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Penn State Athletics THON 2017 Coverage

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - All weekend long, Penn State Athletics will be heavily involved in THON 2017 at the Bryce Jordan Center. 

THON's 700+ dancers, including four student-athletes and members of the cheerleading and dance teams all come together in support of the 46-hour IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon.

Since 1977, THON has partnered with The Four Diamonds Fund at Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital with one goal in mind: conquering childhood cancer. To date, more than $136 million has been raised by THON, including $9.7 million in 2015-16, and at least 95 percent of the funds raised at THON are donated directly to Four Diamonds.

SAAB THON DANCER FEATURES:
Carly Celkos (field hockey)
Megan Shafer (women's soccer)
Charlie Shuman (football)
Jess O'Neill-Lyublinsky (women's fencing)

Each year, more than 400 Penn State student organizations and 16,000 student volunteers dedicate their time to THON, making it the largest student-run philanthropy in the world. 

Catch up with all things THON and Penn State Athletics all weekend long with extensive coverage below.

Friday, 6 p.m - Dancers Are You Ready?
More than 700 dancers went from sitting to standing Friday night at 6 p.m., embarking on the 46-hour no sleeping, no sitting challenge to raise awareness for pediatric cancer. All dancers will remain on their feet until the event closes at 4 p.m. Sunday afternoon. 

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We caught up with SAAB representatives Carly Celkos, Megan Shafer, Charlie Shuman and Jess O'Neill-Lyublinsky as they took their feet at the Bryce Jordan Center, sticking around for the first few minutes of dancing.

Friday, 8 p.m. - Lip Sync Battle with Special Guest DNCE
Quarterback Trace McSorley and linebacker Jason Cabinda took to the stage at THON for a lip sync battle with a few THON family members. Prior to the Nittany Lion football team's performance, the Lionettes debuted a lip sync dance to open competition.

The lip sync battle quickly turned to from competition to fun as DNCE, led by lead singer Joe Jonas surprised the crowd with an upbeat an energetic performance. Check out some highlights from the event below.

Saturday, 10 a.m. - Checking in with Nittany Lion Dancers
Come Saturday morning, Penn State's SAAB representatives were all in great spirits, having already been on their feet for more than 15 hours. The Bryce Jordan Center was just as busy and energetic as ever at 10 a.m. with upbeat music blaring, balloons floating through the air and even the occasional spritz of water from a water nearby squirt gun battle. 
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Among the dancers and volunteers all brightly colored on the floor, Four Diamonds families cheerfully spent time with any and all, laughing and sprinting through even the tiniest of openings in the crowds. 

"It means so much to be able to hang out with the families," football's Charlie Shuman said. "THON is something that's bigger than us, bigger than athletics and bigger than Penn State, it's all about the kids and just being able to hang out with them has been an unbelievable opportunity that we all have." 

Check in with Shuman, O'Neill-Lyublinsky, Shafer and Celkos from the floor for an update on what's happening at THON. 


THON Explorers Photo Gallery

Saturday, 1 p.m. - Football THON Explorers 

A highly anticipated of the year for Penn State Football, the Nittany Lions welcomed nearly 50 THON families for a fun-filled afternoon at the Lasch Building.

Together, the Penn State football staff transformed the home of the Nittany Lions into a Candy Land themed event decked out with exciting games and even an ice cream bar at the fueling station.
Several members of the team lined the meeting room hallway welcoming each of the families with high fives and hugs. After gathering in the squad room, linebacker Jason Cabinda introduced the team and paired the Nittany Lions with each family before sending everyone out to explore.

THON families were treated to a limbo contest and miniature golf just to name a few, as they toured through the building taking time for a sneak peek at the Penn State locker room.

"Walking into the weight room and the locker room and seeing the jaw drops, seeing the big smiles running around, it's awesome," Ryan Bates said.

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The tour eventually spilled out into the practice field where the team joined families and children on a perfect day outside in Happy Valley.

"Coach Franklin does a really good job putting us in positions to give back so we really appreciate the time that we have with these families," Mark Allen said.

Check out a few sights and sounds from the THON Explorers event.


Saturday, 5:30 p.m. - Penn State Student-Athlete Hours
The courts inside the Nittany Lion tennis center filled with families and Penn State student-athletes as athletics paired up with THON for more games and fun into the afternoon and early part of the evening. 


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Representatives from all different Penn State athletics programs hung out with families, dancing and playing games at various stations throughout the building. 

Go inside the tennis center to recap the event below. 

Saturday, 9:30 p.m. -  THON Pep Rally
Another highly anticipated THON event, the 2017 pep rally kicked off around 9:30 p.m. at the bustling and packed Bryce Jordan Center. Penn State men's basketball head coach Patrick Chambers opened the event before the Blue Band and the Lionettes performed to get things under way. 


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Men's gymnastics claimed the top spot, while men's soccer and women's volleyball also earned spots in the final three selections. 

Watch all the dances below!

Sunday, 11:25 a.m. - James Franklin Addresses THON 2017

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Just before 11:30 a.m. on Sunday Penn State Football head coach James Franklin dropped by the Bryce Jordan Center for a quick moment on the stage. Kicking off the final four hours of the event, Franklin brought daughters Addison and Shola on stage with Nittany Lion dancer Charlie Shuman. 

"What you guys are doing is unbelievable, 46 hours dancing straight to make a difference in families and children's lives and to beat pediatric cancer is unbelievable," Franklin said. "I'm so proud of you guys."

Franklin also gave a special shoutout to Shuman, who will have completed the 46 hour dance marathon in just a few short hours. 

"Your commitment to sacrifice and serve others is what THON is all about and why we're so proud to be a part of this Penn State community."

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Shola and Addison closed out the appearance leading the packed BJC in a "We Are" chant. 

Browse a few more pictures from the session below. 

Sunday, 4 p.m. - Dancers Sit Down!
At the conclusion of an emotional final four hours, all 703 dancers on the floor at the Bryce Jordan Center were finally off their feet. Getting their first opportunity to sit since 6 p.m. Saturday, members of the executive board revealed individual organization titles before hoisting cards to show the final THON 2017 total. 

Our SAAB representatives helped to bolster the final total to $59,679.49, marking the fifth-most of any general organization. In total, THON raised more than $10 million for the fight against pediatric cancer. 

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