Pittsburg State athletes showed a fuller range of their abilities Thursday night in the Gorillas Got Talent fundraiser at Whetzel Court/John Lance Arena.

Pittsburg State athletes showed a fuller range of their abilities Thursday night in the Gorillas Got Talent fundraiser at Whetzel Court/John Lance Arena.

The event raised over $600 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the athletes entertained the crowd with singing, dancing, cheerleading, juggling and even some acting.

“We had a monthly meeting and we were trying to figure out some fundraising ideas,” Student-Athlete Advisory Committee vice-president and baseball pitcher Dustin Ulrich said. “We came up with Make-A-Wish. We’ve worked with Make-A-Wish before and we decided to do something fun for athletes because everybody’s always busy with sports. We tried to relax everybody so we came up with the Gorillas Got Talent.”

Baseball season does not officially start until Feb. 16 against Maryville (Mo.) but members of the baseball team won the competition Thursday night with their combination dance, cheer and basketball routine. Ulrich talked about both the genesis and what went into the winning act.

“We got 10 guys together and we were like ‘What do we want to do?’ We came up with a retro basketball old school pump up Space Jam music theme and we just kind of made it up as we went. We practiced Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and we practiced a couple hours every night and came up with a good routine.”

Deron Washington, a defensive back on the football team, referenced his acting experience and received a little help from his friend and cross country-track athlete Devon Young during the improvisational act.

Washington and Young solicited the audience for suggestions and the audience suggested “Twilight.” Washington and Young, however, gave better performances than Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner.

“It was very fun out there, just trying to make people laugh and everything,” Washington said. “I knew it was going to be some kind of love story. I was guessing more ‘Romeo and Juliet.’”

After the show, Washington disclosed the full extent of his acting experience.
“I was in one play in my high school career but I only had two lines,” Washington said. “I was in ‘Hamlet’ but I was not Hamlet. I was a priest who had two lines.”
Young also discussed his thespian background.

“I got a little bit here and there,” Young said. “I did a couple plays but nothing too serious. I was more of the dancing guy.”

Washington was the lone wolf from the football team on stage Thursday.
“Since I was the football representative for (the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee), it was my job,” Washington said. “Nobody really wanted to do anything because football players, they’re just stubborn. I just decided to do something fun.”

New baseball head coach Matt Murray watched his winning team on stage.
“He didn’t get a chance to see us practice,” Ulrich said, “but he was fully supportive. He went around the entire community and put up flyers. He was all about it, he’s all about getting out in the community and having the community meet the baseball players. He was 100 percent supportive.”
Ulrich mentioned a couple of his favorite acts Thursday night.
“I liked the volleyball,” Ulrich said. “The volleyball was really clever. I thought the football player improv was fun.”