The Pep Rally is one of the most anticipated events of THON weekend every year.
The Nittany Lion kicked off this year’s Pep Rally, dancing to a medley of songs that included One Direction’s “Best Song Ever” and Lil Jon’s “Turn Down For What.” In addition to dancing, the Lion showed off his usual acrobatics, as pictured below.
Next up on stage was Penn State Men’s Basketball head coach Pat Chambers to introduce honorary emcee Bryce Carter, who has been cancer-free for 18 months.
In usual fashion, Coach Chambers offered encouraging words for the dancers and volunteers before introducing the student athlete performances.
“You are all truly inspirational to people all around the world,” he said. “We are Penn State! And be damn proud of it.”
The first team to perform was the two-time national champion Penn State Lionettes, who danced alongside their THON child, Ashley Fazekas.
Next up was Penn State Men’s Gymnastics, dancing to Justin Timberlake’s “Rock Your Body.” Their incredible athleticism impressed the crowd and certainly helped their routine. One stunt actually involved all the members doing the worm at once, and since I’m having a hard time explaining it, let me just tell you — it was worth seeing. They were the early crowd favorites.
Penn State Women’s Tennis was up next after a video message from Women’s Swimming and Diving, who couldn’t attend due to a meet. The women’s tennis routine was well-enjoyed by the crowd, as it was later revealed that there was a guy dressed in drag performing with them, who ended up being a dancer in THON. They finished off their routine with a kick line, a la The Lionettes.
The 2013 National Champion Penn State Women’s Volleyball team was up to the stage next after a video from Track and Field. The volleyball team came out in colorful tutus dancing to a mashup of 90’s songs including “I Want It That Way” by the Backstreet Boys. At this point, it is safe to say that the unofficial theme of THON 2014 is the 90’s.
Ashley Fazekas came out on stage to announce the next team—which she said is her favorite—the Men’s Basketball team. The team came out with what I am assuming is their favorite accessory, a basketball. The crowd loved Tim Frazier’s freestyle near the end of the routine.
Women’s Field Hockey started their routine by throwing up their diamonds, after another video message from Women’s Basketball. The field hockey team had members dressed as a Teletubby, a whoopee cushion, and a banana, because…why not?
Next up was the Fencing team dancing to a THON favorite — “Dirty Pop” by ‘NSYNC. The routine got everyone in the crowd singing along and dancing.
Men’s Lacrosse, who just beat Duke today, spoke to the crowd in a video message. After that, Men’s Soccer came onstage in neon crop tops and black leggings, much to the shock of the crowd. They did the worm to “Get Busy” by Sean Paul and ended their *suggestive* routine while throwing one of the players into a flip.
Women’s Golf was up next after a message from the Softball team. They came out in neon shirts dancing to to the Space Jam theme song. Their shirts spelled out “For the Kids” on the back, which they revealed at the end of their routine drawing cheers from the crowd.
After a brief video message from Men’s Hockey, coming off their win against Michigan, Women’s Lacrosse came out dancing to Beyonce’s song “Love On Top.” Their routine was well-choreographed and the crowd loved it.
Women’s Soccer was up next, dancing and doing the wobble to MC Hammer’s “Can’t Touch This.” After that was a quick video from Women’s Gymnastics.
P.J. Mullen started off his next introduction by asking the crowd, “How do you feel about Coach Franklin?” The crowd went insane with a positive response of cheering and screaming. The football team (albeit without its coach) entered the stage dancing to “Run It” by Chris Brown, and a favorite “Tubthumping.” They ended their routine by dancing off the stage.
Finally, it was time for the moment everyone was waiting for. Last year’s champion Men’s Swimming and favorite to win this year certainly didn’t disappoint. The crowd was the loudest they’ve been during the entire pep rally during this performance. The team did lots of flips, and ripped off their black shirts to reveal neon tank tops, and the crowd went insane during their dancing to “Toxic.” Their routine ended with some swimmers doing handstands revealing that “THON FTK” was written on their stomachs.
The top three team performances tonight was Men’s Swimming, Women’s Tennis, and Men’s Gymnastics and the winner was be determined by a crowd vote, easily taken by swimming.
The Pep Rally came to an end with a performance from the Blue Band, featuring the Silks, Majorettes, and Feature Twirler Matt Freeman.