Junior mascot says ‘neigh’ to challenge

clarawertzberger

FD16Junior Mascot067

Giddy up The Junior Mascot stands tall as cheerleaders approach it. The rest of the junior class prepared for a transition. photo by makenziefuss

On April 29, a line of Marian juniors dressed in jockey uniforms broke apart like gates at a racetrack. With the clomping beat of four distinct hooves, the mascot of the Junior Jockeys: And We’re Off! passed between the girls, racing a first-place win. This PVC-pipe equine was in the stables for weeks, and the students behind it couldn’t be happier with their accomplishments.

“The best part was definitely seeing the final product at the end and also seeing the class’s reaction when we revealed it to them,” junior Lauren Merfeld said. “It’s just an awesome feeling knowing that your hard work pays off in the end.” Merfeld and junior Melissa Geis were inside the horse, and Class Officer junior Megan Anderson lead the committee.

The junior Mascot Committee began officially planning the mascot the week before Field Week, though ideas had been tossed around three weeks prior. The physical construction of the horse put the girls in a tough position, and two remarked that zip ties were life-saving. As Geis put it, once the girls got the proportions right, they could go for broke.

“I was nervous, too, because I knew that our mascot wasn’t necessarily the cleanest, but that it was very interactive,” Geis said. “It all depended on whether the judges were looking for extremely clean, or more interactive.”

First, the mascot had to be strong enough for Demonstration. At one point, a misshapen PVC pipe threatened to get in the way of the girls’ dreams. A quick fix, however, put the mascot back in the running. “We shoved a full PVC pipe down the middle of them and, I kid you not, it bent into the exact shape of a horse, so I screamed, ‘Don’t move!’ and grabbed a Sharpie to mark the exact spots where it hit. It was absolutely incredible, and I have never seen anything so beautiful,” Merfeld said.  

Aside from that stress, the juniors’ Mascot Committee is a Field Day oxymoron. “Our committee is very laid back,” Geis said. “We usually stay pretty relaxed, and there isn’t a lot of drama.” Despite having no clear plan, the girls were true workhorses, and it paid off.

Anderson described her immediate reaction when hearing the Mascot results on Field Day. “After they announced us as the winners, I gave the biggest and most aggressive hug to Lauren Merfeld and started screaming in her face as she was yelling in mine, and it was straight joy. Such a rewarding feeling!” Anderson said.

The race is over and won. The winning horse and the group of girls that created it looked back with pride. “Honestly, I think it’s really important for everyone to understand that I was extremely impressed with the other three mascots,” Merfeld said. “I even spent 10 minutes talking to the seniors about how good theirs looked! Also, for everyone wondering, the beautiful velvet horse is, in fact, in Sokol’s dumpster, but I do have his tail hanging in my room. He will always live on in my heart!”

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