Two Colorado State University students walked away winners Sept. 2 despite their team’s loss to University of Colorado at the Rocky Mountain Showdown.
CSU sophomore Erin Eck and senior Matt Glassmeyer won $5,000 toward their tuition after each successfully kicked a 20-yard field goal after the game’s third quarter.
“It was one of the most incredible experiences I’ve had,” Eck said. “I’m so appreciative for the opportunity.”
As a partner of CSU and CU, UCHealth created the Kickin’ for Tuition contest to engage students in a more active role at the rivalry game held each year at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Student entered via their school’s homepage for a chance to be one of four — two from each school — chosen to attempt a field goal from the 10 yard line.
“I saw it on (social media) and put my name in thinking there was no way I’d be chosen,” Eck said.
Although she’d played soccer growing up, it had been about five years since Eck had competitively kicked a ball. Eck, who came to CSU from Forestville, California with CSU’s Honors Program and Presidential scholarships, wasn’t going to lose her chance to get additional help with her out-of-state tuition.
Each contestant was offered 30-minutes of practice time at their home-school field. Eck recruited another soccer player to help and begin warming up her kicking leg.
“I was a soccer player, so that helped … but I don’t think I could have done it without the help from my friend,” she said.
Eck is majoring in health and sports medicine. She’s looking to pursue a career in physical therapy or orthopedic surgery — a choice sparked by a knee injury she sustained while playing sports, she said.
“It was then that I really realized that helping athletes recover and getting them back to what they love to do is something that I’d like to do myself,” she said.
After she recovered from surgery, Eck found herself supporting a family member going through similar joint rehabilitation.
“I was able to help her recover and get through the mental and physical obstacles that you have to go through,” she said, adding that the experience reaffirmed her choice in career paths.
UCHealth’s ongoing partnerships aim to encourage students and communities, though fun and healthy ways, to stay active. And, just like Eck hopes to one day, UCHealth strives to improve lives.
Glassmeyer, a real estate major from Arvada and the other CSU player to successfully make the kick, was not immediately available for comment.