Pumping up the crowd and showing school spirit, the mascot is both a symbol of the schools they represent and the pride in which they have in their teams, whether they are donning football gear, basketball gear or suiting up for any other intramural sport.
But there’s more to the school mascot than the outfit. The volunteers who suit up game after game add personality and character to the role of mascot and they go to great lengths to cheer on their teams.
At Woodland High School two seniors share the duty of donning the school’s mascot gear. In a system that has worked for them, Kaylin Baker, 17 and Lacey Fritz, 17, alternate taking turns suiting up and cheering on the Wildcats.
“We really have a system worked out,” said Fritz, who has volunteered as the mascot since her sophomore year.
It takes a special person to take on the role of school mascot and Kaylin, daughter of Ken and Bea Baker, and Lacey, daughter of Mark and Donna Fritz, do so with gusto, said cheerleading coach Kathi Shedd.
“We love our two Wildcats,” Shedd said. “The kids absolutely love them. The crowd loves them because they will pump the spirit up.”
As mascot, Baker and Fritz interact with the crowd, sign autographs and serve as an unofficial albatross around the necks of their team’s opponents.
Baker, who has served as school mascot since her junior year, said there’s something special about being a Wildcat.
“It’s kind of like an alter ego,” Baker said. “In a wildcat suit you really get to amplify that different side of yourself.”
In addition to providing backup to the cheerleaders, the mascot has the role of personally interacting with the fans.
“It makes you feel good that you can do something for your school,” Baker said. “I get to act crazy and I don’t get in trouble for it.”
The pair will graduate in the spring, but are proud to say they have cemented their place in school history.
“I think it will be something I get to look back on,” Baker said.