, said.

Emcee of the evening, Kelsey Webb of WNIC’s Morning Zoo, warned the audience to get ready for the men’s track team and it turned out she was right.

The two acts had tied with scores of 49 out of 50 but the dancing squad of Taylor Candella, Elon Simms, Sklyer Schmitt, Stephen Robinson and Woods won the crowd’s approval in the tiebreaker to take the title over Blankenship, bow tie and all, who covered “Me and Mrs. Jones” with a solid set of pipes.

“It comes from the gut,” Blankenship, an offensive lineman for the Buckeyes, said. “And I’ve got a lot there.”

But, as always, the real winners of the evening were the members of the Boys and Girls Club of Columbus as the community service event raised more in 2009 than it had in the previous two years combined. At the conclusion of the show, the Ohio State Student-Athlete Advisory Board (SAAB) presented a check for $2,746 to a happy group of young people from the Boys and Girls Club of Columbus. In three years, SAAB has collected more than $5,340 for the club with their annual talent show.

McKayla, a seventh grader from Columbus, served on the judges panel with Channel 10’s Andrea Cambern, Ohio State Faculty Representative John Bruno, President of Safe Auto Insurance Jon Diamond and former track Buckeye and Olympian Stephanie Hightower. She also presented the winners with the trophy that will remain with the men’s track team until the fourth annual Buckeyes Got Talent’ next spring.

“This entire night has displayed talent from the top down,” Diamond said before giving his final score of the night to the men’s lacrosse team. The squad covered ZZ Top’s “Sharp Dressed Man” down to a tee, wearing long dark beards and black suits.

The women’s track team started the show off with a performance titled, “A Little Bit of This, Little Bit of That.” The ladies showed that running is not all they can do, proving they could compete with some of the best dance crews out there. The rifle team took it down a notch with an excellent display of musical talent as senior Steven Nozaki, a native of Hilo, Hawaii, jammed on the yukalaylee while rookie teammate Nick Novello of Valley Stream, N.Y., interrupted with some classic rock rifts.

Cory Leslie, a freshman on the2008 Buckeyes Got Talent’ champion men’s cross country team, showed two things in the skit called “Hidden Talents” he has quite a set of pipes and can concentrate even with a circus going on around him literally. The Sandusky Perkins High School graduate played the keyboard and sang Counting Crow’s “Holiday In Spain,” with a voice that received several “wows” from the audience, amidst his teammates performing circus acts on stage.

While all the opening acts were good, none had yet caught the attention of the judges who were holding back on the scoring in the early going.

Synchronized swimming brought the catwalk to St. John Arena as they introduced their new fashion concepts for Ohio State athletic apparel for the football, track, wrestling and baseball teams. With the help of male athletes, the synchro ladies were the first to introduce men in drag on the evening for a routine that was comical thanks to wrestling’s Nikko Triggas wearing heels.

Men’s soccer showed why many Ohio State students love the oval in the spring time. Geoff Marsh and Joe Moore dueled on their acoustic guitars to woo the “ladies” three of their teammates dressed up as sunny bathing beauties. Spring is in the air. The act was well received and earned a score of 48.

The women’s gymnastics squad was well represented as the entire squad showed how precise they can be with an outstanding “Rockettes” performance to Ohio State athletic themed songs.

Cheerleading followed with their tribute to Britney Spears called the “Evolution of Britney Spears.” From her innocent youth to her current status, the cheerleaders combined dancing, lip-synching and comedy for a routine that earned them 48 points, including four perfect 10s.

Wrestling, which won the title in 2007, turned in another great performance, a synchronized swimming tribute impersonation. Set behind a well crafted “water” display, the team choreographed a routine that earned them a score of 46 and a good round of applause from the crowd which included Gordon Gee, Ohio State University President, and Gene Smith, Ohio State University Associate Vice President and Director of Athletics.

Women’s lacrosse showed their dance moves as they paid homage to one of their favorite television shows, “America’s Best Dance Crew.” Three teams battled for the best dance team honor with one team evening using their lacrosse sticks to their advantage.

But no act could stand up to the next two that followed. Blankenship, dressed in a classic black suit, bowtie and sunglasses crooned “Me and Mrs. Jones” to which judge Hightower told Blankenship, I’d be your Mrs. Jones.’ His score of 49 would be matched in the following act with the “Single Ladies” performance and the rest was history.