Penn State’s Athletes Can’t Always Make It To THON, But Still Play FTK

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With the Pep Rally just around the corner Saturday night in the BJC, the athletes that make up Penn State’s touted athletic program are getting ready to pump up the capacity crowd.

Unfortunately, not all of Penn State’s athletes get the chance to participate in the Pep Rally with spring sports just getting started and many teams scheduled to have games or be on the road.

In 2017, the Pep Rally will be missing baseball, softball, wrestling, women’s swimming, and women’s gymnastics among others on the list of teams on the road, while men’s hockey and men’s volleyball will miss the Pep Rally with games scheduled in State College at the same time.

For most sports, missing the Pep Rally or the entirety of THON weekend isn’t a regular occurrence. Other sports like baseball and softball aren’t so lucky — annually forced down south during this time of year to play in weather better suited for its sports.

“It really sucks to be honest,” softball pitcher Marlaina Laubach said. “THON is something that Penn State takes a lot of pride in and something that a lot of kids have a really great opportunity to take part in. It’s really unfortunate [that we can’t be there], but at the same time, we do have to recognize that we’re here for a reason and we are representing our university just like all of the kids at THON are representing the university.”

Laubach, softball’s SAAB representative and a former THON fundraising chair for the athletes’ organization, watches the events unfold from a distance with teammate Shelby Miller. The two seniors gather to watch the live stream each year wherever they are, especially for the Pep Rally.

Whether it’s an opportune time or not, Penn State’s teams know it’s their job to represent their school on the field.

“It’s hard because you want to be at THON,” softball coach Amanda Lehotak said. “But we think it’s our duty to play for THON, to represent Penn State, to represent the THON kids, and to make sure we play the right way because we’re very fortunate that we can play a game and play for this great university.”

If it’s the goal to play For The Kids this weekend, the softball team is giving them its best game — going 3-0 so far on Friday and Saturday with wins over Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech in Atlanta.

Photo By: Matt Sniegowski
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Steve Connelly

Steve Connelly is a junior majoring in PR and the Penn State news editor for Onward State. He is a proud native of the state of New Jersey, and yes, he is literal trash. He is a soccer fan, nap enthusiast, and chicken tender connoisseur. He tried to be a photographer once, but the only good thing that came out of it is a name for his future sports bar, The Blurry Zamboni. You can follow him on Twitter @slc2o (feel free to slide) and email him at [email protected]

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