Penn State news by
Penn State's student blog

Topics

More

Matt Zanellato Works To Increase Football Team’s THON Involvement

Matt Zanellato hadn’t heard of THON before his freshman year at Penn State, but when the 6-foot-3 junior wide receiver walked into the Bryce Jordan Center for his first THON three years ago, he was hooked. It was a message he relayed to coach James Franklin earlier this year.

“I had no idea about THON until I got here,” he said at Saturday afternoon’s annual Penn State football THON event, the THON explorers program at the Lasch building. “You can try to explain THON, but until you walk into the BJC, you really have no idea what it means.”

Zanellato then made it his mission to try to increase the football’s teams involvement in the annual event.

“At the end of the day we can do so much more through THON,” he said. “Football and THON are two of the biggest things at Penn State. That’s one of those things that I’ve taken the leadership in.”

Zanellato’s tried to dance in THON the past two years, but hasn’t been accepted. He said he’s considering one more effort for his senior year. One Saturday, at the football team’s event, he served as the unofficial player emcee, introducing himself and making several remarks about the efforts of his team and himself. Zanellato and his teammates led approximately 30 THON families around the Lasch facilities.

“It’s like a 1.5 million dollar jungle gym to them,” he said. “To see them run around, it’s a great time for them. I think it’s one of those moments where they’re truly just kids.”

Zanellato has been on the floor for the last several years, and has grown especially close to the football team’s families and children. He shared a story in which one of the older THON children, who had been at THON the previous year, was now too big to be hoisted on shoulders for water gun fights, a previously favorite activity.

But Zanellato’s football strength allowed him to lift the young child onto his shoulders. “We were the tallest combination on the floor at that point, it was a great moment,” he said.

Zanellato will again be on the THON floor for the student-athlete talent show Saturday night.

Your ad blocker is on.

Please choose an option below.

Sign up for our e-mail newsletter:
OR
Support quality journalism:
Purchase a Subscription!

About the Author

Ben Berkman

State College, PA

Follow on Another Platform
113kFollowers
157kFollowers
57.3kFollowers
4,570Subscribers
State College Links
Other posts by Ben

Nassib Healthy To ‘Kick Some Ass,’ Johnson And Hackenberg Seek Pro Evaluations

James Franklin made two things clear before the Lions travel South: Carl Nassib is 100 percent healthy for a game for the first time in more than a month, and Christian Hackenberg and Austin Johnson have both applied for draft evaluations from the NFL.

Gameday Observations: Return To Rec

Penn State Stomps Canisius, 81-67, In First Of Two Rec Hall Showdowns

Five Prominent Penn State Athletics Employees No Longer In Staff Directory

An Athletics spokesperson confirmed there have been “recent staff changes” but didn’t give names or specific details.

Five Prominent Penn State Athletics Employees No Longer In Staff Directory

An Athletics spokesperson confirmed there have been “recent staff changes” but didn’t give names or specific details.

From Food Network To Happy Valley: Chef Gillian Clark Puts A French Spin On The Classic Diner

“Rather than kind of dig up a dinosaur, we thought we would do something a little bit more creative that gave us the ability to make some interesting food that’s a little bit upscale.”

Your Complete THON 2023 Dancer List

From 6 p.m. on Friday, February 17, to 4 p.m. on Sunday, February 19, 707 students will dance in THON and help raise money for pediatric cancer research.