Last night, instead of wearing lacrosse cleats on the field, Chad Rafferty found himself wearing an elf hat and standing onstage at Comcast Pavilion.
The freshman defender on the Terrapins men’s lacrosse team and his teammate Isaiah Davis-Allen, a freshman midfielder, were set to dance to “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”
The dance routine was one of 17 acts featuring basketball players, gymnasts, runners and other student-athletes who competed in the first Terps Got Talent Student-Athlete Talent Show. The talent show, hosted by the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, benefited the American Cancer Society.
Performers competed in front of five judges: former men’s basketball guard and current assistant coach Juan Dixon, former track and field athlete Robert Duru, Terrapin Club President Marlene Feldman, Colleges Against Cancer executive Julia Ring and Testudo.
“I knew that it would be a ton of fun to be able to bond with the team and win a trophy,” said Alex Anthony, a freshman women’s soccer forward who participated in a dance routine with her teammates. “This is nerve-racking because it’s not something you’re used to. When you’re playing, you’re just excited.”
The acts were silly and entertaining, said Will Likely, a freshman football defensive back who attended the event. He said he liked watching performers showcase their talents in areas outside athletics.
“It’s a great way to help support the cause of cancer while having fun before the semester ends,” Likely said.
Skits ranged from dance or step routines and lip-synch performances to drum solos and synchronized swimming acts.
But it was a hip-hop interpretative dance and electronic violin routine by Jordan Simmons and Noella Anyangwe, sophomore sprinters on the women’s track and field team, that won over the judges and crowd. Simmons’ dance and Anyangwe’s performance ended with a standing ovation from the crowd of about 620 people.
“I was honestly surprised,” Simmons said.
For Simmons, the talent show was more than just an entertaining way to spend an evening at the end of the semester; it was a way to honor and celebrate a friend from her dance school who died of cancer in 2006.
“We all have some connection to this disease,” Ring told the crowd.
The show’s underlying goal — to raise money for cancer research — motivated many of the athletes to get involved. They raised about $3,130.
With busy game and practice schedules, some athletes don’t have a chance to participate in other campus events such as Relay for Life, said Daniela Yaniv, a co-president of Colleges Against Cancer, a student organization that supports campus American Cancer Society events. Yaniv said the group hopes to make the talent show an annual event.
“I’m glad to help out such a great organization,” Rafferty said. “It was exciting.”