The Record's high school male athlete of the year will be going back to the future when he suits up for the University of British Columbian Thunderbirds football team in September.
Football has been Kyle Madden's passion since he was first introduced to the game at St. Thomas More Collegiate as a first-year Grade 8 student.
"When I came to STM, I was asked if I liked to play football. I had the size and that's what pushed me to play," said Madden, who at 18 years of age earned a football scholarship to to the West Point Grey university.
Madden graduated STM as a two-time B.C. high school football association Eastern conference defensive player of the year and earned back-to-back provincial all-star team mentions as a linebacker. He was also one of the leading tacklers in the province with 92 stops and five quarterback sacks.
Last year, Madden also represented Team B.C. at the Canada Cup in Lethbridge, Alta., helping his team win the bronze medal.
Madden was named the outstanding back at the provincial championships in his first year of competitive football.
Two years later, he earned a second best-back award in the junior varsity final at the B.C. championships.
Madden also played high school basketball from grades 8 though 11, including a provincial first team all-star nod in his opening year of high school ball.
He also played lacrosse in the Royal City for 10 years, earning provincial representative status at the peewee and bantam levels, winning silver and bronze medals, respectively, at the national championships in Whitby, Ont.
But in his senior high school year, Madden had to make a decision on his future.
"I realized I had to make a decision," said Madden. "I love football. It's my passion. Don't get me wrong, I love lacrosse, but I had to go with (football).
"At a certain point, there's not enough time to do everything. I just put all my work into football."
At UBC, Madden will likely line up with the T-Birds in the H-back position, where he can utilize his good pass-catching ability coming out of the backfield.
With an 87-per-cent grade point average, Madden also earned a Big Kahuna $1,000 scholarship, one of the five top academic scholarships handed out by B.C. high school football.
"I've never been the guy that I have to study. I know I had to study at a young age. I realized I had to be disciplined and it helped me on the football field as well," said Madden. "You have to be disciplined, set your goals and follow through with them. My parents have always pushed me and told me I needed to get an education. You have to be balanced between academics and athletics."
At STM, Madden also bought into the spirit of STM - helping to set up dances, volunteering at soup kitchens for the less fortunate, even lining sports fields and doing odd jobs around the school.
Attending STM has given many students a good grounding in readiness for the next chapter of their educational careers, Madden said.
"If you buy into STM school spirit, you can benefit from it," said Madden. "We put ourselves out there to do that, that's what makes the school so good."
The football atmosphere surrounding the Knights has also played into that future readiness.
"The impact is so harsh in football. You have to be mentally strong in certain situations," Madden said. "You can crumble down and go down in defeat, or you can do what we did - stand up and push for that every inch.
"Everyone knows in football you have to put in the time, either in the weight room, studying film, knowing the playbook. That's when I think the STM discipline comes to play. Everyone buys into our program. I think that contributes to having a winning team.
"STM has prepared us well."
- Regan Eberding - New Westminster Secondary - varsity football quarterback, Sidoo scholarship winner, committed to UBC; varsity basketball; NWSS athlete of the year.