(Some of) the mighty have fallen and some came very close in yesterday’s Day 2 of Catholic Mascotology 2014 where it was unlucky to be a dog, be named Loyola, or both, as in the case of last year’s runner-up, Loyola Maryland’s Greyhound Iggy, who was felled by the sword of the Holy Cross Crusader (thus robbing us of a replay of last year’s exciting finale).
The Canisius Griffin came very close to being unseated as the undefeated and defending CM Champion by the Providence Friar who ultimately lost to the Griffin by only 78 votes! The Friar maintained an early lead yesterday morning, but by midafternoon was overtaken by the Griffin and could never quite catch up, trailing a consistent 50-60 votes right up until 10am EST this morning when voting closed. Sorry, Friar. You did your best. And now it’s up to the Holy Cross Crusader to try to outmatch and to get the Holy Cross student and alumni body to outvote the seemingly unstoppable Griffin.
Another match we were monitoring closely was the showdown between the Emmanuel St. Bernard (our namesake, Halo) and the Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineer. The St. Bernard led the mountain man for most of yesterday until we noticed in the early evening that Emmit S. Burg had surpassed the dog and never let up after that. Way to go Mount St. Mary’s social media machine! You’ll need that and more as you go to take on the La Salle Explorer, who easily defeated the Steubenville Baron in yesterday’s matchup.
Which brings us to this unfortunate bit of news: sadly, much like last year’s loss of the St. Louis Billiken, we must say goodbye to our favorite (and weirdest) mascot of this year’s tournament: the St. John’s Johnnie Rat. It turns out an unofficial rat in a bright red sweater was no match for the Loras College Duhawk, who remains the only No. 8 seed and the big upsetter of this tourney. The Duhawk goes on to face the St. Edward’s Hilltopper today, who easily dispensed with the St. Michael’s Purple Knight yesterday.
Meanwhile, in the Jesuit region, Iggy the Scranton Royal Wolf devoured Iggy the Loyola Marymount Lion, while the St. Peter’s Peacock pecked Havoc the Loyola New Orleans Wolf Pack to death. The Wolf and Peacock go on to face each other today in what could be the final Jesuit v. Jesuit matchup of this year.
Continuing random facts:
# dogs beginning tournament: 4
# dogs remaining: 0
# schools named Loyola beginning the tournament: 3
# Loyolas remaining: 0
# wolves beginning tournament: 3
# wolves remaining: 1
# mascots named Iggy beginning tournament: 3
# Iggys remaining: 1
# birds beginning tournament: 4.5
# birds remaining: 2.5
May the Best Mascot win!
The Canisius Golden Griffin is the defending Catholic Mascotology champion and top seed of this year’s tournament. Half lion, half eagle, the mighty Griffin allows Canisius College two mascots in one. And of historical note, being a beast of both the land and the air, the Griffin was seen in old Christendom as a symbol of Jesus — both human and divine.
The Holy Cross Crusader came about officially in 1925 when, following an article that referred to the Holy Cross baseball team as “crusaders,” the school paper took a vote and “Crusaders” won by a landslide over “Chiefs” and “Sagamores” by more than 100 votes.
The Loras College Duhawk, named Dewey, was born in 1924, compliments of a sports reporter (like so many of these mascots) who contracted the words Dubuque (the Iowa town of the school’s location) and Hawk to describe the then Columbia College (which became Loras in 1939) football team. Or, as described by Urban Dictionary, a duhawk is “basically a hawk on steroids that also happens to be purple and gold.”
The Saint Edward’s University Hilltopper is a goat; no, it’s a ram; no, it’s a goat; it’s a ram; it’s a type of horse used in fox hunting? Despite conflicting reports, the Hilltopper is technically “likened to a mountain goat”, named Topper and legend has that it came about a while back when the baseball team decided to bring a live ram to the game, (even though in 2010 a live goat began attending games).
The University of Scranton Royal is not what you’d expect…that is, it’s not a royal person, i.e. a king or queen, but rather a “Royal Wolf” (who replaced the unofficial mascot, the “Royal Rooster” in 2004.) And like a few other schools in this bracket, it’s based on the wolves found on the family crest of St. Ignatius of Loyola. And like more than a few other (Jesuit) school mascots, it’s thusly named Iggy. So maybe it’s exactly what you expected.
The Saint Peter’s University Peacock is the only peacock mascot in the NCAA Division I. (Upper Iowa being the only other college in the U.S with a peacock mascot.) This choice was made for several reasons. Primarily, the land on which Saint Peter’s now stands was once owned by a man named Michael Pauw, whose last name means “peacock” in Dutch.
The La Salle University Explorer is community-minded and currently in his 5th incarnation. Conceived in 1931 and officially unveiled in 1958 as a 17th century French Explorer, the space-obsessed era of the 1960’s turned the Explorer into an astronaut. In 1982 he resumed his original look until early retirement in 1997. 1998 saw him resurrected as a muscular superhero and voted Philadelphia’s worst mascot. In 2002 he became the Explorer that he is today.
The Mount Saint Mary’s University Mountaineer is the campus mascot of Mount Saint Mary’s University and head of the Mount Maniacs. Hailing from Emmitsburg, Maryland, the Mountaineer is actually named Emmit S. Burg. Always dressed in his coonskin hat, plaid, sleeveless shirt and a scruffy goatee, Emmit could easily be confused with an ironic hipster, however he authentically loves all things hiking and camping.