Hornet spirit filled the air in downtown Saline Thursday at a pep rally to kick off the 2017-18 school year.
Saline Area Schools and Saline Main Street organized the event, which preceded the Summer Music Series concert by the Saline Big Band.
Coaches introduced each of the fall sports teams while the cheerleaders and Saline Marching Band enlivened the large crowd with their routines.
Athletic Director Scott Theisen told the crowd it was a great day.
“We’re very excited to see you all out here supporting Saline athletics. We’re very excited to start the fall sports season,” Theisen said.
Field Hockey coach Erica Reilly was impressed by attendance.
“I think the entire town is here. This is crazy,” Reilly said. “It gets bigger every year. Awesome!”
Great Lakes Educational Group brought their friend Sweet Potato the Clown to make balloon animals for the kids. The Foundation for Saline Area Schools, celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, handed out rattlers which were used to cheer throughout the event.
After the band opened the pep rally, Saline High School Principal David Raft exclaimed, “We have the best band in the state of Michigan – maybe in the country.”
With five seniors and Coach Debbie Williams-Hoak in Traverse City for an invitational, Hornet golfer Emily Woodman introduced the rest of the team. Woodman reported the Hornets finished second at the tournament. She also told the crowd that on day one of the tournament, the Hornet top four scored 298 – shattering the old record by 21 strokes. Catherine Loftus also shot 67 – tying a school record.
Saline volleyball captain Emily Finkbeiner invited the public to attend its home game against rival Bedford Sept. 19.
“We’re really excited for the season,” Finkbeiner said.
Boys soccer coach Ryan Williams said his staff was excited about a great returning core of players. He said he hopes Hornet faithful come see the team play.
“We hope to provide a fun style of play which will excite you guys,” Williams said.
Emily Klemptner, co-captain of the girls swim and dive team, invited residents to the team’s car wash Saturday morning at the Saline Area Fire Department.
The football team closed the event.
Receiver Emmett Turner said he was happy to see all the smiling faces for his final downtown pep rally. He said the community’s support is important to the team.
“We’re strong this year as 11. But our 12th man – you guys – is our key this year,” Turner said. “See you in the stands this year.”
Football coach Joe Palka concluded the event by getting the crowd fired up with a cheering contest.
The football team kicks off the season against Rockford at 4 p.m. Thursday at the University of Michigan Stadium.