Just how many Bears, Eagles and Pioneers are there in Nebraska high school sports?
Now, please write down your guesses while I ramble on before revealing the answers.
June wouldn't normally be a great month for this discussion, but the return of sports and summer weightlifting has me excited for prep athletics come August — we hope. So, here I go, rattling off some mascot trivia for you thanks to information on the NSAA website.
My Nebraska high school, Humphrey St. Francis, has a pretty unique mascot, but its not quite as unique as I thought. The Flyers reside in Humphrey, but also in Franklin — a town south of Kearney near the Kansas border.
Some others you may have guessed were solo acts are the Buffaloes and the Storm, but both are used by multiple schools. Gibbon and Elm Creek are the Buffaloes, while Elkhorn South, High Plains and Creek Valley use the Storm. You're forgiven if you don't know where Creek Valley (Chappell) and High Plains (Polk) are located.
But there are more unique mascots than you might expect. Of course there are 14 Bulldogs, 14 Tigers, 15 Knights — including the Blue Knights of South Platte — and 12 Cardinals, but there's also quite a few special ones.
So, here we go. I dare you to try reading the following without taking a breath.
Battle Creek has the only Braves. Beatrice has kept Orangemen all for itself. Wahoo Neumann is, a bit surprisingly, the only home of the Cavaliers. There is only one group of Bees and they're in Blooomfield. Unsurprisingly, the Centurions call Centura — and Centura alone — home. Columbus has the only Discoverers. You know the Cozad Haymakers picked a good one. The David City Scouts standalone. Griffins are unique to Diller-Odell. There's a lot of Wolves, but only one Wolfpack in Elgin. Elkhorn Antlers are unique. The Fairbury Jeffs are, too. Gothenburg is home to Swedes. Islanders could, honestly, only belong to Grand Island. Hastings St. Cecilia has the Bluehawk market cornered. The proper nouns Holdrege and Dusters are synonymous. Jaguars aren't only in Jacksonville, Fla., but also at Howells-Dodge. There's billions of stars in the sky (or so), but only one school in Nebraska who's taken them on as a mascot — Kearney Catholic. Lexington has the only Minutemen. Only Lincoln High has Links, while Lincoln North Star is going solo with Navigators. Los Angeles and Malcolm have the Clippers in common. Minden and its Whippets are unique. Omaha Benson are the lone Bunnies. Omaha Nation didn't win the Super Bowl, but it is the Chiefs. Omaha Roncalli, meanwhile, are the only Nebraska school with Crimson Pride. I'll count the Omaha Skutt Skyhawks. Why the Omaha Packers didn't go with green and gold I'll never know. Ord's Chanticleers are special and so are Pender's Pendragons as well as Perkins County's Plainsmen. The Riverside Chargers are holding on until the NFL team wins a Super Bowl and a new school jumps on the bandwagon. Roughriders only go to Southwest. The St. Edward Beavers are on their own as are the Sterling Jets, the Sutherland Sailors and the West Point-Beemer Cadets. The Wilber-Clatonia Wolverines haven't been copied, nor have the Wisner-Pilger Gators or the York Dukes.
That's a pretty complete list, but please tell me I'm wrong by email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Now, back to the question at hand. There are three Bears besides those from Blair. They're at Callaway, Laurel-Concord-Coleridge and Omaha Bryan.
There's only one more Pioneer beyond those who settled in Fort Calhoun. The Nebraska City Pioneers aren't orange and black, though.
Last but not least, there's a lot of Eagles. Arlington has them, but so does Allen, Brady, Bruning-Davenport, College View Academy, Garden County, Johnson-Brock, Norfolk Lutheran, Meridian, Milford, Nebraska Christian, Omaha Central, Omaha Christian Academy, O'Neill, Overton, Southern Valley and Wood River.
That's a lot, but now my fingers hurt from typing all of that. So, I'm ending my out of season mascot column with this sentence.