Mascots are central to the identity of any high school. Whether it's a live animal or a representation of a mythical character meant to be cute or authentic, it serves as a point of pride and a unifying force for the school's current students and alumni.
Taking into account every prep school mascot in the nation, almost all common domesticated and wild animals are being used as monikers. The same can be said for most of the other symbolic characterizations roaming sidelines across the country.
So, which school in the country has the best mascot name? USA Today High School Sports is currently conducting an online voting contest to find out.
The staff at USATodayHSS.com has selected five unique mascots from each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia (a total of 255 mascots) to participate in the contest.
The contest, which starts today, will consist of three rounds of online voting. The final round is set to end on March 25 with the schools representing the five mascots that received the most votes earning a cash donation. The prize money ranges from $100-$2,000.
Voting to determine the best mascot in each state is currently underway at http://contest.usatodayhss.com/vote/mascot/OH and will end on March 5. Fans may vote as many times as they'd like for a particular mascot name and may vote to determine the best mascot in other states as well.
The five nominations vying to be named Ohio's best mascot are listed below.
Crooksville Ceramics - Some would say that Roseville is the pottery capital of Ohio, so it makes sense that Crooksville High School's sports teams are known as the Ceramics. Crooksville is 10 miles down the road and is also known for pottery. Crooksville is home to Hull Pottery, which is one of Ohio's best-known pottery companies.
Cleveland Glenville Tarblooders - In the 1900s, the Glenville community was home to many railroad workers. The workers were known as "Tarblooders." These workers used stakes and tar to get the railroad tracks to stay on the ground. The tar often splashed on their faces and arms, causing them to bleed. Many say it looked as if they were sweating blood. Today, Cleveland's Glenville High School is home to the Tarblooders. This mascot is half-man and half-robot, symbolizing fearlessness and ethics.
Shenandoah Zeppelins - In 1963, Shenandoah High School was built. There was no debate on what to name the school and mascot. In 1925, the USS Shenandoah, a Zeppelin airship, embarked on a promotional flight to the Midwest. The airship was caught up in thunderstorms over Ohio when it was torn apart due to the turbulence, causing it to crash in Caldwell, Ohio. The pieces landed in various parts of the county.
Norwalk Truckers - You could say that Norwalk High School has gone through a few identity crises over the years. At one time, they were the Phantoms, then the Raiders and now they're the Truckers. In 1948, Norwalk went through their most recent renaming. The Truckers nickname was selected by coach Grant Walls and the athletic board in 1948 because Norwalk was home to the headquarters of both Norwalk Truck Line and W.L. Mead Co. With two large trucking companies in the town, it only seemed appropriate for the local high school to show its appreciation.
Philo Electrics - In the early 1920s, an Ohio power company built a power plant in the town of Philo. At the time, the plant was one of the most technologically advanced power plants in the world. The plant provided hundreds of jobs to people in the area.The school's sports teams adopted the name Electrics to honor the school's connection to the power plant, and the moniker was adopted in the 1930s. The power plant stopped being used in the mid-1970s but the Electrics live on.
For more Northeast Ohio high school sports news, scores, photos and videos, visit usatodayhss.com/Cleveland.