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Patriots Cheerleader Madelyn will be cheering against fellow TCU alumnus Andy Dalton

By Travis Basciotta

By Travis Basciotta

madelyn-1.jpg

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - The favorite memory of Patriots Cheerleader Madelyn's collegiate career was the 2011 Rose Bowl, when she and the rest of the Texas Christian University cheerleading squad cheered their football team on to the last win of their undefeated season - a 21-19 victory over Wisconsin in Pasadena, Calif.

"The fact that we were even going to go to a BCS Bowl was a big deal, considering how small our conference was," Madelyn recalls. "It was such a huge deal. We had a big pep rally in our coliseum, we played the TV on the Jumbotron, and news stations were there."

But the team turned their opportunity into an even bigger deal by beating the Badgers, sealing the victory when Tank Carder swatted away a potential game-tying two-point conversion attempt with two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.

"It was just such a dramatic way to end the game," Madelyn said. "It was really cool to just go up to my friends and say, 'Hey you just won the Rose Bowl,' and give them a big hug on the field."

That No. 2 ranked Horned Frogs team featured current Patriots offensive lineman Marcus Cannon and wide receiver Josh Boyce and was led by senior quarterback Andy Dalton, who earned Rose Bowl MVP honors after throwing for 219 yards and one touchdown. He added another score on the ground.

Come Sunday Night, however, Dalton shouldn't be expecting any hugs from Madelyn, as the New England Patriots cheerleader will be on the sidelines rooting for the home team to earn their 32nd-straight win against an AFC opponent at Gillette Stadium when the Patriots host Dalton and the Cincinnati Bengals on NBC's Sunday Night Football.

Despite being on opposing sidelines, Madelyn still holds the former TCU quarterback in high regard.

"He was already in his fourth year when I was a freshman, but he was honestly just such a great guy. He was such a great leader for the team and a leader in the TCU community," Madelyn said. "He was really involved on campus. He was someone the team and the younger guys could look up to and know how to act. I just really have a lot of respect for him."

Like Dalton, Madelyn was also a leader at TCU, cheerleading all four years she was on campus and serving as the squad's captain in her final two. The McKinney, Texas native got her start in gymnastics at age five, but didn't start cheering until the eighth grade, when a friend convinced her to go out for the cheerleading All-Stars. After that, she was hooked, and when it came time to apply to colleges in 2009, she knew she wanted to go to a school where she could cheer. Nearby TCU fit the bill, and Madelyn fit in with the campus and the cheer squad right away.

"Cheering at TCU was one of the best experiences of my life," she said. "I learned so much about being a leader, a friend and an ambassador for the school."

In addition to cheering at home games and traveling to almost every away game with the football team, Madelyn found time for her academic passions as well and graduated with a bachelor's degree in nutrition in 2013.

Wanting to continue her education, she applied and was one of only eight applicants to be accepted into Tufts University's clinical nutrition master's program, which is how the born-and-raised Texan found her way to New England.

"I wanted to get out of my comfort zone and go somewhere different," Madelyn explained.

Though she admits her distaste for the cold weather, she is loving Boston so far.

madelyn_2.jpg

"Boston is just a really fun city," Madelyn said. "I love not having to use my car all the time, and there is so much to do - tons of restaurants, tons of places to go out, tons of people everywhere."

Yet there was still a void in her heart left by cheerleading, so she decided to try out for the Patriots squad this past spring.

"I missed being on the football field and being a part of a team," Madelyn said. "On all of the cheer teams I have been on, they have become my family and my best friends. I missed that, so here I am."

Now a rookie on the 2014 Patriots Cheerleading squad, Madelyn is looking forward to pursuing both of her career and athletic passions. When she finishes her degree in 2015, she will be a registered dietician, giving her a chance to explore several opportunities - working in a hospital with cancer patients, high-risk patients, burn patients or pediatrics, or even working in the community and with school districts designing menus and managing youth nutrition. In the more immediate future, however, Madelyn will keep her focus on cheering on the Patriots on Sunday Night Football against her former classmate and the Bengals.

And for one night, she'll let TCU pride take a back seat to her current Patriots squad.

"I wish Andy the best and I know he just signed a big, fat contract, so I think he can take a loss," Madelyn said.

madelyn-1.jpg

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - The favorite memory of Patriots Cheerleader Madelyn's collegiate career was the 2011 Rose Bowl, when she and the rest of the Texas Christian University cheerleading squad cheered their football team on to the last win of their undefeated season - a 21-19 victory over Wisconsin in Pasadena, Calif.

"The fact that we were even going to go to a BCS Bowl was a big deal, considering how small our conference was," Madelyn recalls. "It was such a huge deal. We had a big pep rally in our coliseum, we played the TV on the Jumbotron, and news stations were there."

But the team turned their opportunity into an even bigger deal by beating the Badgers, sealing the victory when Tank Carder swatted away a potential game-tying two-point conversion attempt with two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.

"It was just such a dramatic way to end the game," Madelyn said. "It was really cool to just go up to my friends and say, 'Hey you just won the Rose Bowl,' and give them a big hug on the field."

That No. 2 ranked Horned Frogs team featured current Patriots offensive lineman Marcus Cannon and wide receiver Josh Boyce and was led by senior quarterback Andy Dalton, who earned Rose Bowl MVP honors after throwing for 219 yards and one touchdown. He added another score on the ground.

Come Sunday Night, however, Dalton shouldn't be expecting any hugs from Madelyn, as the New England Patriots cheerleader will be on the sidelines rooting for the home team to earn their 32nd-straight win against an AFC opponent at Gillette Stadium when the Patriots host Dalton and the Cincinnati Bengals on NBC's Sunday Night Football.

Despite being on opposing sidelines, Madelyn still holds the former TCU quarterback in high regard.

"He was already in his fourth year when I was a freshman, but he was honestly just such a great guy. He was such a great leader for the team and a leader in the TCU community," Madelyn said. "He was really involved on campus. He was someone the team and the younger guys could look up to and know how to act. I just really have a lot of respect for him."

Like Dalton, Madelyn was also a leader at TCU, cheerleading all four years she was on campus and serving as the squad's captain in her final two. The McKinney, Texas native got her start in gymnastics at age five, but didn't start cheering until the eighth grade, when a friend convinced her to go out for the cheerleading All-Stars. After that, she was hooked, and when it came time to apply to colleges in 2009, she knew she wanted to go to a school where she could cheer. Nearby TCU fit the bill, and Madelyn fit in with the campus and the cheer squad right away.

"Cheering at TCU was one of the best experiences of my life," she said. "I learned so much about being a leader, a friend and an ambassador for the school."

In addition to cheering at home games and traveling to almost every away game with the football team, Madelyn found time for her academic passions as well and graduated with a bachelor's degree in nutrition in 2013.

Wanting to continue her education, she applied and was one of only eight applicants to be accepted into Tufts University's clinical nutrition master's program, which is how the born-and-raised Texan found her way to New England.

"I wanted to get out of my comfort zone and go somewhere different," Madelyn explained.

Though she admits her distaste for the cold weather, she is loving Boston so far.

madelyn_2.jpg

"Boston is just a really fun city," Madelyn said. "I love not having to use my car all the time, and there is so much to do - tons of restaurants, tons of places to go out, tons of people everywhere."

Yet there was still a void in her heart left by cheerleading, so she decided to try out for the Patriots squad this past spring.

"I missed being on the football field and being a part of a team," Madelyn said. "On all of the cheer teams I have been on, they have become my family and my best friends. I missed that, so here I am."

Now a rookie on the 2014 Patriots Cheerleading squad, Madelyn is looking forward to pursuing both of her career and athletic passions. When she finishes her degree in 2015, she will be a registered dietician, giving her a chance to explore several opportunities - working in a hospital with cancer patients, high-risk patients, burn patients or pediatrics, or even working in the community and with school districts designing menus and managing youth nutrition. In the more immediate future, however, Madelyn will keep her focus on cheering on the Patriots on Sunday Night Football against her former classmate and the Bengals.

And for one night, she'll let TCU pride take a back seat to her current Patriots squad.

"I wish Andy the best and I know he just signed a big, fat contract, so I think he can take a loss," Madelyn said.

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