Men’s Gymnastics Wins THON Pep Rally For Fourth Year In A Row With Electric Performance

The THON 2020 pep rally blazed on into the night in front of a White Out crowd at the Bryce Jordan Center, and men’s gymnastics came away victorious yet again, thanks to another incredible performance.

This year’s pep rally marks the second consecutive White Out, but a “150” was spelled out in the BJC crowd thanks select number seats being given orange shirts instead of the typical white. The number 150 signifies the 150th anniversary of the Penn State Alumni Association.

How It Happened

Blue Sapphire Gillian Brookes, Touch of Blue, the Blue Band, the Nittany Lion, the cheerleaders, and the Beaver Stadium Mic Man opened up the pep rally by coming out to “Welcome To The Jungle,” and performing a handful of songs including the Jonas Brothers’ “Sucker.” Both the Nittany Lion and mic man Eric Gaspich are actually dancing in THON, so it was big for them to still be able to get the crowd rockin’ up on stage.

Before the official performances kicked off, a short hype video played and the BJC crowd erupted into “Zombie Nation” right after. Electric. “All of The Lights” also quickly prompted a lit-up BJC. Pep rally host PJ Mullen took the stage and announced this year’s judges: Alumni Association president Paul Clifford and THON children Makenna and Brayden. National champion wrestler Bo Nickal was also in the house as a guest judge to surprise Brayden, who is a huge wrestling fan.

Women’s soccer was the first team to take the stage, and were greeted by a video from Penn State alumnae and World Cup champions Ali Krieger and Alyssa Naeher. They put together a smooth hip-hop performance and finished by vaulting Big Ten freshman of the year Ally Schlegel into the air.

Men’s tennis was up next. Donning pink headbands, the gem of their performance was a slow-motion, “Chariots on Fire” routine.

Men’s soccer absolutely stole the show, incorporating plenty of breathtaking acrobatics to fan favorite songs like “The Box” and “Lottery” (read: Renegade). The BJC was goin’ crazy for these boys in blue.

Next up was women’s golf, which had a groovy performance to songs like “All I Do is Win.” They also included hula-hoops in their routine, which was a special touch.

Men’s lacrosse, which played a game earlier on Saturday, appeared on stage wearing cowboy hats while jamming to AC/DS’s “Thunderstruck.” The team quickly changed things up, line-dancing to throwback classic “Tinder” by Ke$ha.

Hello, field hockey. The team jogged out onto the stage in groutfits to The Black Eyed Peas’ “Pump It,” but quickly switched gears into the Rocky theme song. They included acrobatics as well, doing some flips and lifting each other up to “We Dem Boyz” and “POWER.”

The theme of the night is “Go For Gold,” honoring Penn Staters who have participated in the olympics. So we took a short break at the BJC to appreciate a handful of olympians who came back to Happy Valley for THON.

Back to our regular scheduled programming. Women’s volleyball took the stage fitted’ up with white crop-top tees and red, white, and blue pants. They had big Olympic rings, an American flag, and a solid dance routine, holding true to the theme.

Before football took the stage, Pat Friermuth, Sean Clifford, and Micah Parsons took the stage to surprise the audience and J.D., the THON child on stage. They proceeded to lead a “We Are” chant and absolutely LAUNCH t-shirts into the crowd. No wonder these boys play football.

The football team soon got down to business, busting moves and hurdling each other to DMX’s “Party Up,” and forming a Rockette-esque line on stage. The performance had the BJC buzzin’, folks.

Next, men’s baseball and women’s softball addressed the crowd via a video message, as both teams are playing away games this weekend.

Women’s rugby busted moves to Missy Elliot’s “Lose Control,” and “Hit Dem Folks,” and even had a little bit of acrobatic action going on.

Men’s golf was up next and electrified the BJC crowd by ripping off grey pants to reveal highlighter-pink shorts underneath to “Pump It” by The Black Eyed Peas. They ended the performance by throwing up diamonds near the front of the stage.

Niki Nolte took the stage on behalf of the women’s swimming and diving team, of which she’s a member. The Penn State freshman is a cancer survivor, and she got a chance to introduce the men’s swim team.

The men’s swimming and diving team, also wearing American flag-themed pants and white shirts, put on a solid show. The team’s performance included moves to Kanye’s “Can’t Tell Me Nothing,” Jay Rock’s “Win,” and even “Sweet Victory” from Spongebob. They also busted out snorkles in a tarp, to make a mock swim practice.

Hello again, Nittany Lion. Beaver Stadium mic man Eric Gaspich introduced his good friend and fellow dancer, who proceeded to do 46 one-armed pushups on stage. Remember, he’s also dancing for 46 hours this weekend.

Women’s tennis took the stage after the Lion, and also pulled off a rip-off pant maneuver, revealing neon colored leggings underneath their original white pants. The team proceeded to put on a solid show, posing with splits and throwing up diamonds at the end.

And what event would be complete without a video message from Pat Chambers? The men’s basketball coach took to the video board to lead his classic “When I say go you say State” routine, as the team is on the road this weekend.

Women’s lacrosse followed suit, putting together an all-around impressive performance including the classic THON song “Wave Your Flag.”

Buckle up folks, men’s gymnastics followed. The team entered the weekend as the reigning back-to-back-to-back pep rally champions and took the stage holding up a No. 4. They wanted that fourth straight win. They started laying down, but quickly popped up and started doing some absurd stunts to ‘The Greatest Show,” “I Gotta Feeling,” and “Firework.” The acrobatics they pulled off are hard to put into words. They killed it, plain and simple.

Really, the only team that could follow men’s gymnastics could be the three-time national champion Lionettes to take the stage. They opened things up with a classic Renegade, with help from the Lion. They then proceeded to do what they do best, the leg kick. With help from the Migos’ “Walk It Like I Talk It,” they got the crowd going as always.

That was it in terms of performances. The judges announced that they chose men’s gymnastics and women’s volleyball as the finalists. Each performed their routines again.

The men’s gymnastics second performance was just as electric as the first, flipping and twisting and whatever the other stuff is called-ing around stage. It looked sick, they started breakdancing, and the crowd loved it.

The American flag pant-wearing ladies once again bopped popped and locked around stage with olympic rings and American flag. They incorporated “Here Comes The Boom” into their performance along with short audio clips from the late Kobe Bryant.

After the two final performances, the judges deliberated and then asked the crowd to cheer the loudest for who they thought took the cake. Nickal said the cheers were too close to call, so they asked the BJC to roar again for the best team. Makenna eventually gave the winning trophy to men’s gymnastic, to the delight of the Jordan Center.

That’s now four years in a row men’s gymnastics has taken the crown as pep rally champion, and again is a THON record. Congratulations gentlemen, and to all teams involved.

And to cap things off, the BJC came together and linked arms for the singing of the alma mater. Pretty incredible stuff all around.

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About the Author

Ryan Parsons

Ryan is a redshirt senior majoring in business and journalism from "Philadelphia" and mostly writes about football nowadays. You can follow him on Twitter @rjparsons9 or say hi via email at [email protected].

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