Maine South grad shows off football skills at Soldier Field
Park Ridge native Sarah Madden at Soldier Field during an Oct. 22 football pass contest. | Contributed photo
Updated: December 30, 2012 6:03AM
PARK RIDGE — Park Ridge native Sarah Madden, a student at the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point, won an opportunity to take part in a football-passing competition during halftime at the Oct. 22 Chicago Bears game at Soldier Field. The 19-year-old Maine South High School graduate ended up tying with her competitor, winning a grand prize of $10,000 in tuition.
Q: What were you required to do during the preliminary competition at Halas Hall and then during the final at Soldier Field?
A: For the competition we had to throw as many footballs into a giant can of Dr. Pepper in 30 seconds. We had to do the same for the final. It was me and another girl who were the final two.
Q: What was it like being on the field during the Bears game?
A: It was nerve-wracking! There were so many more people (than during the semi-finals). Everyone in the stadium was watching me. I’m bad in front of crowds in the first place, but it was really nice, besides that.
Q: How many footballs did you get in the can?
A: At the semi-finals I got 13, which was the highest, and the other person got 13 as well so we were the top two to go on to the next phase. At Soldier Field I got eight and she also got eight.
Q: You were not initially named the winner. What happened?
A: Both of us shot a ball after the buzzer went off and they counted hers and didn’t count mine. She had nine and I had eight. My dad filmed it....I e-mailed a manager at Dr. Pepper and asked him if he could look over the video and see what he could do. Then I got a call and they said they looked at the video and we were right — the one ball (thrown after the buzzer) shouldn’t have counted, so they decided to add $7,700 to my $2,300 win so we could both get the $10,000.
Q: How did you feel about that?
A: I was excited. I was jumping up and down and my roommate was like, ‘What?’ I was running around and telling everyone.
Q: How did you become so good at passing?
A: I played baseball and softball for many years when I was a kid and I also throw footballs around with my friends. I was also in Powder Puff football at my school (Maine South).
Q: What are some of your other interests?
A: I love hiking and doing adventurous stuff. In high school I was in Adventure Club which is rock-climbing and stuff. I just love the outdoors and I love animals. Soon I’m going to be volunteering at an animal shelter with my residence hall.
Q: What are you plans after college?
A: I would like to work at a zoo or at an animal rehabilitation center. My major is wildlife ecology.