Hazleton, Pa. - Lauren Degler from Oley Valley, Pa. was one of several Hazleton freshmen to get the soccer bug back in the spring of 2016. Degler along with others, attended a meeting that semester to gauge interest from current students about the creation of a women's soccer program. Little did she know it would change the course of her collegiate experience. Degler and five others would go on to become the first four-year student-athletes of the newly created program, landing Hazleton on the map as a contender in the Penn State University Athletic Conference.
Soccer would help Degler grow as a person, meet new people and mature into one of the most recognizable students on campus before graduating in the fall of 2019. Lauren helped her team to back to back PSUAC championships before it was all over and be named to the PSUAC All-Conference Team as a senior and captain of the team. She cemented herself as one of the hardest working midfielders in the game, finishing her career with 13 goals and 15 assists, but that effort extended off the field as well.
As a result of her involvement in soccer, Degler got more involved in campus life, becoming a Resident Assistant in the fall of 2017 and went on to earn the RA of the Year award two times. In the spring of 2019, Degler was named the winner of the Eric A. and Josephine S. Walker Award. That award is given to the student whose outstanding qualities of character, scholarship, leadership and citizenship have been directed into programs and services that have positively influenced fellow students and have contributed to the prestige and well-being of their campus.
In the classroom, Degler earned her Associates Degree from the Physical Therapist Assistant program and went on to complete her Bachelor's of Science Degree in Rehabilitation and Humans Services. She was named to the Dean's List seven times during her academic career and was a four-time recipient of the PSUAC Academic All-Award and named to the United States Collegiate Athletic Association's National All-Academic Team during all four years of her athletic participation. Degler is currently adding a certification as a personal fitness trainer to her resume while continuing to pursue a career in Physical Therapy.
We caught up with Lauren for a Q & A about her time at Penn State Hazleton:
What has been your favorite memory while participating with the women's soccer team?
Our trip to Pittsburgh during the first year. We beat Penn State Beaver who won the championship the previous year, wound up with two flat times on the bus and also had two hospital trips. Very memorable trip for all sorts of reasons!
What advice do you have for your younger teammates or recruit playing women's soccer?
Don't take things for granted because it goes by quick. Enjoy all the practices, games and road trips…..one day it'll all be over and you may never get that opportunity again.
What impact did athletics have on your experience as a college student?
It definitely gave me more structure and gave me some self-discipline in terms of how I spent my free time and when I would study. It made me step out of my shell, get involved and meet new people.
What have you been up to during the quarantine?
Studying for the certification. I trained my pet rabbit Theo to spin in a circle on command! I like to take bike rides and runs with my brother and play Animal Crossing and I've been on a chips and salsa kick too!
If you could play any other sport, what would it be and why?
I think that would have been Lacrosse. I played most other sports but none of my schools offered it so that would have been fun to try.
What is the best class you took while attending Penn State Hazleton?
RHS Group Therapy. Dr. Kramer made it very involved and hands on. The skills you learned in that class could easily be applied to your work. I also loved classes with Dr. Huck. He connects well with his students and is very fun and effective at conveying the class material
What's one thing you're bad at that you wish you weren't?
I suck at ice skating. Went once and that was enough.
What role will athletics play in your life going forward?
Someday I would like to coach soccer. Growing up I played in a youth league and recently took over a board position with the program. I'm looking forward to giving back to the community in that way.
Are there teammates, coaches or family members you would like to thank for having a positive impact on your playing career?
Certainly my family. Their support was great, and they came to as many games as possible. Also, Coach Jesse for starting the program and all of my teammates for making it a memorable experience!