SWEET SUPPORT: Recipients of the “I Am Cracker Jill” awards were elected for their tenacity on and off the field. (Courtesy WSF)

Women’s Sports Foundation part of nationwide $5,000-award program

Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jill.

The iconic snack and ballpark staple, Cracker Jack is highlighting nine female athletes with its “I Am Cracker Jill” award, which includes cash awards and features the grand prize winner Lindsey Zurbrugg on limited edition Cracker Jill packaging in 2024.

The recipients each receive $5,000 to support their sports endeavors and were selected from submissions by young female athletes across the country. The campaign was a partnership with the national, non-profit Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF) and program ambassadors including international soccer star Mallory Swanson, professional swimmer and 29-time Paralympic medalist Jessica Long and WSF ambassador and two-time Paralympic medalist Sophia Herzog-Gibb.

CANDY-COATED POPCORN, PEANUTS AND A (WELL-DESERVED) PRIZE: “I Am Cracker Jill” Award grand prize winner Lindsey Zurbrugg is featured on Cracker Jill packaging. (Courtesy WSF)

Zurbrugg, who was disabled at 13, is a wheelchair basketball standout and a current member of the USA Women’s Wheelchair Basketball National Team.

“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,” said Leslie Vesper, vice president of marketing, Frito-Lay North America in a statement.

“After discovering my own passion for wheelchair basketball, my goal has been to bring attention to this sport,” Zurbrugg also stated. “Being the first athlete featured on the packaging of such an iconic snack brand will be a tremendous help in accomplishing that.”

To reach more girls with the encouraging “I Am Cracker Jill” recipient stories, Swanson will introduce the winners as the next generation of athletes changing the game during a Cracker Jack 30-second commercial that airs on FOX throughout the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023.

Selected for their tenacity on and off the field, the “I Am Cracker Jill” finalists include: Bella Rasmussen, football, from Laguna Beach, California; Corinne Thompson, modern pentathlon, from Gainesville, Georgia; Emma Stertz, biathlon from Grand Rapids, Minnesota; Jaleen Roberts, Paralympic Track & Field, from Chula Vista, California; Zurbrugg, who hails from Hillsboro, Oregon; Olivia Ohlson-Ellis, golf and softball, from Evanston, Illinois; Sally Cohen, surfing, from Haleiwa, Hawaii; Sohana Raisa, weightlifting, from Sanford, Florida; and Tahirah Abdul-Qadir, martial arts of Syracuse, New York.

Cracker Jack’s commitment to supporting women’s sports through the Cracker Jill program includes donating $400,000 to date to WSF to expand access and opportunities for girls and women in sport.

“We at the Women’s Sports Foundation know the importance of powerful images to celebrate and inspire young girls and women to reach their potential in sport and in life,” said Danette Leighton, WSF CEO in a statement. “It is our hope that these Cracker Jill athletes encourage and empower more girls and young women across the nation to keep playing.”