10th Annual Club Sports Honors Reception
With over 200 guests in attendance, this year’s version of the Honors Reception was a hit! We gathered in Alumni Hall in the HUB to recognize the hard work and achievement of the 77-student formed and student-run club sport organizations. This year our program offered support to a total of 6,583 students, faculty, and staff participating in club sport organizations, a record by over 650! Clubs hosted over 300 events on and around campus this year, ventured on over 400 trips which equaled over 126,900 miles, and sent teams and/or individuals to 32 national championship competitions. Once again, Penn State Club Sports is the largest club sport program in the United States.
Since last year’s Honors Reception, club sport organizations have captured a record 8 team national championships! Individually, Penn State Club Sports saw numerous individuals win national titles this year including Taylor Varner (Boxing), Dan Wilcko (Cross Country), Mike Meehan (Triathlon), Cassandra Lageman (Track & Field), Devin McDuffie (Track & Field), John Lacy (Track & Field), Kati Piger (Track & Field), Marley O’Brien (Track & Field), Rachel Pitman (Track & Field), and Vanessa Romulus (Track & Field). Aside from competitive success, Club Sport organizations once again showed their commitment to the Penn State and State College communities by engaging in numerous service initiatives, such as Relay for Life, Miles for Smiles, National Eating Disorders Awareness Walk, Lions Pantry, and the annual “Mr. & Mrs. Club Sports” pageant to name a few. The biggest fundraising endeavor was for Penn State Dance Marathon (THON) where club sport organizations combined to raise over $375,000.
Diverse arrays of awards were collected over the course of the night. With many awards handed out within each category, the categories were as follows: Athletic Excellence, Organizational Excellence, Individual & Officer Awards, as well as Club of the Year to cap off the presentation.
The 2016-2017 Female Athlete of the Year recipient was Taylor Varner from Boxing. Taylor is a 3-time NCBA Eastern Regional Champ, 3-time All-American, 2017 National Champion in the 147 pound class, and has won the NCBA sportsmanship award for the past two years. She is also the club president!
Our 2016-2017 Male Athlete of the Year recipient was Paul Schoenberg from Wrestling. Paul had top place finishes in three tournaments this ear and became an All-American after placing 6th at nationals. Paul led the team to place 3rd at nationals and has the most recorded wins in a season in club history with 28! He is also club president.
Finally, we were proud to award the Penn State Figure Skating Club with the Club of the Year Award. Figure Skating has tripled their membership over the last two years to 12 skaters from 3 skaters. They raised $8,000 for THON, had two dancers participate in THON, and volunteered at local skating clubs teaching young students how to figure skate and be role models in their communities. Competitively the club did better than ever before as they broke top 5 at their second sectional for the first time ever and ultimately finished 6th out of 32 schools in the Eastern Division. They had many individuals do extremely well as they had 6 first place finishers and 6 second place finishers at their competitions at MIT, Liberty, and University of Delaware. They have set some high goals for themselves, they hope to score 100 points next season, have a 20 member competitive team in 2 years, and an increased community presence spanning the next 5 years.