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Seniors celebrate final victory at home

Bridget Feeney | Sunday, November 18, 2012

For a quarter of the student body, Saturday’s football victory against Wake Forest represented more than an undefeated season at home. It also marked the seniors’ last game in the student section of Notre Dame Stadium.

Saint Mary’s senior Maria Malm said this weekend’s celebrations were the perfect culmination to her four years in the student section as a Notre Dame fan.

“I had so much fun in the stands on Saturday,” she said. “The atmosphere was incredible and it was so great to get to spend it with all of my classmates. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to spend my last game as a student.”

While the Irish victory and preservation of the undefeated record were key components to the weekend’s joy, Malm said one of the best parts of the game came after the final whistle when she and other seniors spilled onto the field.

“Going on the field was by far one of the highlights of my four years in the student section,” she said. “I had so much fun taking pictures and just taking it all in. It was a special moment and I know I’ll remember it forever.”

Saint Mary’s senior Claire Priestly joined Malm and the other seniors in rushing the field after the game. She also said it was a special way to celebrate her time as a student fan.

“It was a great end to the four years I’ve spent going to the games with all of my friends,” she said. “We had so much fun and enjoyed it a lot.”

Saint Mary’s senior Megan Lynch also spent her Saturday in the student section cheering on the Irish for one final time. She said her final game was enjoyable, if also surreal.

“It didn’t hit me that it was the last game until I was walking into the Stadium,” she said. “It was sad thinking that I would never be able to attend a game as a student again, but it was extra special to walk into the last game with the same best friends that I walked into my first home game with freshman year.”

Notre Dame senior Ellie Griep said she thought Saturday’s game marked the end of a fantastic senior season.

“This is the perfect senior season,” she said. “No. 1 is the pinnacle and we will all ride out on that high.”

Griep said cheering on the Irish this year was a different experience than past seasons.

“I have never cared about football as a sport before, and still am not interested in any other team or league, but there isn’t anything I wouldn’t give to see Notre Dame at the BCS National Championship,” she said.

In addition to beating Wake Forest and maintaining an undefeated season at home, Malm said she was also excited about other results in the college football world.

“Going to bed Saturday night with the news both Oregon and Kansas State lost was the perfect ending to the day’s festivities,” she said. “I can’t believe the season Notre Dame has had, and I feel so blessed I was here to experience it all.”

Notre Dame senior Eddie Hjerpe agreed the season has been a perfect culmination of the past four years and quoted the football team from popular television show “Friday Night Lights” on their quest for a state championship.

“One team, one dream. … We’re going to state,” he said. “[I] could not have asked for a better year to be a senior at Notre Dame.”