Penn State women’s volleyball junior Quinn Menger will represent the program as its first THON dancer since Emily Sciorra in 2020 when the university’s annual 46-hour dance marathon is held February 16-18, 2024 at the Bryce Jordan Center.
Menger, a setter/defensive specialist from Powhatan, Virginia, is among a handful of Penn State Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) representatives who will participate in the no-sitting, no-sleeping event that brings together thousands for a great cause one weekend every February, though fundraising efforts last throughout the year.
THON is the world’s largest student-run philanthropy, fighting pediatric cancer by raising a record $15,006,132.46 for Four Diamonds at the Penn State Health Children’s Hospital, located in Hershey, PA, during last year’s campaign.
Since the Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon was founded in 1977, it has raised more than $200 million for Four Diamonds, which supports children and their families who are fighting cancer by covering 100 percent of all medical expenses related to cancer care not covered by insurance. Funds also go toward pediatric cancer research. You can donate to Menger’s campaign here.
Since 1972, Four Diamonds has assisted more than 4,800 children and families, many of whom Menger will have a chance to meet during THON 2024. During her first two years on campus, Menger participated in THON’s athlete hour with her teammates, where Four Diamonds children interact with Penn State student-athletes, playing games and having fun. Another highlight of the event is the pep rally, where teams perform choreographed dance routines on the main stage.
Menger, who attended St. Catherine’s School and played club for Richmond Volleyball Club, was the only setter on the roster for the Nittany Lions last spring, as Mac Podraza and Ally Van Eekeren didn’t arrive on campus until the summer. Menger guided Penn State’s offense for much of the Athletes Unlimited exhibition last April in Rec Hall before program great Alisha (Glass) Childress switched sides of the net to play alongside the Nittany Lions.
Menger is planning to attend law school after graduation and is routinely referred to by coaches and teammates as being one of the hardest workers and most selfless players on the team. Menger recently discussed her excitement to dance in THON in an exclusive interview with DigNittanyVolleyball. You can also read our previous interview with Menger from earlier this season here.
“I really have enjoyed being a part of the athlete hour the past two years,” Menger said. “I dedicated a lot of time into choreographing the dances and helping in any way I could. But, truly, being there is just so inspiring. All of the THON families are so joyful and everyone there is putting everything aside to be a part of something bigger than themselves, which is the kind of people I want to surround myself with.”
Menger will join a long tradition of Penn State student-athletes to dance in THON and will have a chance to participate in the event with a friend on the women’s soccer team, which is playing on the road at Clemson Saturday in the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament.
“I’m super excited to just push myself mentally and physically for such a great cause,” Menger said. “My friend on the women’s soccer team, Molly Martin, is also dancing, so I’m excited to be a part of this with her.”
Menger explained what motivated her to want to dance in THON this year and how participating in the event the last two years gave her a strong sense of what makes it so special.
“Probably just the dedication that the Penn State community puts into raising money for pediatric cancer,” Menger said of what stands out to her about THON. “Obviously, dancing in front of thousands of people is incredibly nerve-racking, but in the past, everyone always says that the athlete pep rally is their favorite part and pushes the dancers to keep going. I enjoyed contributing where I could and feeling a part of something so huge.”
Head coach Katie Schumacher-Cawley highlighted some of Menger’s best qualities and shared her eagerness to visit Menger with the rest of the team during the event to show their support.
“Quinn is one of the hardest workers in our program,” Schumacher-Cawley said. “She is one who takes on challenges regularly and always goes all in on whatever is put in front of her. Quinn is a great teammate, team player, and I’m not surprised that she has the willingness to participate in an event that is bigger than herself. She gets the big picture and I know she will be successful as a dancer and also in life.
“THON is an amazing organization and I am thrilled for Quinn to be a part of the THON experience as a dancer this year,” Schumacher-Cawley continued. “I know that it will be a very rewarding experience for Quinn and she will remember being part of this event for the rest of her life. I hope that she stays engaged with THON even after she graduates. Her teammates and I will be cheering her on.”
Sciorra, a defensive specialist for the Nittany Lions from 2016-19, is currently coaching with Carolina Union Volleyball Club, based out of Charlotte, North Carolina, where she’s an assistant coach on one of their 16s teams. Sciorra shared her advice for Menger ahead of this year’s THON. You can read our interview with Sciorra from THON 2020 here.
“[Pack] multiple pairs of sneakers,” Sciorra said. “It helps to change them throughout the event. Stay busy, keep moving, get involved in games, and meet the families. It’s all such a valuable experience. Mentally prepare for the final four hours. I was so exhausted and the emotions were so high.”
A pair of Menger’s teammates, Gill Grimes and Camryn Hannah, discussed their anticipation to cheer her on and come up with another dance routine for the pep rally together. Grimes, Penn State’s sophomore libero, attended her first THON last February, while Hannah has yet to experience the event in person.
“Quinn is a rock star,” Grimes said. “She’s going to have the best time. I’ll definitely be there to support her.”
“I’ve heard so much about it,” Hannah said. “I know that she loves that environment and she loves kids, so it’s such a good cause for her. I’m excited for her to get to have that opportunity.”