As almost everybody knows in the Southeast and around the country, Alabama and Georgia will square-off in Atlanta for the SEC crown and a national championship berth Saturday night. Since the game has been declared a national semi-final by the media, everybody watching will have their eyes locked on the television set for all four quarters. But before you get up at halftime for a break, you might want to stay in your seat as Anna Trundle, a current junior at Mississippi State, has a chance to throw footballs into a Dr. Pepper Can for $100,000 in scholarship money.
Trundle, a Communications Major with a concentration in public relations, received the opportunity of a lifetime on a visit to the University of Tennessee in Knoxville earlier in the fall. After attending the Volunteersâ€™ football game, Anna was approached by a representative from Dr. Pepper who asked her if she would be interested in talking on camera about what she wanted to do after college. Trundle shot the video and described her desire to join the Peace Corps and continue her education after receiving her Bachelorâ€™s from Mississippi State at the University of Tennessee Law School or further her knowledge of Public Relations in graduate school. Trundle never imagined receiving the phone call from Dr. Pepper she received this past month.
â€śI honestly had forgotten about the video because I did not think I had shot at winning,â€ť said Trundle when Dr. Pepper called her to inform about winning a $2,500 scholarship, â€śThen they told me to sit down, and told me I also had the opportunity to attend the SEC Championship and compete for a $100,000 scholarship at halftime.â€ť
Ever since that phone call, Trundle has been busy practicing for Atlanta. The Dr. Pepper Tuition Throw contestants stand five-yards away from a large replica Dr. Pepper Can and have thirty seconds to throw as many footballs into the can as possible. Anna has built a plywood replica and has worked very hard to improve her craft. Trundle even practiced throwing the football with some Mississippi State Football players. Redshirt freshman quarterback Dak Prescott and running back Derrick Milton helped Trundle work on her form and accuracy at the MSU practice fields.
â€śThey helped me work on my passing and following through on my throws,â€ť commented Trundle about her practice with Prescott and Milton, â€śThey helped me a lot with not stressing about it and focusing on keeping going if I miss.â€ť
The pressure will be high when Trundle arrives in Atlanta on Thursday. The preliminaries to see who qualifies for Saturdayâ€™s final out of five SEC qualifiers is on Friday. Anna does not think that the pressure will get to her too much as she has worked hard to put herself in a position for success. Also she knows her father will be there in Atlanta to support her.
â€śI think my dad being there will help me stay calm,â€ť commented Anna, â€śboth of my parents have told me this is a great opportunity for me and just to go out there and have fun.â€ť
Even if Anna does not make it through preliminaries, Trundle will be able to watch the game in box seats and have the trip of a lifetime attending the SEC Championship. Originally from Knoxville, Anna said here allegiance lies with Tennessee and Mississippi State as well. With Orange and Maroon blood running through her veins, Trundle will side with Georgia predicting a 24-21 victory for the Bulldogs because of her disdain for the Crimson Tide.
So before you go refill your glass or grab some snacks during halftime, donâ€™t forget that a Mississippi State student has a chance to compete in the Dr. Pepper Tuition Throw for a $100,000 scholarship and a life changing moment. The Daily Times Leader will keep everyone updated with Annaâ€™s status in Atlanta online at the dailytimesleader.com.