Just as important as a school's name and its location is its mascot.
Options abound, and some teams go with the commonplace while others go
with the truly unique.
In Illinois, there are 794 schools with mascots listed in the MaxPreps database. Listed below are the Top 15 most popular mascot names in Illinois, the mascot names that only one school owns and other mascot facts/stats.A TWIST REGARDING PRETZELS
What's more interesting: The fact that Pretzels is an actual high school mascot, that two schools in America made that choice or that two schools in the same state chose Pretzels? Illinois can claim the only Pretzels in the MaxPreps database: Freeport
and New Berlin
. An article in Illinois Country Magazine
detailed the two different ways the schools got their nicknames, as Freeport got its from a pretzel factory in town and New Berlin allegedly got its nickname from players sitting on the bench tossing pretzels at each other in the 1930s.JERKIN' AND KNOCKIN' AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS
The Land of Lincoln has an outstanding array of odd or unique mascots. These two pay homage to agricultural roots in Illinois and at the same time make you laugh. Start with the Hoopeston
Cornjerkers: Back before machines did most of the work, people had to get the corn out of the Earth and into buckets. So the Cornjerkers were the ones who did that laborious work. And we also have the Cobden
Appleknockers, whose origin is a little murkier. Different websites have different versions, but The Amazing Appleknockers website
says that it comes from farmers using long sticks to knock apples down from trees in the orchard-centric area.THEY MUST HAVE GREAT HEARING SKILLS
The order is a little off. Polo
is the Marcos, so instead of the childhood "Marco Polo" game that is played in pools, it's Polo Marcos. Confusion could arise because the intent of plural Marco instead looks like the Spanish name Marcos. RED STATE OR BLUE STATE?
The debate over red states (Republican-leaning) and blue states (Democrat-leaning) should stay in the political realm. In terms of Illinois prep sports mascots, red wins in terms of numbers but blue wins for creativity. The Knoxville
Blue Bullets and Belvidere North
Blue Thunder can tout that they are the only schools to own their respective mascot names, and there are six blue-themed mascot names. No red-themed mascot can lay claim to that, though the Mooseheart
Red Ramblers only have to share with one school. There are seven red-themed mascots in Illinois, so while red wins the mascot debate, this site shows
that the blue side (Democrats) have won the presidential elections since 1992.ORPHANS AND ANNIES - BUT WHY?
calls its male teams the Orphans and the female teams the Annies. The mascot names alone bring attention to Centralia, but a deeper look into the school (and town) over time is a fascinating story. So first things first, the general consensus is that the teams became the Orphans because legendary coach Arthur Trout (for whom the gym is named after) named the team after a 1922 silent film called "Orphans of the Storm" and also that he was a frugal man, making his players wear uniforms picked from a stack of uniforms worn in previous years. Fans would comment that the players looked like orphans, with mismatched uniforms. This is all according to Chicago Tribune freelancer Robert Bittner, whose 2004 article
delved into the history of Centralia, home to high school basketball's winningest team from about 1933 to 2003 (possibly longer). An incorrect theory is that Orphans came about because of the 1947 Centralia No. 5 coal mine explosion that killed 111 people and thus created some orphans. And last but not least, some people perceive the Orphans mascot name to be insensitive to orphans, which you can see on the Adoption Talk Blog
.TOP 15 MOST POPULAR MASCOT NAMES
# Eagles 33 (There are 2 Golden Eagles, 1 Eagle Owls, 1 Mighty Eagles and 1 Screaming Eagles)
# Wildcats 32
# Panthers 31 (There is 1 Purple Panthers)
# Warriors 30 (There is 1 Golden Warriors)
# Bulldogs 27
# Tigers 26 (There is 1 Golden Tigers)
# Indians 24
# Knights 18
# Trojans 17 (There is 1 Blazing Trojans)
Cardinals 15 (There is 1 Fighting Cardinals)
# Lions 14 (There is 1 Masai Lions and 1 Runnin' Lions)
# Vikings 14
# Raiders 14 (There are 3 Red Raiders and 1 Purple Raiders)
Hawks 13 (There are 2 Red Hawks)MASCOT NAMES USED BY ONLY 1 SCHOOL
* Denotes that no other school in America has that mascot nameMASCOT STATS
* Blazing Trojans
* Blue Bullets
* Blue Thunder
* Conquering Riders
* Eagle Owls
* Flaming Hearts
* Flying Geese
* Green Giants
* Maple Leafs
* Masai Lions
* Mighty Eagles
* Movin Maroons
* North Stars
* Piasa Birds
|* Runnin' Lions|
* Salt Fork Storm
* Silver Stallions
* The Saint
* Wooden Shoes
Most popular mascot name is used by 4.2 percent of schools.
There are 253 different mascot names for 794 schools.
58 schools have mascot names that no other American school has.
Illinois' Top 15 features 12 of America's Top 15 mascot names.