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THON 2023 Pep Rally Superlatives

Women’s lacrosse took gold at the THON 2023 Pep Rally, but plenty of other teams had noteworthy performances worthy of a ~superlative~. From hair flips to sequined jackets to kick lines, there was no lack of excitement to keep the Bryce Jordan Center fans on their feet.

In typical Onward State fashion, we broke down the best and the worst of each team’s performance.

The “Good Thing You Went First” Award: Women’s Volleyball

Great timing, women’s volleyball. Your choreography was great and the hoodie detail can’t be forgotten. It’s unfortunate that you repped the same outfits as women’s soccer, but it’s OK because you went first.

The Human Worm Award: Men’s Golf

Congratulations to men’s golf on receiving the Human Worm award. We’re not really sure what to call your awesome shoulder move other than the Human Worm.

The Lionettes Award: Women’s Gymnastics

“High School Musical” never misses, but a lack of originality detracts points from women’s gymnastics. Be true to your sport! While you pulled off the kick line, leave that to the Lionettes and they’ll leave the flips to you.

The Peter Mangione Award For The Best Attitude: Men’s Lacrosse

The sass of men’s soccer’s Peter Mangione was in the air for men’s lacrosse’s performance. Tank tops are usually a no go, but the lax bros surprisingly pulled off the look with a throwback theme. The ~attitude~ was strong and the synchronized “hit the folks” move was well done.

Justice for men’s lacrosse, fr.

The “Oops We Did It Again” Award For Wearing The Same Fit As Another Squad In Back-To-Back Years: Women’s Soccer

Women’s soccer’s performance HIT. Unfortunately, this is the second year in a row that the Big Ten Tournament champs hit the stage wearing nearly identical outfits as a competitor.

Women’s soccer did, in fact, have an epic transition from no shades to shades which caught the attention of the BJC.

The Justin Timberlake Denim Award: Men’s Fencing

A “Soulja Boy,” “Single Ladies,” and “Gangnam Style” compilation was original and unexpected, giving men’s fencing a leg up from the competition. Sadly though, we think the skinny jeans limited fencing’s performance. The thought was there, but the execution was lacking.

Best Theme: Women’s Golf

Women’s golf? More like Donna and the Dynamos.

The women’s golf squad hit the stage in bellbottoms and matching tees to the sounds of ABBA. With hair flips galore, this crew receives the Best Theme award for some serious planning and preparation.

Most Chaotic: Football


We’re shocked that it took someone so long to play “Just Wanna Rock,” but we’re glad it was football. The choreography was chaotic and a little overwhelming but still rocked the house.

Best Turnaround Time: Women’s Lacrosse

Women’s lacrosse was dubbed the champion of the 2023 Pep Rally, and for good reason. It’s worth mentioning that the team had a 3 p.m. matchup, secured the win, and then went 2-0 on the day in the Pep Rally just hours later.

Everybody loves a Taylor Swift remix, a good griddy, matching fits, and the worm. Missy Doherty’s gang let no crumbs.

The “You Always Slay No Matter What” Award: Men’s Gymnastics

Bodies were flying all over the place in men’s gymnastics’ performance. It was awesome.

These dudes know how to breakdance and make me want to do core exercises for the next two hours until I can do a mid-air pushup. We think you were overlooked by the judges, men’s gymnastics.

Best Hugh Jackman Impression: Field Hockey

We don’t think there’s a lot to explain here. However, while there were more than enough front flips throughout the Pep Rally, women’s lacrosse had the ~best~ flip of the night.

The First Loser Award: Men’s Soccer

Who doesn’t love a good prop? Although tank tops are always questionable, Peter Mangione, Femi Awodesu, and company left everything on the stage *twice* and reinforce their reigning champion status.

Men’s soccer also had two THON dancers hit the stage. Sean Bettenhausen and Owen Elliott didn’t allude to any exhaustion and waved their towels like never before.

The “Senior Competing On JV Award”: Lionettes

Even though the Lionettes served up a piping hot kick line and dance, they were never going to take home first prize. It’s like being a washed-up high school senior competing on JV. We see you. You did great. But we cannot give you a prize.

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About the Author

Keeley Lamm

Keeley is a junior journalism major from Richmond, Virginia, and is Onward State's managing editor. She also talks about awesome stuff on our podcast, Podward State. Keeley is a lover of grilled cheese and Kevin Jonas. If you'd like to share your thoughts on the superior Jonas Brother, feel free to contact her on Twitter @keeleylammm or send your best joke to her email [email protected].

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