Juneau high school students choose Thunder Bears as new football mascot

football closeup
(Creative Commons photo by charamelody)

Juneau officially has its new high school football mascot: The Thunder Bears will take the field next fall.

Students from Thunder Mountain, Yaakoosge Daakahidi and Juneau-Douglas high schools voted on the new mascot for their combined football teams on Tuesday. Thunder Bears won out over the Capital City Senators and the Orcas.

Students also selected black, silver and white as the new team colors.

The mascot and colors combine aspects of both the Juneau-Douglas Crimson Bears and the Thunder Mountain Falcons. According to District Chief of Staff Kristin Bartlett, it also applies to the new cheer squad and will be the mascot for all combined teams going forward.

The district decided to merge the teams due to high travel costs and declining roster numbers.

After initially saying the new football team would take on the name, mascot and uniform of Juneau-Douglas, Thunder Mountain students objected. They asked the school district to find a way to create a team that combined the schools instead. So it did.

A committee of students, parents and staff came up with the options for the new mascot.

The new team will still need jerseys and helmets, but should be able to use existing pants next season. Thunder Mountain head coach Randy Quinto has been named the new team’s coach.

The combined student body total of Juneau’s football program means the team also moves up a division in the state conference. The Thunder Bears will play in the Division I Railbelt Conference with Bartlett, Chugiak, Colony and Wasilla next fall.