Gorgas Wins Mr. Rhody

Rhode Island football freshman Hunter Gorgas was named “Mr. Rhody 2018” Monday night, after winning the annual pageant held by the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC).  

Each year, contestants from the Rhody men’s teams are invited to compete for the highly-coveted title of Mr. Rhody and are judged on three separate categories: “dress to impress”, interview and talent. Three guest judges, as selected and invited by SAAC, then deliberate to determine the winner. Last year, a “Fan Favorite” category was introduced to the competition; whichever contestant receives the most likes on the @URI_SAAC Instagram account earns this separate title. This year, Gorgas won both.

“Honestly, I wanted Hunter to win from the beginning. He was so smiley,” SAAC President Sheila Plunkett said. “I thought he did so well with his performance and I was excited that the judges chose him.” 

Gorgas, adorned in a leather jacket, returned to the stage after nailing the interview round with a guitar in hand.  The 6’6” tight end proceeded to perform a seamless mashup of Khalid’s “Young, Dumb and Broke” and “Thunder” by Imagine Dragons. It only took about ten seconds of him singing for the crowd to join in, clapping along. 

“I was really excited because, for me, it was a new place to perform in front of a new audience,” Gorgas said. “I just saw this as an opportunity and hoped that they liked me. I wasn’t really nervous.”

Gorgas, who has been playing guitar since the third grade, is no stranger to performing. Growing up, he developed an interest in singing and continues to teach himself chords. He has participated in numerous talent shows and even sang at his graduation from St. John’s this past spring. 

“A few of my buddies and I had the opportunity to perform a worship song at our graduation,” Gorgas said. “It was in the College of the Holy Cross’ Gym, in front of all 200 members of my graduating class and their families. It was fun to perform that kind of music because the vocals have such a big part.”

While Gorgas’ experience definitely helped him win over the hearts of both the judges and the fans, the other contestants had a great showing. Baseball’s John Cristino, track & field’s Maxwell Dickens and soccer’s Stavros Zarokostas proved their ability to work a crowd, as well.

“I love those guys,” Gorgas said. “I didn’t know any of them before that night, I had only met a few of them in passing. But we were just hanging out backstage and having fun.” 

At the end of the night, upon being crowned Mr. Rhody and named as the “Fan Favorite”, Gorgas only had one thing to say: “I’m going to Disney World!”