We at Aceable know a lot about great mascots. Our own mascot, Ace, is a lovable robot who’s captured the hearts of teens everywhere taking Drivers Ed. (Don’t believe us, check Twitter.) Having recently debuted our Drivers Ed app in Ohio (the home of our 25th favorite license plate in the country), we wanted to learn more about high school mascots in the Buckeye State and naturally, rank our favorites. We took a look at all 1,453 high schools in Ohio and chose the 25 best mascots based on creativity, originality and historical meaning. Check out the list to see if your school ranks among the 25 best mascots in Ohio, and if you’re a high school student looking to take drivers ed, give Aceable’s app a try!
Plenty of schools choose big, strong animals as mascots, but Mount Healthy aligned itself with an animal known for its brains, not brawn. The owl has been a symbol of scholarship since ancient times, and frequently appears as a wise character in pop culture, from Winnie the Pooh to Harry Potter. Sure it’s known for intelligence, but let’s not forget the owl’s sharp talons, binocular vision and bizarre ability to turn its head nearly all the way around. Mount Healthy opponents are shuddering.
Normandy High’s Invader is a fusion of fighters from two different periods in history, according to alumnus Dave Sutula. The midwestern school’s mascot is depicted as an 11th century knight atop a World War II tank, and is thus a nod to both the Norman invasion of England in 1066 as well as the Allied Powers’ invasion of Europe on D-Day 1944. (This section of the article has been updated since its original publication.)
Four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie … is not the origin of this mascot. In fact, we couldn’t find any information on how Pettisville picked up its nickname. We could, however, determine a couple of reasons why the blackbird deserves to be on this list. 1) In Greek folklore, blackbirds were seen as sacred, but destructive. Ooh, ominous. 2) There’s a Beatles song about the blackbird. That’s when you know you’ve made it.
Ridgemont might be the only school in Ohio with the Golden Gopher mascot, but it’s not the only school in the country. Ridgemont shares the nickname with the University of Minnesota, who started using the Golden Gophers in the late 1800s. Related? Maybe. Minnesota earned the sobriquet “Gopher State” in 1857 after a political cartoon depicted railroad officials as gophers. The town of Ridgeway, Ohio, was founded around the same time as part of the railroad extension to the West. On the other hand, maybe Ridgemont students were just really big Caddyshack fans.
Crooksville’s unusual mascot name is thanks to its famous pottery industry, pioneered by the now closed Hull Pottery. Today, Crooksville celebrates its ceramics with the annual Crooksville-Rossville Pottery Festival, bringing earthenware experts from all over to small-town Ohio. This midwestern village sure is proud of its ceramics — both of the clay pot and high school student variety.
Liverpool? Potters? Is this Ohio town fond of the J.K. Rowling series? Nope, similar to Crooksville, East Liverpool, Ohio is best known for its ceramics, not The Boy Who Lived. Nicknamed the “Pottery Capital of the World,” East Liverpool once produced more than half of the nation’s ceramics products. If you don’t think Potters are ferocious, then check out the high school’s mascot: an open kiln with gleaming eyes. Kilns can fire up to 2350 degrees Fahrenheit, so try facing off against one of those in a competition. Ooh, burn.
Not quite a moose, not quite a reindeer, but an elk (named Weebie). You might not have heard of the Centerville Elks, but you’ve certainly heard of some of their graduates. NFL players Mike Nugent and A.J. Hawk both played for Centerville High School before moving onto The Ohio State University and eventually the pros. Sounds like these Elks know how to toss a pigskin.
Lawyers are tough. (Ever seen Annalise Keating on How to Get Away With Murder?) At John Marshall, they’re even tougher because they’re named after one of the longest serving justices in Supreme Court history whose decisions still heavily influence our current legal process. Today, the John Marshall name has moved from the Supreme Court to the gym court, where the Lawyers are serving justice to any team who enters.
Sure Warriors and Wildcats are fierce, but who’s one of the most powerful figures in the country? The President, that’s who. Marion Harding did well with its unique President mascot, which is often shortened to the Prexies (super cool). Even better, the school’s symbol is an eagle named Warren G. Cue U-S-A chant.
John Glenn’s mascot might seem unique, but it actually shares a name with nearby Muskingum University. The difference? The university is called the “Fighting Muskies” and the high school is called the “Little Muskies.” Aww, how sweet. But don’t take these Little Muskies lightly. The boys’ basketball team brought home a state championship this year. Baller.
Lancaster High School students didn’t choose their mascot, a journalist did. Until the mid-1930s, Lancaster was known as the Tornadoes, but a local newspaper had trouble fitting the name in its headlines. A sports writer suggested “the Gales” and it stuck, the high school’s now retired assistant basketball coach told The Marion Star. Lucky Lancaster students are now the only Gales in the country (that we could find). Tornadoes might be scarier, but they aren’t as unique.
For those who don’t know their electricity history, Charles F. Brush High is named for the inventor of the arc light, a lamp that was 200 times more powerful than other lamps in the late 1800s. Brilliant. While the high school’s halls aren’t lit by arc lamps, they’re certainly filled with Arc pride. Feel the power. (Yes, that’s one of the school’s on-point slogans.)
Speaking of brilliant team nicknames, Philo High School’s mascot is electrifying. The Philo Electrics got their name from the city’s old power plant that once provided energy to more than half of Ohio’s 88 counties,according to The Marion Star. Today, the electricity generator is honored by Philo’s gymnasium, aptly nicknamed the Power Plant. Boom.
Considering our own mascot is named Ace, how could we not love this moniker? The origin of Blue Aces dates back to 1932, when a student sports reporter decided the school needed a nickname that represented its winning seasons in football and basketball. He started calling the team the “Blue Aces,” a nod to the school’s primary color and the teams’ performances. What a winner.
Hudson High decided to honor one of its own with the Explorer mascot. The nickname is a nod to Lincoln Ellsworth, a polar explorer and Hudson, Ohio native. Ellsworth made a bunch of trips to Antarctica a.k.a Penguin Paradise in the 1930s and even has a mountain range named after him there. Try living up to that, Hudson High students. Just kidding; considering Hudson has been named one of the best high schools in the country for several years in a row, we think students are have no trouble living up to their namesake.
For Fremont Ross, Little Giants is more than an oxymoron. The football team earned the nickname in a 1925 victory over rival Sandusky, when a sports reporter wrote that the squad played “like little giants,” according to The Marion Star. But the high school’s passion on the football field started long before it became the Little Giants. In fact, the antagonism between Fremont Ross and Sandusky dates all the way back to 1895, making it the second-oldest high school rivalry in Ohio. That’s a whole lotta touchdowns.
No, Norwalk High School doesn’t compete in racing 18-wheelers. Its student-athletes are known as Truckers because of the town’s once imperative transportation industry, according to an article by the Norwalk Reflector. Both the W.L. Mead Co. and Norwalk Truck Line shared Norwalk as their headquarters, the latter being the world’s largest independently owned trucking company until it closed its doors locally in late ‘60s. Despite industry changes, the big rig still holds a prominent place at Norwalk High, where Truckers rule the athletic fields. No word on whether students wear mesh caps and communicate via two-way radio.
Residents of this small Ohio town go loco for their Locomotives, the Montpelier High School mascot named for the area’s historically vital railroad industry. In 1930s and ‘40s, about one-fourth of the male workforce in town was employed by the Wabash Railroad, according to a writer who grew up in Montpelier. While the railroad is now a distant memory to Montpelier locals, its legacy lives on in the Locomotives name. Chugga chugga choo choo.
North Carolina was “first in flight,” right? Actually, Ohio, too, takes credit for the Wright Brothers’ airplane, which was designed and developed outside of Cincinnati. Wait, really? Yep. And fasten your seatbelt because Orville and Wilbur Wright weren’t the only famous aviators to come out of Ohio. Astronauts Neil Armstrong and John Glenn are both Ohio born and bred. Seems like Sycamore’s mascot is truly out of this world.
Zeps as in Zeppelin, refer to early 20th-century airships, not the English rock band. In 1925, a zeppelin named the Shenandoah took a publicity tour over Ohio, got caught in a thunderstorm, and tragically crashed in Noble County. Today, there are several memorials to the Shenandoah, including a metal replica, highway signage and a trailer filled with memorabilia and artifacts, according to Roadside America. But perhaps the most interesting memorial is the Shenandoah High School Zeps, proudly carrying on the name of the historic airship.
If you’re not familiar with U.S. government slang, a G-man is another term for F.B.I agent. Two Ohio high schools share the mascot, but for James A. Garfield located in Garrettsville, G-Men is more than a nickname, states a Record-Courier article. In 1935, Garrettsville was the setting for a $27,000 train robbery that brought F.B.I officials into town. Oh, the drama! The robber, Alvin Karpis, was eventually caught and convicted, but it seems he left his mark on Garrettsville in the form of a high school mascot.
No, not the kind with a retractable roof and four-wheel drive. The Jeeps of South Webster got their name from the magical dog-like creature in Popeye comics known as “Eugene the Jeep,” according to a Cleveland.com article. This bizarre character possessed super powers like teleportation and the ability to cross into the fourth dimension. Wait whaaa? Eugene was also known to be highly intelligent and tell the truth, no matter the circumstances. Legend has it that South Webster was dubbed the Jeeps in 1940 when its basketball team was caught cheating. Truth tellers … not so much. We’re sure that today the students of South Webster display better sportsmanship.
Rootstown’s mascot is deeply rooted in the school’s history, and it all started with a newspaper editorial. Circa 1960, students weren’t happy with the current Collie mascot, and a column published in the high school newspaper suggested a name change to the Rovers. The writer, according to RecordPub.com, cited “a lecture by social studies teacher Robert Dunn that Vikings or Norsemen were Rovers.” We’re not sure how many teens today would choose something their teacher said over an adorable dog, but thanks to the column, Rootstown gained a one-of-a-kind mascot. Still, Rootstown’s name isn’t what puts the Rovers near the top of our list. The school has a dragon mascot (appropriately named Rover the Dragon) who cheers on athletes at sporting events. The dragon’s origins are unbeknownst to us, but it’s pretty darn cute, so we’re okay with it.
Much like the child of an A-list celebrity, Mansfield has a non-traditional spelling of common name. But the Tygers didn’t find their mascot in a baby book; in fact there’s two tales of how Mansfield earned its stripes. The first story proposes that Mansfield used to be the Tigers, but was forced to surrender its “I” after losing a football game to Massillon High School, also nicknamed the Tigers. The second story, however, suggests that Mansfield was always known as the Tygers, and is the more likely tale, Athletics Director Skip Fulton told The Marion Star. The “Y” spelling comes from William Blake’s 1794 poem “The Tyger,” which begins “Tyger tyger, burning bright.” How scholarly, Mansfield. There must be excellent English teachers at that school.
Never in your life have you encountered a mascot as fearsome as the Tarblooder. The school postulates that the name has two origins, the first being from early 20th century railroad workers who built tracks using stakes and hot tar. Often the tar would splash on the workers’ skin causing them to bleed in a such a way that locals said they were sweating blood. Ouch. Talk about literal blood, sweat and tears. The second origin is that Tarblooder started from a 1940s football battle cry, which stated that Glenville would whack the blood and tar out of their competitors. Aggressive much? Either way the tradition started, today’s Tarblooder is a half-man, half-robot creature. And we love us some robots.
- Mapleton High School Mounties
- Saint John School Fighting Heralds
- Trimble High School Tomcats
- Martins Ferry High School Purple Raiders
- Lakota High School Thunderhawks
- Fuchs Mizrachi Mayhem
- Midpark High School Meteors
- University School Preppers
- Westlake High School Demons
- Groveport Madison High School Cruisers
- Oak Hill High School Oaks
- Frederickstown High School Freddies
- South Point High School Pointers
- Avon Lake High School Shoremen
- Mansfield Christian School Flames
- Shelby High School Whippets
- New Riegel High School Blue Jackets
- Old Fort High School Stockaders
- Barberton High School Magics
- Smithville High School Smithies
- Hilltop High School Cadets
- Vermilion High School Sailors
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