To inspire the next generation of female athletes, Cracker Jack has recognised nine young stars who are changing the face of the game one goal at a time.
The grand prize winner - Lindsey Zurbrugg - was also selected to be the first athlete to join the Cracker Jill roster and appear on special-edition Cracker Jill packaging.
“The I Am Cracker Jill Award submissions told incredible stories of hundreds of young female athletes across the nation who are working to break down barriers and leave their mark on sports - they are all truly remarkable,” said Leslie Vesper, VP of marketing, Frito-Lay North America.
“We selected Lindsey to become the first real athlete in the brand's history to join the Cracker Jack roster so that girls nationwide will be inspired to keep playing and keep achieving when they see Lindsey's story on our bags in stores and in stadiums.”
Despite becoming disabled at age 13, Zurbrugg has gone on to represent her country on the world’s largest athletic stage and is a current member of the USA Women's Wheelchair Basketball National Team.
“It is truly an honour to have been selected for the I Am Cracker Jill Award and the funding [$5,000} will go a long way in helping me continue to compete and hopefully inspire another young girl out there to never give up on her sports dreams,” said Zurbrugg.
“After discovering my own passion for wheelchair basketball, my goal has been to bring attention to this sport. Being the first athlete featured on the packaging of such an iconic snack brand will be a tremendous help in accomplishing that.”
The Awards is a partnership between Cracker Jack, the Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF) and programme ambassadors: international soccer star Mallory Swanson; professional swimmer and 29-time Paralympic medallist Jessica Long; and WSF Athlete Ambassador and two-time Paralympic medallist Sophia Herzog-Gibb.
“It was so important for me as a young girl to see others who looked like me competing in sports because it helped me believe that I can follow my dreams, which is why I’m so proud to have worked with Cracker Jack on this programme,” said Long.
“The more amazing women Cracker Jill can help elevate, the more likely it is that a young girl will be able to see and imagine themselves accomplishing their own dreams.”
The I Am Cracker Jill Award finalists
Football: Bella Rasmussen, Laguna Beach, California
Modern pentathlon: Corinne Thompson, Gainesville, Georgia
Biathlon: Emma Stertz, Grand Rapids, Minnesota
Paralympic track & field: Jaleen Roberts, Chula Vista, California
Golf and softball: Olivia Ohlson-Ellis, Evanston, Illinois
Surfing: Sally Cohen, Haleiwa, Hawaii
Weightlifting: Sohana Raisa, Sandford, Florida
Martial arts: Tahirah Abdul-Qadir, Syracuse, New York
Cracker Jack’s commitment to investing in women’s sports includes a $400,000 donation to date to the national non-profit WSF to expand access and opportunities for girls and women in sport so they can play, compete, and lead without barriers.
This partnership is just one example of Frito-Lay’s commitment to driving equity in sports. Last year, the snacking giant launched the All-in with Frito Lay programme, a three-year commitment to increase equity in sports by working with partners and organisations to enhance resources and training for young athletes.