This Week in Hornet Country

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 10/24/2016 - 20:31

It’s been a terrific fall season for the Saline Hornets. So far the Hornets have four SEC Red Titles, a district championship and a regional championship to their name.


It’s a sport that we don’t hear much about. But these students works as committed to their sport as anyone. Saline was reserve champion in the Region E competition Oct. 1-2 at Ingham County Fairgrounds. Saline advanced to the state meet, where the team placed sixth.

Students on the team included Abigail Brown, Jasmine Crigger, Eva Egan, Maggie Finn, Sydney Friedman, Megan Grove, Allison Livsey, Shaylee Louth, Courtney Lucas, Jessica Nelson, Christine Richard, Hailey Roof and Elise Sanitz. The team is coached by Lori Iraola.

It’s a shame all the “local” events are held in Lenawee County. Couldn’t the Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds host a couple of events?

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The Saline volleyball team won the SEC Red for the first time in years. The team hoped to cap off a perfect league season by defeating Bedford last Tuesday, but the Mules had other ideas.  Saline went 2-2 at a tournament over the weekend. So enough being deflated about Bedford. If the Hornets can win their district at Dexter, they might just get a chance to avenge that loss in front of a big crowd at the Saline regional.

The district starts at 5:30 p.m., Nov. 1 at Dexter with a game against Pinckney.

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Field Hockey

The Lady Hornets experienced the difference between Division 1 and Division 2 over the last few weeks of the regular season. But the regular season is in the past. By virtue of last week’s win over Chelsea, Saline is in the Final 8 in Division 1. Saline has a rematch against Skyline. The Hornets held a 1-0 lead against the Eagles at halftime, but Skyline scored two goals in the second half to win it. Skyline has a great team. On paper, they’re the favorites. But this is a Hornet team with many returning state champs. They’ll be ready for the battle.

Saline visits Skyline at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday for a chance to go to the final four, where the Hornets would face either Pioneer or Grosse Point south.


Cross Country

Congrats to the Saline boys cross country team. It’s one thing to be the favorites. It’s another thing to go out and do it. That makes seven straight for the boys. The boys are the favorites to win in the regional, which takes place at 1 p.m. Saturday afternoon at Lake Erie Metropark. Lots of things are coming together well for the Hornets. Anthony DeKraker is peaking at the right time. Jevin Nishioka returned from injury to run in the SEC meet. Saline is ranked number one in the state.

The girls, meanwhile, came two points away from pulling off the unthinkable. It had been a forgone conclusion that the Hornets weren’t going to win the SEC this year, ending a 20-year run. But with all-state runner Jessi Larson returning to the lineup at the SEC meet last Thursday, the Hornets came within a single point of upsetting the highly-ranked Pioneers. That bodes well for the Hornets. Larson has returned to a pretty good team, and she’ll make it one of the better teams in the state. Saline races at 1:45 p.m. Saturday. They have a legit shot at a regional title.

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The boys' varsity soccer team upset unbeaten Skyline, 1-0, on a rainy night at Saline High School to win the district championship. The Hornets had lost both regular season games to Skyline by a goal. The celebrations after Nick Scott's goal and again after the buzzer sounded have to be the most jubilant moments of the season, so far, for the Hornets.

Now coach Williams' team turns its attention to the regional. Saline plays Salem at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Ann Arbor Huron. The victor will face the winner of the Dearborn-Novi game in the regional championship game at 6 p.m., Thursday.

Come out and cheer on the Hornets.

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Catherine Loftus and the Saline golf team fell back to earth on day two of the state meet. But what a year they had. Undefeated SEC Red champs. Regional champs. Fifth in the state. Loftus will return in her senior year as one of the best golfers in the state. Sydney Page, Molly Pribble and Stephanie Schick all had strong years and should only get better.

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Swim & Dive

Saline is currently ranked second in Division 1. The Hornets have been led by state champion diver Cam McPherson, a senior, Lizzy Spears, a junior, and Maddie Luther, a sophomore. So far, the Hornets are undefeated in the SEC. The league meet should be great, because Skyline star power faces Saline’s depth. Ranked #2, the Hornets are obviously a contender for hardware at the state meet. Freshman Johanna Jorgenson and Emma Loveland have given the team a big boost. Saline needs to get as many state cuts as possible between now and the state meet.

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The old saying is “fake it until you make it.” For the first couple games this year, the Hornets simply didn’t look like the caliber of team we’ve grown accustomed to in the Joe Palka era.  But the young team found ways to win games as they gained experience and confidence.

Here we are again, reflecting at a Hornet team that just completed another perfect regular season. Rushing behind a strong offensive line, Connor Hibbard is a threat to gain a first down or a touchdown every time he touches the ball. QB Zach Schwartzenberger has reached a level of precision usually reserved for Swiss watch makers. When he isn’t opening huge holes for Hibbard, Bryce Wolma is making spectacular catches. On defense, Nathan Powers has joined Sean O’Keefe, CJ Gildersleeve and Robbie Felton among the ranks of defensive playmakers.

The Hornets have a ridiculously tough district and region with some familiar playoff foes, like Canton and Detroit Cass Tech. But Palka’s teams usually keep getting better, even into the playoffs.  Don’t bet against the SEC Champs adding more hardware to their trophy case.


Tran Longmoore's picture
Tran Longmoore
Tran Longmoore is a veteran community journalist. He is founder and owner of He is co-publisher of The Saline Post weekly newspaper. Email him at [email protected] or call him at 734-272-6294.

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