School nickname origins fascinate readers, who share more historical background

By Tom Nader | Sports Editor Published:

Last week, I presented a list of background stories that helped uncover the origins of the athletic nicknames for Portage County schools.

While researching for that story, I found the information to be incredibly interesting and offered a unique historical perspective.

Apparently, so did a lot of our readers.

I immediately received a high volume of calls, emails, tweets and comments from fascinated readers, some of which had lived in their communities for decades and still really weren't sure why they were called what they were.

Some of the feedback also shined more light on the subject, including the origin of the Field Falcons.

As shared by Field High School Class of 1966 graduate Ron Mishler, the Falcons nickname came to be after a student contest and vote.

Mr. Bill Cannon receives credit for suggesting the Falcons nickname. He was a falconer -- someone who uses and trains falcons for hunting -- and even brought one to school a couple of times, according to Mishler. When the votes were tallied, the Falcons nickname topped all others and was adopted.

"It had the right alliterative sound and the falcon is an aggressive bird of prey, which represented our school spirit of being in the hunt," Mishler said.

Additionally, Windham historian George Belden offered more historical nuggets, using an article written by Record-Courier sports writer Oliver Wolcott in the winter of 1940 as reference.

• Kent State University was known as the Silver Foxes before they became the Golden Flashes.

• Hiram College was known as the Farmers, but its fans thought it was too "seedy" and the change was made to Terriers.

• The Garfield High School girls basketball teams of the 1920s were know as the Red Sox.

• Aurora High School was originally known as The Greenies, but the community despised the nickname and altered it just enough to make everyone happy, while still keeping it close to its original.

• Before consolidation throughout many districts, there were a number of old nicknames that fell by the wayside. Of those: Charlestown High School was known as the Wildcats; Freedom High School were the Yellowjackets; Deerfield High School were the Bisons; Paris High School were the Nightriders; Shalersville were known as the Owls; Edinburg High School were the Scots and their cheerleaders wore kilts; Mantua Village High School were the Hilltoppers;Suffield High School carried a variety of nicknames as the Big Red, Red Riders and Red Devils.

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Email: tnader@recordpub.com

Twitter: @Tom_Nader

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