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Talent show crowns WSL champions

The West Sequoia League (WSL) took on an iconic franchise with their annual talent show, “Valley’s Got Talent.” Fresno Christian hosted the Feb. 25 event in Ground Zero, which featured 16 musical and dancing acts from seven schools. Caruthers High singer Hunter Larsen took home first place and $75 in prize money.

The talent show, which has traveled to other division schools before finishing on campus, awarded students in two categories. Duet Marissa Suarez and Natalie Garcia from Caruthers took second to Larsen, earning $50; and FC senior Amanda Edwards took third ($25) for her dance routine.

In the other division, drum soloist Jacob Phelen from Firebaugh High took third place ($25), and an acoustic guitar duet Arik Meraz and Abel Lumz from Dos Palos High won second ($50). The eight member Mendota High drum line was awarded first place but will need to share the $75 prize.

In addition to Edwards, FC seniors Chelsea Wathen and Nick Methgen participated in the talent show. Edwards says the serialized event provided social as well as performance benefit.

“It feels great to get third, but I’m really glad the other two got first and second,” Edwards said. “They were really great and had beautiful voices. The whole experience was really fun, because I really got to know everybody.”

After performing her routine several times at different schools, Edwards says a “home field advantage” led her to improvise.

“I actually added some things I’ve never practiced before that I just thought of,” Edwards said. “Overall, I’m happy with my performance.”

Judge and volleyball coach David Tatum says that amid the field, Larsen stood out as a talented performer.

“The talent show was fun, and there were definitely some people with talent,” Tatum said. “Hunter had some great vocals. I also loved the drum line and the band Goosed. It was great that the crowd got into it; it was nice to see the high school talent.”

Wathen, who has danced with Larsen for three years at The Dance Studio of Fresno, says Larsen’s achievement in the talent show is only one example of her many skills.

“I was happy that Hunter won because she is so sweet, very outgoing, incredibly talented and well-rounded,” Wathen said. “It amazes me how one girl can get good grades, dance, sing, act and cheer all year round.”

Although not every act was met with pleasure, many students vouched for the overall success of the 10th annual event.

“I was pleasantly surprised at all the good singers,” audience member Olyvia Franklin, ’10, said. “Usually the singing is a little boring. Overall, this year was really good. I didn’t have a favorite contestant, they were all awesome.”

The members of the Mendota drum line, who have worked together for three years, counted school spirit as a motivator for their success.

“Dos Palos had the power of the Broncos, Tranquillity High had the power of the Tigers, Firebaugh had the fight of the Eagle, but we’re a force that has all three: Aztecs!” Philipe Betran, the quad player for the drum line, said. “The best part of winning is the pride.”

Please return to this article for a full slide slow of talent show contestants, or check out the fun-n-photo section.

For more information, read the Feb. 24 article, FC to host WSL talent show finale or read the Feb. 26, 2009 article, “Talent show crowns musical contestants.”

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