PORTAGE, Mich. (WOOD) — Students at Portage Central High School have a new addition to the cheer team this year, and his name is Maverick.
The Mustang mascot is new and improved, and already getting fans in the school spirit at games. The idea to revamp the mascot came from members of the student council a few years ago, according to the assistant principal Jason Frink.
“We wanted to make it a collegiate style mascot where he has more of a specific character is recognizable, doing a lot more interaction with the crowd, the cheer team and the band,” he explained.
The students held a contest to pick the name, which was someone nerve-wracking for administrators.
“All of the options were appropriate but one of them was moose. We thought. Moose the Mustang? That doesn’t make sense,” Frink said.
Frink had some inside knowledge and assistance when it came time to develop Maverick’s character. His college roommate was Western Michigan University’s Buster Bronco when that mascot came alive in the early 1990s.
“We really need to figure out is he like the Philadelphia Fanatic, is he crazy? Or is he like (Michigan State University’s) Sparty where he’s real serious? You never see Sparty dance. So that was part of the process,” explained Frink.
You can think of Maverick as Buster Bronco’s little brother.
No one is supposed to know who the student is behind the horse mask, so Maverick couldn’t give any direct quotes for this story, but he did answer a few questions with his expressive personality.
He showed off his muscles to let us know that Maverick is strong. He vigorously shook his head no when asked if he does acrobatics. He let us know that his favorite part of the games so far has been seeing the little kids so excited to meet him.
“There are some kids that keep coming back because they think he’s just the most amazing mustang in the world. He’s happy. Just happy to be here, to be a part of this and have the privilege of starting something so amazing,” his cheer coach Katie Eichstaedt translated for him.