They’re the Hornets you hate to play against. The ones who wear you down until you cry uncle. They’re the Hornets who take whatever the coach throws them during and asks for more.
They are Saline’s junkyard dogs.
When the top-rated freshman in the country came into Saline’s gym, coach Fosdick tapped Pete Jacobsen to guard him. Bates is 6’8. He had nearly a foot on Jacobsen. There’s a picture of Bates taking a jump shot against Jacobsen, the height mismatch is remarkable. But until midway through third quarter, when Saline just ran out gas against Lincoln’s skill and athleticism, Jacobsen had shut Bates down. He did it with a tenacity and persistence – the kind he uses to get under the skin of opponents on a regular basis.
The Saline junior is a star in field hockey. She could be a star in soccer, too, if she wanted. She could be a star, too, in basketball, if she had more time to devote to the game. Still, don’t discount Reilly’s contribution to the Hornets.
Here’s coach Roehm on Reilly.
"She is a beast at both ends of the floor and will not back down to anyone. She is up for defending the fastest guard or the toughest post. She just never backs down. Her competitive spirit drives her and inspires our team both in practice and in games. Her relentless attack is unparalleled. When Erin is on the floor, our defensive intensity as a team increases. She is an incredibly valuable part of our team and its success,” Roehm said. “And, as she has battled through injuries and sickness this season, we have only scratched the surface of her potential. I think we are going to see her take it to a whole new level as we enter the SEC schedule.”
You might not think a sport like swimming has a ‘junkyard dog’ kind of athletes. But you’d be wrong. Nicolas Huetteman embodies that spirit for coach Todd Brunty’s boys’ team this winter.
“He is a scrappy competitor who can always be counted on to give the team his best effort. His effort, energy in races is contagious. He doesn't think or worry or too much about anything. He just dives in and races. His tough, competitive attitude motivates and inspires the entire team,” Brunty said.
Like the other student-athletes on this list, McInnis as a quiet and kind personality.
When she’s not competing.
“Don't let her sweet exterior fool you. She jumps to any challenge with ferocity and pushes herself hard. She's up at the gym early in the morning and works hard at practice every night,” said Laura Dillman, coach of the Saline-Chelsea team.
Last week at Mt. Brighton, she threw down a challenge to a member of the boys’ team, betting she would beat him in the first race. The loser would have to carry the winner’s skis to the top of Mt. Brighton at the start of the next practice.
“She was unrelenting when she pulled off the win,” Dillman said. “Katie continues to improve her skiing, and is a key scoring member to the team, as well as one of our team captains. She is huge asset, setting the tone for the team.”
Not gonna lie. The whole reason this feature began with “junkyard dog” is because of Mickey Redmond, Tyler Bertuzzi and Jack Eberts. Redmond, the longtime Red Wings’ color analyst, is fond of calling Bertuzzi a “junkyard dog.” And watching the Hornets’ ice hockey team, it’s hard not to see the similarities between Eberts and Bertuzzi.
First of all, like Bertuzzi, Eberts has that modern hockey flow (hair) that makes him instantly recognizable on the ice. But what’s more reminiscent is the way he plays. He’s dogged in his board battles. He finishes every check. He plays on that line – and sometimes crosses and ends up in the penalty box. Eberts has the skill to chip in with the odd goal, but he’s out there to make life miserable for the opposing defenseman – wearing them down and softening them up for the scoring lines.