Penn State Softball’s Kristina Brackpool Gets Her Chance To Dance In THON
Prior to THON 2018, Kristina Brackpool had never been to the annual 46-hour dance marathon before. Not only will she be in attendance for the first time, the fifth-year senior is also a dancer — quite the experience for your first time in the Bryce Jordan Center for the event.
She’s been involved in THON in some capacity for the past couple of years and watches yearly on the live stream, so why is this her first opportunity to experience the event?
As a member of the Penn State softball team, Brackpool and her teammates would open their season every year right around THON. Like many of the other spring sport athletes, the search for warm weather in the winter months means they might never get the chance to see THON in person during their time as students.
Brackpool, who finished up her four years of eligibility as a consistent starter throughout her tenure and the Nittany Lions’ ninth all-time leading home-run hitter, used her year without the sport to get her chance.
“My friend, Hannah, who is my independent partner, she asked me one day ‘do you want to dance in THON?’ Just on a whim,” Brackpool said. “I was like ‘absolutely.’ In my mind, it was just like I didn’t think anyone would want to or be around to dance with me.”
“One of my best friends danced our sophomore year and said it was like the best experience of her life,” Brackpool said. “I said ‘I’m not playing anymore, I have to do it.’ It was like a dream come true, it’s amazing.”
Brackpool is one of seven athletes dancing in THON 2018. Five of those dancers are members of SAAB, the Student-Athlete Advisory Board, which she was part of in her freshman and sophomore years. However, not with an org, her partner and she would have to raise enough money to make it into the independent dancer lottery.
They spent a lot of time in Hannah’s native Pittsburgh canvasing and also participated in the donor drive. It all came down to the selection day and the duo received their email from THON.
“We both got the email. Hannah texted me and we met up and read the email together right outside the HUB. It was awesome. It was just an amazing experience,” Brackpool said.
With THON weekend finally here, Brackpool doesn’t need to watch the event on a laptop with her teammates down in Florida, Georgia, or North Carolina anymore. She’ll get here chance to live it.
“I’m really excited, there’s a lot going on,” Brackpool said. “It’s definitely tiring and it’s hard, but it’s so much fun. The atmosphere here is just amazing.”