Be a Wildcat…literally

Abby Blazevic, Staff Writer

The chatter of students fills the gym as they wait for the assembly to start, anticipation weaving through the air, waiting, watching. A roar erupts from the crowd as the guest of honor arrives. Willy the Wildcat has entered the gym.
Willy has been around for generations, applauding students and cheering at sporting events. He spreads joy during every event and shows the crowd a good time in the process. For most, Willy can be seen as a symbol of school spirit.
“Willy is that visible sign of who we are,” Karin Walker, head cheerleading coach, said. “Wildcats are fierce and loyal.”
Willy is popular to students and staff, as he is mostly seen at sporting events and assemblies. He raises the excitement of the student body as he cheers for participants. However, Willy doesn’t show up just to support athletes; he strives to support all students.
“The point of a mascot is that they represent everyone in the school. It doesn’t matter if you’re an athlete or not,” Mark Krusz, athletic director, said.
There is no rule stating that the identity of Willie has to be kept a secret. However, students and staff like to keep the tradition alive, as it adds an element of mystery to the character.
There isn’t just one person who does the job; it can be any number of students who volunteer their time. There is an excitement in never knowing who is under the head, according to Amanda Hasenjager, senior.
Contrary to what some might believe, becoming Willy is more about personality than skill. There is no specific audition or physical test one would need to pass to be eligible for the role. It is mostly based on one’s availability, even if there are multiple students that have the opportunity to play the role.
If a student is interested in being Willy, they must have certain traits in order to successfully gain the title.
“It always takes a special person to do the job. They have to be friendly, outgoing and always have to keep the head on,” Dave Stephens, principal, said.
Yes, the suit may be a melting pot for the person inside, but there can also be a bigger reward of representing the entire school. The mascot has to be energetic all the time and also give hope to the home team and fans.
“It’s a lot of fun and it’s really exciting, but be prepared to never sit down,” RJ Kohlstedt, senior, said.
Those interested in becoming Willy, can see Krusz in the Athletic Department or Stephens in the Main Office. In order to be considered, a current physical must be on file in the Nurse’s Office.
As of right now, no one has been cast for the basketball season Willy, so all entries are welcome. Come tryout and see what happens. Who knows, maybe there is a future mascot hall of famer ready to show the crowd what they’ve got.