Courtesy of Program Board’s Facebook Page
By Theresa Whitfield
Energy was high Saturday night in the Pryzbyla Center Great Rooms where students gathered to watch their friends compete in Program Board’s annual Mr. CUA competition. The theme for this year was “The Bachelor Mr. CUA,” inspired by ABC’s hit reality show The Bachelor. While the competition was fierce, first place was ultimately awarded to senior Joe McAlonan.
Mr. CUA, along with Mistletoe Ball, is one of Program Board’s biggest events. Over 400 students attended the event, a high number in comparison to the 100-150 students that usually attend their regularly weekly scheduled events. Surprisingly, a freshman management major, Dom Decker planned this event. It is not typical that such a large event is given to a freshman to plan, however Decker had prior experience as he had planned the same event for his high school as well.
The night featured a wide variety of personalities and talents. The contestants were Ethan Stickler, Joe Keller, Steve Cypher, Mike Dreitlein, Kyle Kreuscher, JP Swift, Brian O’Malley, and Joe McAlonan. The emcees were Alex Szymanski and Cecilia Bracey.
To begin the night, each contestant had an introductory video accompanied by their own unique entrance. In some of the more memorable entrances, Keller sashayed across the stage donning a purple crushed velvet suit, while Dreitlein, draped in the American flag, was escorted by a posse of the track and field team.
In true Bachelor form, one lucky contestant was given a first impression rose. A QR code that the audience members could scan appeared on the projectors, and after scanning, they were led to a Google form to vote for who they thought deserved the rose. Joe McAlonan was quickly determined to be the fan favorite.
After the introduction, the talent portion of the night began. Swift, who warmed hearts in his opening video when he said he “just likes making people smile,” displayed a science experiment and made giant bubbles. Cypher, an Air Force ROTC cadet, inspired waves of patriotism in the crowd as many stood up and joined him in singing Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the U.S.A.”
Keller performed menial tasks queued to intense background music which he called “telekinesis magic,” but his real talent was enthralling the audience with his stage presence. Dreitlein staged “supernatural powers” of teleportation with the help of his teammate and identical twin, Max Dreitlein. Stickler sported a curly blonde wig and channeled Bob Ross as he sped-painted a picture of Jesus.
An unforgettable part of the night occurred about halfway through the rounds. After both contestants from the swim team, Keller and Kreuscher, were eliminated, a large portion of the swim team and other friends of the contestants that were in attendance walked out. While this was intended to be an act of solidarity with their teammates, many members of the audience found this to be disrespectful and booed as they walked out.
The competition came down to McAlonan and Cypher, and their final task was to dance to the viral TikTok song, “Renegade.” Both made valiant efforts, but in the end, McAlonan came out victorious.
The crowd erupted into cheers once McAlonan’s name was called and he was crowned “Mr. CUA 2020.” McAlonan was ecstatic once he heard the news.
“My sister told me if I didn’t win Mr. CUA, not to bother coming home,” McAlonan joked. “I’ve never felt this good in my entire life.”