Mr. Kempsville 2019: Wrestling, “California Gurls,” and Pink Princess Morphsuits


S. Riley Kight

Liam Besserer, Mr. Kempsville 2019, with his parents after the pageant.

S. Riley Kight, Social Media Manager

Mr. Kempsville 2019 started off with a bang on Friday, May 17, with all seven competitors, Zach Bennett, Liam Besserer, Carson Blythe, Andre Costict, Evan Gibson, Phillip Neiman, and Simeon Spence, getting up on stage and dancing it out to Katy Perry’s “California Gurls.”


Many of the contestants, including Besserer and Neiman, expressed that this dance was one of their favorite parts of the competition.


“The best part was getting to work with these guys that I honestly never thought would be brought together; a bunch of different personalities coming together for a dance was really funny, so that was the best – getting to know all them,” said Besserer, a senior at KHS.  


After the butt-shaking and push-ups ended, the candidates, judges, and emcees were introduced, and the “Express Yourself” section, where candidates showcased their favorite song and outfit, began, where Bennett, adorned in jewels, strutted across the stage to Alessia Cara’s “Scars To Your Beautiful,” Gibson rolled on the stage to “Tokyo Drift,” and Blythe showed off his Fortnite dance skills.


After a door prize giveaway and a surprise win from Mrs. George, it was time for the “Talent” section of the pageant.


Neiman, a freshman, said that getting to watch everyone practice their prepared talents for the very first time was his favorite part of preparing for the show, saying “…[The first time] it’s all flawed, so everyone’s doing it really bad [and] it’s really funny to watch.”


During the talent segment, performances ranged from air guitars – Besserer – to cartwheels – Bennett – to a comedy by Gibson, and ukulele playing by Blythe. The following performance was an audience favorite, as many people burst out laughing when Costict appeared in a bright pink morph suit, a matching tutu, and a tiara to top it all off, lip-syncing “break up with your girlfriend, I’m bored” by Ariana Grande, and twerking his way around the stage. Neiman finished the section with a wrestling match for the ages, throwing his opponent around, and having his fair share of being thrown around, Neiman stood victorious.

S. Riley Kight
Liam Besserer with Mr. Mosely, one of the emcees for Mr. Kempsville 2019.

During the performances, the audience cheered. “It’s something they don’t see their friends do normally, so it’s a cool showcase of their talents that they don’t usually, like, show to their friends,” said Ms. Kelly Swanner, a teacher and SCA sponsor who was running the event, on why she thinks students enjoy Mr. Kempsville so much.


Mr. Kempsville “is really a showcase of the students, and I think people like to watch their friends do it… it’s a cool event for them to come [and] support each other.”


Afterward came the “Formal” section, where each contestant escorted someone special to them. Bennett, Neiman, Gibson, and Blythe all accompanied their best friends, Besserer brought forward his sister, and Spence his mother; Costict ushered forward his best guy friend whom he scooped up like a princess.


The next event was the Audience Choice, where the guys had five minutes to collect as much money from audience members as they could in exchange for carnations. The hustling of the contestants resulted in over $650 to be donated to Relay for Life.


Then, the top three contestants: Liam Besserer, Andre Costict, and Phillip Neiman, were chosen. These three competed in a trivia challenge based on information they were given to study. All three made it through the first and second rounds, then a free-response question was asked: What is the fondest memory you’ve made at Kempsville?


Besserer talked about the teachers who inspired him, Costict shared the bonding experience of the State Swim Competition, and Neiman described the experience of the State Wrestling Competition.


After deliberation, the judges announced the winners. The Teacher’s Choice and Congeniality were won by Blythe, and the Student’s Choice went to Besserer, as did the Audience’s Choice.


Finally, the overall winner was crowned – the 2019 Mr. Kempsville: Liam Besserer.


All of the candidates congratulated Besserer and Blythe on their wins.  


After the show, Besserer said he was “getting a little nervous” when he saw Andre break out the Ariana Grande… that’s when my heart started racing,” and he wasn’t sure if he’d win.


Besserer said that he had planned to participate in Mr. Kempsville last year, during his junior year, but had decided not to.


“I backed out, [which was] kind of a wimp move, but this year I decided I might as well go out with a bang. [It’s] senior year, go get that crown!”