The Notre Dame Fighting Irish tried to win their first national championship since 1988 against the Alabama Crimson Tide on Monday, and one Hoover High grad was right in the thick of it.
Erin Garfield, a 2010 graduate, is a cheerleader for Notre Dame and was in Miami for the Discover BCS National Championship Game.
Garfield, a junior, is a a premed biology major with a minor in poverty studies.
North Canton Patch was able to catch up with Garfield before the big game to find out more about her experience at Notre Dame and talk about the big game.
North Canton Patch: What made you choose Notre Dame?
Erin Garfield: I chose Notre Dame because I wanted to attend a school that was known for its academics, but I also loved the family atmosphere that I found there. There just isn't another place like it. I think Lou Holtz summed it up best in saying, "If you've been here no explanation is necessary, if you haven't no explanation will suffice."
NCP: What is it like being a Notre Dame cheerleader?
EG: Being a Notre Dame cheerleader has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I have made so many amazing friendships through cheer and have been given so many opportunities that I would not have had otherwise.
From getting to cheer on the sidelines at home games, meeting Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson, and even going on a service trip to Uganda last summer with other Notre Dame student athletes, I consider myself to be very blessed to be a part of the team.
NCP: Do you have any special memories from this season or your college career so far?
EG: This season, one of the best, and simultaneously the most terrifying, memories that I have is the student section storming the field after we won against Stanford. The love that the entire student section has for the team never ceases to amaze me, and storming the field and having everyone out there with the team really brings the student body together.
As a cheerleader though, it's really scary when people are jumping down from the bleachers and rushing onto the field because you pretty much get trampled and it's hard to escape the mass of people running out there. Nonetheless, it was still awesome to see how passionate the student body is about Notre Dame football.
NCP: What are you looking forward to most in the national championship game?
EG: I'm looking forward to winning a national championship. Notre Dame is way overdue to win one and I just have this feeling that this is our year. The whole atmosphere of the championship is going to be exhilarating.
NCP: Who's your favorite player and why?
EG: Manti Te'o is my favorite player because I met and got a picture with him during my freshmen orientation at ND and have been one of his biggest fans ever since. He's not only a great player on the field, but he really sticks to his values and is an all around great guy. I don't think college football has seen many players like him.
NCP: Give us a prediction of the score and who wins.
EG: I predict that the score will be 20 to 17 with Notre Dame winning.