For the Penn State Team Handball Club, handball is what brought a group of over 25 girls together — but the team has gone above and beyond just their sport.
The team consists of heavily involved members of the community and regularly participates in volunteer work and community service. They often get together on the weekends for activities as well, whether it’s cleaning up trash around Mount Nittany or volunteering at an animal shelter.
One of the founding members of the women’s handball club, Maddy Hindermeyer, is heavily involved in Penn State's THON, the world's largest student-run philanthropy that raises money and awareness for pediatric cancer and culminates in a dance marathon event.
Hindermeyer, who is in her senior year, is working as a Communications Captain for THON 2020. In her role, she is responsible for a number of the outreach and educational components of THON and provides resources and guides for students fundraising for the event.
Hindermeyer’s teammate, Megan Kiel, and five other members of the Penn State Women’s Handball Club are also involved in organizing THON.
THON is taking place this weekend from February 21-23, during which dancers will stand for 46 consecutive hours.
Hindermeyer, who played soccer and basketball in high school, discovered handball during her freshman year through friends who played for the men’s handball team at Penn State. She said handball was a pretty easy sport for her to pick up after playing multiple sports throughout her life.
“I learned the sport from practicing with the men's team and since there were only three girls, we expanded by inviting our friends. Friends of friends joined and we eventually became our own club,” Hindermeyer said.
“Honestly it's been a really quick turnaround over these past four years being able to form our own team. We recently had our first practice and got some new girls, so we’re at around 28 girls at the moment which is awesome and pretty crazy.”
Hindermeyer said the team practices three times a week for two hours. They are coached by Michael Gordon, who works primarily with the goalkeepers and defensive players, and will occasionally bring in special guest coaches for their offense.
For their next tournament, Penn State will be heading to the 2020 Collegiate National Championships at The Ohio State University this April.
The Penn State women earned a third place finish at last year’s Collegiate Nationals, behind Carolina Handball in second place and West Point claiming the title.
But beyond the sport that all of them have grown to love, the member of the Penn State Team Handball Club are close due to their shared memories on and off the court.
“Almost every weekend, there's something that we do to get together and bond,” Hindermeyer said. “I think that's one thing about our club that convinces a lot of the newer girls to stay. It’s appealing to people who are looking for a group of people to have those bonding experiences and memories. I think that's really beneficial in a team and that’s what we have.”