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Athletes and dancers team up for charity fundraiser

by Paul Cifonelli - Staff Writer
Tue, Apr 23rd 2019 03:10 pm
Senior Liam O'Leary (left) and senior Charlie Serino (right) reenact a scene from `Blades of Glory.`
Senior Liam O'Leary (left) and senior Charlie Serino (right) reenact a scene from "Blades of Glory."
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The volume level inside the Jim and John Vlogianitis Gymnasium is always high in scale when The College at Brockport men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball teams play, but it does not compare to the roars produced this past Thursday, April 18. In an effort to raise money for charities people came out in droves to watch Brockport’s student-athletes bust a move in the ninth annual, Dancing with the Athletes.

Dancing with the Athletes is an event put on by the school’s athletic department. The event had eight groups participate, with each group consisting of two to three athletes and two students from the dance department. The groups had a few weeks to plan and practice their desired routines before the event.

The first group to perform consisted of athletes from the men’s swimming and women’s cross-country teams. They danced to a mashup of songs from “Hannah Montana.” The men’s soccer and women’s track teams followed that up by performing to music from “The Incredibles.” Men’s track and women’s lacrosse had the lead at intermission with their performances to Queen’s greatest hits from the movie, “Bohemian Rhapsody.” The last performance before the intermission was by the first group of three teams. Members of the men’s cross-country, women’s basketball and tennis teams chose the track from “Space Jam.”

After the intermission, the eventual winners went first. The baseball and women’s soccer teams, danced to songs from several different movies, including “Titanic,” “Footloose” and “Blades of Glory.” That was followed up by the second highest score of the day. The football, softball and volleyball teams performed to music from the “High School Musical” series. Music from “Shrek” was playing next as the wrestlers, gymnasts and field hockey players did their best to take first place. The final performance of the night was done by members of the ice hockey and women’s swimming teams which danced to songs from the movie, “Pitch Perfect.”

When the final scores were given by the judges, the baseball and women’s soccer group was the only one that was able to achieve a perfect score. The baseball players in the group were junior Ryan Greco, senior Charlie Serino and senior Liam O’Leary. Junior Kimberly Lubanski and freshman Sally Rose Holden represented the women’s soccer team, while Kristen Wegman and Adrianna Grieco were the group’s members of the dance department. Their routine was the longest of the night, lasting nearly six minutes and thirty seconds. In a performance that included many costume changes, Serino and O’Leary put on roller blades and skated around the gym to the music from “Blades of Glory.” After the event, many members of the group were still tired, including O’Leary.

“It was long, I was drenched,” O’Leary said. “I’ve never really done anything like it before, so I’m shot right now.”

The athletes were not the only people involved in the event who had a good time. Two of the four judges took some time from their current season to be at the event. Women’s lacrosse head coach Stephen Wagner and assistant baseball coach Nick Pontari judged the event and enjoyed it. Pontari did not expect to see what he saw, especially in his players on the winning team.

“Absolutely not,” Pontari said. “Not out of my team anyways. I’ve known those three for four years and I didn’t know they could rollerblade. I didn’t know how much effort they put into that fifteen-minute dance routine. It felt like the longest one.”

While the performances took center stage, Dancing with the Athletes is more than just an event. The athletes select a charity that they would like to represent at the event. All the money that is raised at the event is donated to the charity that is represented by the winning team. With around 650 people in attendance, there was over $1,700 raised. The winning charity was the Golisano Children’s Hospital. The athletics department has done things with the hospital before, which O’Leary said helped them choose the organization.

“We reached out to Golisano’s,” O’Leary said. “We just wanted to continue to give back to them. Our gymnastics team did a lot of good stuff with them in the winter. We got to give them some cards to wish them ‘Merry Christmas,’ so it was great to keep giving back to them.”

The support for Dancing with the Athletes has progressively become larger. In its ninth year, the event received its highest attendance yet with students, faculty and staff filling nearly three-quarters of the bleachers. 

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Taken by Vincent Croce:
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