Goshen College hosted its annual Kick-Off competition on Saturday, Sept. 24, in Sauder Concert Hall.

Kick-Off is a long-standing tradition that allows students to showcase their talents. The 12 acts featured included a stand-up comedy routine, interpretive dancing and a wide variety of musical acts — all performed for a crowd of students and staff that often jumped to their feet to clap and dance. 

The theme for this year’s event was black and white, and many attendees could be spotted following the theme with their outfits.

The Campus Activities Council (CAC) created a list of faculty members with strong student relationships and tried to find people that have not judged in the past.

This year, the judges for the competition were: Lauren Ford, the head men’s volleyball coach; Gilberto Perez Jr., vice president of student life; and Ryan Sensenig, professor of biological and environmental science.

Abby King, student activities coordinator, worked to organize the event for the first time in her new role. 

“When I was a Goshen College student, I thoroughly enjoyed Kick-Off,” King said.“When I took on my role as student activities coordinator, I knew that Kick-Off was going to be a big project for me and my staff. I was quite intimidated, to be honest.”

King noted many things needed coordinating, including publicity, technology, lighting needs, stage and house management, decorations, and much more. 

In the end, though, she said the show ran smoothly, and she was happy with the final product.

“So many of the performers this year [had] incredible stage presence. They [didn’t] just sing — they performed,” said King.

Some acts were familiar with the Kick-Off stage, like Goshen Panic and the Runaways, who performed last year.

Aysia Adkins, a first-year music major, took home the first-place trophy for her rendition of “Burn” from the musical “Hamilton.”

“I am super grateful to win Kick-Off, and being a first-year makes it even more gratifying,” she said.

“[Kick-Off] was the biggest audience I’ve ever performed a solo in front of,” Adkins added. “The  love I received from everyone gave the performance so much more life.”

Phillip Witmer-Rich was awarded second place for his performance of Frank Sinatra’s “My Way.” 

Initially nervous, partly because Witmer-Rich found what he described as a “sparkly” and “crazy” outfit at Goodwill six hours prior; he soon felt a sense of relief from the crowd’s immediate support.

“I was proud to come in second,” said Witmer-Rich. “I’d love to win in the future, but Aysia’s performance was absolutely deserving.”

Goshen Panic took home third place with a band mash-up of “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen and “INDUSTRY BABY” by Lil Nas X.