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Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024
The Observer

Saint Mary's students part of BYU pregame

Saint Mary's students were not lost in the excitement of Saturday's big game between Notre Dame and Brigham Young University.

Saint Mary's was acknowledged both before the game and during halftime, as students presented the American flag, participated in the color guard and were recognized when the band played "The Belles of Saint Mary's" during the halftime show.

Student body president Elizabeth Jablonski-Diehl and vice-president Sarah Brown presented the flag before the game. They received special passes to be on the field for a run-through and the pre-game activities, Jablonski-Diehl said.

"It was really exciting," she said. "This is the first time Saint Mary's has been given the opportunity to present the flag."

Notre Dame class officers and the student body president and vice president presented the flag at other games during the season.

"We thought, 'Why can't the last game be done by the Saint Mary's student government?'" Brown said. "We made a few calls last spring about getting it set up, and [our request was] very well received. The people who organize the games were very hospitable."

Jablonski-Diehl and Brown walked to the 50-yard line with student board officers from Notre Dame. They were presented the flag by junior class officers and in turn presented it to the Irish Guard.

Also on the field before the game were Saint Mary's sophomores and Army ROTC cadets Rachael Berg, Corrie Brisson and Stephanie Sandoval. Brisson presented the Army colors while Berg and Sandoval bore rifles.

"Color guard is great," Brisson said. "It was really cool to be on the field before the game and especially to hear everyone singing. It represents Saint Mary's as part of the Notre Dame community."

Jablonski-Diehl agreed.

"I think it demonstrates the relationship between Saint Mary's and Notre Dame," she said. "The football [stadium] is a really public place, and that just shows the ties to the whole community," she said.

Saint Mary's students were also recognized at halftime. The marching band played a rendition of "The Belles of Saint Mary's," a song traditionally associated with Saint Mary's College. The song was performed as a tribute to the 78 graduating seniors, some of whom were Saint Mary's women.

"It's a big honor," Brown said. "I think it shows that Saint Mary's students are a part of the Notre Dame family and the football family. It gives the student section a chance to participate and be acknowledged on the field."

As a senior, Jablonski-Diehl also appreciated the recognition of Saint Mary's at the last home game.

"You wait all this time to be a senior and to get to do something like this and now you are. It was a really good way to end my football experience," she said.