Soccer Player, THON Dancer Angela Widlacki Going Strong At The BJC
In a few short years, a college visit turned into the weekend of a lifetime for Angela Widlacki. The redshirt defender for Erica Walsh and the National Champion Penn State women’s soccer team was in town when she was in high school, and the visit happened to be on THON weekend that year. She made a point to stop by, and the rest is history.
“At that point, I was like this is so cool,” Widlacki said on the floor of THON 2016. “Penn State is obviously the best. I decided at that point I wanted to be involved in it.”
Unfortunately, her collegiate soccer career has been derailed by injuries as her Penn State athletics bio says she has yet to play a game. She still is involved, however — she’s the head chair of the THON committee for the Student-Athlete Advisory Board (SAAB), the organization she’s dancing on the behalf of.
“We knew that we had four dancers guaranteed, but we asked any athlete who wants to dance in THON to raise the same amount as anyone else who’d be dancing, $2800, and based off of that the top four dancers who raised the most money got picked to go and I luckily made it,” she said.
SAAB’s four dancers in 2016 include Widlacki and her teammate Liisi Vink-Lainas, who are paired together for the weekend. The other pair is women’s tennis’ Emily Rivers and football’s Matt Zanellato.
So far through THON 2016, Widlacki says she’s having a good time and her favorite part is the line dance.
“I have no idea how long I’ve been here and I think I like that. It’s a blast, it’s been incredible.”
Though she wasn’t able to step on the soccer pitch for her school, she was with the program that won a National Championship, preparing and watching right next to the main contributors. She knows what it takes to be the best, but also understands the importance of THON.
“My story’s a little bit different, I’ve been injured a lot and I was injured this year so I wasn’t able to participate as a field player, but both things are totally different,” she said. “You have to put in work for each one. I guess for THON, I’d say it’s bigger than a National Championship. A child’s life is way more important than any trophy.”