Alex Cho ’23
On March 31, 2022, Paul Sipes, Director of Athletics for Outreach and Operations, announced a momentous decision that Mercersburg Academy will be changing its mascot. The decision came after a slew of complaints from parents, faculty, and students and especially pre-1990 alumni, who competed as far-more-menacing Blue Devils, regarding the current school mascot: the Blue Storm. To better reflect the community and environment in which Mercersburg Athletes compete, the school mascot will now be the Eastern Gray Squirrels.
The nickname Blue Storm was widely controversial and has been a topic of debate for decades. Two-sport athlete Kenneth Yonke ’22 said, “Blue Storm was cringy and didn’t make any sense. Like, Blue Storm. What does that even mean?”
This change seems to have satisfied many members of the community as positive feedback was received overall. Arnav Pallapothu ’23, avid tennis player, expressed his contentment with the change. He said, “I think it’s catchy and depicts the community spirit appropriately. I also really like how it sounds. Eastern Gray Squirrels really rolls off the tongue.”
Sipes also said, “We made this change after fully recognizing everyone’s opinion. I think the Eastern Gray Squirrels does Mercersburg sports justice.”
There were numerous other candidates for a new mascot during the vetting process such as the Hello Strangers (an homage to the local roots band fronted by alums Brecken and Larissa Chase, in which science teacher Dave Holzwarth also played bass, like every other band in the four-state area), and the Holstein Friesians (a nod to the driving economic force of south central Pennsylvania).
However, the athletic department voted on the Eastern Gray Squirrels in a landslide due to its “catchiness, originality, and the special place that those cute little critters hold in community members’ hearts,” said Lauren Jacobs, Director of Athletics for Program and Student Experience. “Just try throwing something away on campus without being startled by a squirrel scurrying out of the trash can!”
Inspired by the new mascot, Blue Storm, uh, Mercersburg athletes are excited to compete. Lax bro Peter Rice ’23 said, “I feel like when we walk onto the field as the Eastern Gray Squirrels, that will strike terror in our opponents!”
Not everyone is equally pleased. “I’ve always liked the image of a dark cloud,” insisted Maddy Gilner ’22. “It really captures my mood.”
The mascot change will be put into effect immediately following Sipes’ announcement. As a result, all t-shirts, warmup jackets, water bottles, and anything other ‘merch’ with a lightning bolt on it will be collected and burned in a one-time-only spring bonfire on Tippetts Beach on Saturday, April 30, when alums of classes ending in 0 and 1 will be returning to celebrate their COVID-interrupted reunions. Former Blue Devils athletes are especially encouraged to attend.
Go Eastern Gray Squirrels!