Last chance to vote for the top three contenders for Saddleback College’s new mascot

The top three mascot picks for Saddleback College’s new mascot are the mountain lions, rattlers and bobcats. Katarina De Almeida/Lariat

The college has announced its finalists in the race for the new mascot selection on April 27. After two semesters of debate and decision-making collaboration between staff and students, the top contenders have secured their place. Either the bobcats, mountain lions or rattlers will become the future representation of the southern California community college. So, which one reflects the history of the campus and the region’s representation?

All three mascot contenders are wildlife locals and the deadline to vote is today. The survey on the Saddleback website lists the pros and cons of each selection. Although, the bobcats do not have any cons listed. 

Bobcats are native to California and are charismatic felines. They are “fierce, aggressive, marketable, symbol of competitiveness, native to the area,” according to Saddleback’s survey. 

Mountain lions are large slender cats and one of the top predators in their territory. More than half of the California wildlife habitat is full of these cougars. Capistrano Valley High School currently uses the bobcat as their mascot and the concern is that there may be some overlap, according to the survey on Saddleback’s mascot page

Everett Cookston, a Saddleback student, shared his input on the new selection and what the mountain lion would represent for the campus.

“The mountain lion is a prime demonstration of what our school teaches us,” Cookston said. “The animal represents power, grace and intention!”

As a new student, Cookston is excited to find out the new addition to the campus’s representation. The mountain lion is his number one pick.

The last contender, the rattler, represents rattlesnakes. They are known to come out during warmer weather and southern California is considered one of their overpopulated habitats, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW)

Tyler DeClusin, a baseball player at Saddleback, has only been able to wear four out of the 12 uniforms due to the change. He still feels like the representation of the Gaucho will live on through their games. 

“Lowkey, we still call ourselves the Gauchos,” DeClusin said. “We’ll break huddle and use ‘cho’s.’ This has been happening since forever. Really, for baseball, they always broke a huddle like that.” 

Phrases like “G-up” or “Gaucho up” will be hard to let go for some athletes like DeClusin as he still considers himself one of the “cho’s.” But he also understands that old traditions may soon need to come to an end. Of the three contenders, DeClusin chose one that he could relate to the campus the most.

“The coolest would be the Saddleback Rattlers,” DeClusin said. “The old football stadium, there were rattlesnakes all over it and they called it the ‘snake pit.’”

The reference to the “snakepit” from the old football stadium could be used as a strength to represent a historical piece of Saddleback. Although, the con is that the term “rattler” may signify a baby rattle which could be used against the teams during competitions. 

Students have just one more day to vote and take part in a historical change for the college campus.