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In Maine, nautical mascots galore

If you’re surprised that a number of mascots in the state of Maine are connected to nautical themes, you may not have looked at a U.S. map recently enough. Maine is the home of lobsters, islands and lots of fishermen, not to mention a handful of seafaring school nicknames that leave little doubt as to what has shaped the state’s identity.

Morse High plays at McMann Field, which has an appropriate entry gate — WLBZ screenshotMorse High plays at McMann Field, which has an appropriate entry gate — WLBZ screenshot

First and foremost among those mascots are the Bath (Me.) Morse High Shipbuilders, according to voters for USA Today, the state’s best mascot. Given the city’s history, those voters might have a point.

Bath Maine first emerged as a North American shipbuilding mecca in 1607 -- yes, 1607 -- and never looked back. It’s still home to Bath Iron Works today, which provides much of the support and structure for modern U.S. Navy vessels, including design and construction projects.

In fact, USA Today noted that Bath Iron Works remains one of Maine’s largest employers, so it’s almost patriotic duty that some high school team take on the Shipbuilders as a mascot. There could be no more fitting school for that than Morse.

FlickrMascot Quest 2013 — Flickr

Other Great Maine Mascots of Note:

Like so many great mascots, the South Portland (Me.) High Red Riots were christened by a reporter. According to legend, a sports reporter covering a South Portland game said that the team came out of halftime looking like a red riot.

Yet, until 1950 the Red Riots could only be an unofficial mascot. That’s when the original South Portland High split into two schools and, surprisingly, the school that kept the South Portland name switched mascots, from the Capers to the Red Riots.

You could call the Houlton (Me.) High Shiretowners an exercise in truth in advertising, based purely on definitions: According to USA Today, a “shire town” is the seat of government of a land, and Houlton is the county seat of Aroostook County. Add to that the trivia fact that Aroostook County is the single largest county East of the Mississippi, and there’s plenty of reason for the Shiretowners to be proud of being a county seat.

Of all the sailing-inspired mascots around Maine, the best may be the Camden Hills (Me.) High Windjammers. While the Windjammers were once used for large cargo shipments, they’re now known mostly for summer tourists in places like nearby Rockport, giving Camden Hills some currency to their nickname of choice.

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