While Baylor University and the University of Oklahoma duke it out for a conference title, one Longmont college student will compete for a life-changing prize.
During halftime at Saturday’s Big 12 championship in Arlington, Texas, Teagan Quintana, a University of Colorado sophomore studying economics and pre-law and living in Longmont, will have 30 seconds to throw as many footballs as he can through a hole in a giant can of Dr. Pepper not more than a few feet wide. Competing against three other students from around the country, Quintana could potentially win $25,000 in tuition money if he places second — and $100,000 in tuition if he places first.
According to a press release from Dr. Pepper, 20 different students ages 18 to 24 from around the country will be competing during championship games this weekend for tuition money.
“I’m feeling excited,” said Quintana. “I’m really looking forward to heading down there tomorrow.”
He added his “focus is laser-like right now,” and that he has been practicing using a tire he found by the side of the road. Using the makeshift rig, he developed a technique he feels will help him win.
“Doing a regular throw like a quarterback is not fast enough,” he said. “… what I’ve been going to is kind of like a hybrid chest pass — almost like a rugby pass.”
The tires are slightly smaller than the hole he’ll be throwing through in Texas, too, which he feels will give him an advantage come game time.
Quintana was selected to participate out of applicants from around the country, and according to Ryan Stevens, senior director of marketing at Dr. Pepper who works on the scholarship event, the application process is thorough, and requires students to record and submit a video.
“Some of the criteria is very specific, like the age range … however, the most important information we look for is how the tuition will impact their life and how it will help them achieve their goals to make a larger impact on their community,” said Stevens.
For Quintana, the impact he wants to make is on prescription drug prices by entering health law, something his brother’s battle with multiple sclerosis inspired.
“His medication without insurance — luckily we had insurance — was $104,000 a year,” he said. “… but other people don’t have insurance as good as us, or even at all. And I can’t imagine what people like that would go through trying to even pay that kind of bill.”
Another astronomical bill Quintana hopes he’ll have taken care of by the end of the weekend, is tuition for law school. And some of the universities he would like to attend aren’t cheap, including private institutions like Baylor Law School or Pepperdine Caruso School of Law. According to Law School Transparency, a nonprofit watchdog organization, private law school tuition in 2018 was nearly $48,000, with public out-of-state tuition coming in at more than $40,000 and public in-state at over $27,000.
Quintana said his plan if he doesn’t win is to find a good school with a lot of merit-based scholarships that can help him offset costs, and that winning the money would be “beyond life changing.”
“I just want to thank my parents, my family who helped me come up with the video — they didn’t tell me what I should make for it, but they definitely were encouraging the whole way through,” he said. “They were like, ‘you got this, whatever you say in the video, we’ll support you.’”