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Student-Athlete Dancers Ready For THON, Pep-Rally Showdown

The Student Athlete Advisory Board’s five dancers are prepped for the journey ahead. For a pair of those dancers, it will be for the second time.

Women’s soccer’s Megan Schafer and football’s Charlie Shuman are back for another 46 hours on the floor. They’ll be joined by women’s soccer’s Sarafina Valenti, field hockey’s Delani Higgins, and men’s golf’s Connor Raeman. There will also be two athlete dancers outside of SAAB — football’s Nick Scott and softball’s Kristina Brackpool.

Whether they’re newcomers or veterans, these athletes are excited for the opportunity and are ready for the experience that they’ll get this weekend.

“It means a lot of things. For the students participating in THON, I think it’s a nice 46-hour period for the whole student body of Penn State to take a minute and think about things a little bit bigger than them,” Raeman said.

“It’s just such a cool experience to see the community as a whole come together,” Schafer added.

The physical element of the event is a challenge for the 700+ students that take to the floor for 46 hours — even for Division I  athletes. Schafer has the benefit of experience heading into her second THON.

“This year’s a little different because I’m not as much with the soccer team anymore, but I’ve just been trying to run and stay hydrated and eat well and things like that,” Schafer said. “Because I did do it last year, I know what to expect. But this weekend is all about your mind over your body. It is going to hurt. Your feet are going to hurt and things like that, but we have moralers and dancer relation committee members that are helping you out through the weekend — making sure you’re stretching and hydrating.”

There are many experiences and different events through the 46 hours — ranging from the musical performances, to the line dance, slides of strength, and the all-anticipated moments in the Final Four.

The athletes, however, have a personal connection to one of the more popular events of the weekend — the Pep Rally. For those who are dancing for the first time, their first moment on the floor probably came during that Saturday night competition between the various teams of Penn State.

“It’s a huge deal. It’s a big event for the entire athletic community, but especially the team members rate it pretty high as far as bragging right events for the year,” Raeman said.

Raeman wasn’t giving any hints of what the men’s golf team’s performance will be this year, but he believes it’ll come down to his team and the women’s soccer team, who he said “always has great routines.”

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About the Author

Steve Connelly

Unfortunately, former editor Steve Connelly has graduated. Where is he now? He might be doing something related to that PR degree he got in 2019. Maybe he finally opened that sports bar named after one of his photos, the Blurry Zamboni. Or he might just be eating chicken tenders and couch surfing. Anything’s possible. If you really want to know, follow him on Twitter @slc2o.

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