The Penn State Lehigh Valley Women’s Basketball team competed in an intra-team, two-week fitness challenge to fundraise money for various charities. The team was split up into four teams of five players and had 14 days to record their miles from cardio workouts. The team with the most miles won the competition. Money was donated to each charity by head coach, Lorie Khalil, two-times PSUAC Coach of the Year.
“The players were able to raise money for these great causes through their dedication to fitness,” Khalil said. “I am so proud of their teamwork and selfless attitude with this fitness challenge. If we take a step back, we are very blessed despite the times we are in. These young women have a lot going for them; they are healthy, in college working towards a great future, playing college basketball and have great support systems around them. They are very fortunate.”
Each team deliberated over charities that were meaningful to them, and the four charities chosen were: The Pediatric Cancer Foundation of the Lehigh Valley, Black Lives Matter, St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital and the John Roach Funeral Cost Fundraiser.
“It’s always sad to lose a loved one but even more sad when you can’t afford to give them a proper farewell,” Jah’nel Oliver, junior All-Conference player, said. “I’m glad I was able to push myself to run for this cause and give a donation to help a family come together to give a proper goodbye.” Oliver’s team won the competition with a total of 76 miles. Teammates were first-year students, Aaliyah Johnson and Almond Goodman; junior, Taz Moore and senior, Anaya White.
“With the season being how it is due to COVID, we want to continue to work and focus on being champions in the classroom and on the court,” Khalil said. “We don’t pause, we just adjust and find other ways to get things done. It’s been the story of the year. Winners always find a way,” Khalil said.
The team is looking forward to returning mid-February for in-person small group trainings. For now, they will continue to compete in mini two-week fitness challenges.