Skowhegan Area High School students have a choice to make. Do they want to be known as the Phoenix? The Riverhawks or Sturgeon? How about the Badgers?

They could also be the Thunder,

River Drivers, Trailblazers, or Fishercats. Or, simply Skowhegan, with no nickname or mascot.

The process — which began when Skowhegan retired the Indians nickname at the conclusion of the 2018-2019 school year — is nearing its completion. Soon, Skowhegan teams will have their new nickname. The school’s Support Services Committee met last week to finalize a list of  suggestions for the district’s new mascot.

More than 1,600 suggestion forms were returned, and from that 147 nickname options were presented. Last week, two committees narrowed it down to the final choices. First, the Education Policy/Planning Committee narrowed the list to four: Phoenix, Riverhawks, Sturgeon, and Badgers. Two days later, the Support Services Committee added Thunder, River Drivers, Trailblazers, and Fishercats, to the list, along with a ninth choice of none, which is how Skowhegan teams competed in the fall 2019 and winter 2020 seasons.

The Skowhegan Riverhawks emerged as an early favorite, according to an informal poll of students-athletes this week.

The Morning Sentinel contacted more than 20 current Skowhegan student-athletes this week to gauge mascot preference. These students take part in a number of sports, across all three seasons. Fourteen responded. Reese Danforth, a soon-to-be junior on the girls soccer team, said students are actively discussing  the options.

Skowhegan football player Cam Louder poses on the school’s football complex Wednesday afternoon. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

Here are the results:

• Sturgeon, Badgers, River Drivers, Trailblazers, and Fishercats received no votes.

• With six votes, Riverhawks was the choice of nearly half of those who responded.

• The Thunder and the option of no mascot — just remaining Skowhegan — tied with three votes.

“I like the Riverhawks the best because I think the name should reflect the history of the town in respect to the Kennebec (River) and part played in Skowhegan,” said Cam Louder, who will be a senior on the football team this year.

“I like that it’s practical. It has relevance to Skowhegan because of the Kennebec River. And all of the mascots and logos I have seen for that name have been cool,” added Braden Alward, who will be a senior on the golf team this fall.

Mariah Whittemore, who will be a captain on Skowhegan’s defending Class A state championship field hockey team, also favored Riverhawks.

“I think our school deserved to have a mascot and not just be ‘Skowhegan.’ I feel this could have good potential as a mascot and be built in over the years,” Whittemore said. “As a senior athlete, it is difficult to have change, and I wish I could close out my last year with the mascot I’ve grown up with, but I think Riverhawks would fit in just as well.”

Kayla Furbush, another field hockey captain, prefers Riverhakws because it is unique.

Until the school sports season was abruptly canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Skowhegan teams competed for months with no nickname.

“I think it should remain Skowhegan. I would rather not have a mascot,” senior Camden Green, a football player, said.

Those who picked the Thunder liked the power the name suggests.

“Personally, I believe Thunder would be a good mascot name for our school because our sports teams are fierce and surprising. We are often underestimated, and when we dig deep and come back strong, it often surprises other teams, athletes, coaches and schools,” Danforth said. “Also, the amount of songs we could run out to for games is endless.”

Skowhegan junior Reese Danforth, a member of the girls soccer team, stands by the school’s soccer field Wednesday afternoon. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

Added junior Jaycie Christopher, the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Girls Basketball Player of the Year last season: “I think Thunder would be popular among students, would fit our colors (black and orange), and AC/DC’s ‘Thunderstruck’ would make a great song to run out to before games.”

Senior football player Connor Falardeau said he’s not a big fan of any of the choices, but given the list, he’d prefer Phoenix. Jimmy Reed, a senior on the golf, basketball and baseball teams, went off the board to express his preference for Spartans, not one of the nine choices.

“I would love to keep the black, white and orange, but if it’s between having a good mascot rather than changing the colors, I’d rather change the colors,” Reed said. “I’m not a fan of any of the other names that were chosen.”

The MSAD 54 board of director plan to meet of Aug. 6 to go over details before sending students a digital survey.

 

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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