The campus and Huntington communities united to support Marshall athletics and the Marching Thunder during a special edition of Ninth Street Live in downtown Huntington on Aug. 27, Saturday evening.
Members and coaches of each team had the opportunity to speak about their season, meet and greet fans and enjoy the comradery that the night offered.
“It definitely feels great to be in Huntington and it definitely feels like home,” Cole Pennington, freshman quarterback for the Thundering Herd, said. “You can just feel the support from the fans and just from everybody in Huntington and I have loved being here the last few months so far. I am just so excited for this season.”
The intimate event allowed players to talk with fans about their lives off the field, court or pool as well. Many athletes spoke of their academic achievements, career aspirations and extracurricular involvement.
“We are very active in the community. We do a lot of volunteering, we try to help a lot in the Marshall community specifically, and sometimes we venture out,” Madison Fitzpatrick, forward and winger for the Marshall women’s soccer team, said. “We went to the elementary school in the morning and thanked the kids because they dressed up for Marshall day. We just try to connect with the community in any way that we can.”
Coach Huff took the stage to excite the crowd for the upcoming season and introduce a fan-favorite and herd football legacy Cole Pennington, who led the team in a chant of “We Are… Marshall.”
“I’m really excited for the players. They’ve been putting in a lot of work and going into a new conference, getting new exposure and new competition. They’ve put in a lot of work this off-season and over the summer,” Coach Huff said. “I am excited for them to go out and enjoy what they do and see the fans there and how much this community supports them. The family feeling that we have here at Marshall is truly second to none, so I am excited for our players to experience that.”
Women’s soccer was still undefeated during Herd Rally, and the players encouraged students and fans to come to games this season to celebrate their success.
Regina Fiabema, central back for the Marshall women’s soccer team, said her favorite part of this season so far has been their undefeated streak.
“It has given us a lot of confidence, and it has helped us a lot so far even though the season just started,” Fiabema said.
The Marching Thunder provided music throughout the night, and kept the mood bright and peppy as they danced and performed their new music along with crowd favorites, such as “Sons of Marshall.”
“The Marching Thunder this season, man, we are lighting it up. We’ve got freshmen who are very dedicated to their craft and this university. I am super excited to see what we can bring this season,” Nate Hunting, senior drum major for the Marching Thunder with intentions to become a military bandsman after graduation, said. “The best way to support is to be here with us, clap along after we finish things, if the band is clapping or dancing get into it and have fun. We are all just here to have a good time.