This past week, the YMCA held its National Gymnastics Championships for youth at the Century ll Convention Hall in downtown Wichita. The championships were held in the format of an Olympic event.
In addition to competing in various gymnastics competitions, participants heard from many different guest speakers and were visited by athletics mascots from around the Wichita area. The speakers and mascots were featured in the opening ceremony to support the gymnasts as they approached their competitions. Among those speaking was Head Men’s Basketball Coach Gregg Marshall from Wichita State University.
The event was emceed by Newman student Justin Ralph, who performed as “Jet Black,” a stage name Ralph adopted for the gymnastics championships.
“Jet Black is a mixture between ‘Maverick’ from ‘Top Gun’ and Jack Black,” Ralph said.
Ralph is a theater major with an emphasis in performing. He is also a member of the Campus Activity Board. Ralph is entering his senior year at Newman and will be involved with the theatre department’s productions. Ralph’s previous roles include Hamlet in Shakespeare’s “Hamlet,” and Emmett in “Legally Blonde: the Musical.”
Ralph is very involved in plays and activities around Wichita and has been acting since second grade. He said he was honored to have the opportunity to emcee at the gymnastics championships.
“I’ve been in Intrust Bank Arena for shows, but to actually be on stage and see myself on the jumbotron, that was crazy,” said Ralph.
Ralph said he hopes to continue acting as emcee for events. He said he also enjoys doing stand up. Ralph will appear at the Crown Uptown Theatre in Wichita in “Heathers: The Musical” July 9-11.
“This type of performance doesn’t get as much exposure as it should, so I’d love the opportunity to try something like this again,” Ralph said.