Why Now?

Kaster Trabuc, Journalist

Why Now?

Most people know the IHS athletes as the Mustangs and Fillies, either through football, basketball, tennis, or one of other many sports teams. With the basketball season just around the corner, people will be chanting for the Mustangs and Fillies, both teams looking dapper in their new jerseys that they got this year. Each game played by either the Mustangs or Fillies will be an exciting experience for every viewer in the stands. There is one question people are asking, how long will we be cheering for the Fillies?

“The start of it all was when, you know.. The boys sports were the only ones. No girl sports popped up anywhere so it was just natural to call them the Mustangs. Once the girls basketball team and the other girl sports came about, we just came up with the name of The Fillies. They wanted a name that fit the girls well. Since the Mustangs didn’t associate with any gender, and wanted the girls to have their own name” They slowly decided that since Filly is a young female horse and the word filly could also be used to mean “young woman” and “lively girl” it fit right with the girl sports. “The name slowly spread through the school and finally became the name of the girls. With the guys being the strong, tough Mustangs and the girls being the fun filled Fillies, the name just fit perfectly.” said Marvin Smith, Cross-country, and old Track coach.

Going to school in Iola is an experience, you go through three different stages. Students will start out as Colts, which lasts until the 4th grade. A Colt is a young male horse that is less than 4-years-old. Which the young factor makes it a very good name for young students, even though not all students are male. The second stage consists of the ponies, which will last until the 8th grade. Ponies aren’t exactly considered a different name for young horses. It is a smaller breed of horse, people mistake for middle age horses. Then finally the last stage being the Mustangs and Fillies lasting until the senior year of high school. Mustang being a wild and untamed horse that is normally slightly built, not exactly meaning any gender, yet the citizens of Iola associate with the male athletes. Filly on the other hand is a little different. The true meaning which is a young horse, normally 3-4 years old, another way it is used is to describe a lively girl or a young woman. The name Filly makes a lot of sense if you think about it, describing young, strong female athletes. Even though all these names make sense, a movement has started to challenge our school. 

The discussion of changing the names have been around for a while, not really a first priority. Recently the discussion really kicked off after Allie Utley, an IHS student who now goes to crossroads, asked in a newspaper column “Why IHS recognizes boys’ sports with a tough, hardy Mustang and girls’ sports with any young female horse.” Though this question has its points, many students and staff have strict opinions on the matter. Shianne Carter, a freshman from IHS comments “We basically are young females, are we not? Just because it has the word young doesn’t make us weak.” Many freshman girls that participated in sports through middle school agreed that they liked how the name makes them different. “Growing up until you achieve the name Fillies was the best part of school. Knowing that one day you could be different and have your own name.” said Caiden Cloud who just started her first basketball season as a freshman. 

Many people have their own beliefs regarding whether or not the name should be changed. When it comes down to the students of IHS, a typical reason is that they don’t participate in sports or it doesn’t really affect them. The second belief normally comes from male athletes or non-athletes. Freshman Travis Wanker was caught off guard when he heard that the name might be changed “This a sad news. I really liked how the name Fillies made the girls a big deal, but in the grand scheme it doesn’t really change me as a Mustang.” Junior Averie Sharon who was part of the varsity girls in Cross-country reacted with this “I’m not a big fan of the Fillies being changed to just the Mustangs. I know for myself growing up I always looked up to the Fillies and always wanted to be one. We have always been the Mustangs and Fillies so why change it now?” 

A lot of people have been asking the same question, why change it now? We have been called the Iola Mustangs and Fillies since we have  grown up and some of our parents even have grown up as Mustangs and Fillies it’s our tradition. People that believe Iola is only known as the Mustangs are incorrect, we will always be the Mustangs and Fillies regardless of what happens.

A podcast made by Rock Chalk Sports Talk had Mitch Holthus talking about sports. He is famous for being able to name almost all of Kansas high schools mascots, which in the interview he was asked what Iola high school’s mascot he answered with “The Iola Mustangs, or when the woman take the floor, it’s the Iola Fillies. Love this! Love it! Because they are, you know accordance to the ladies. The Mustangs… male, and the Fillies as the females just works”. The Fillies have been recognized by everyone for a long time, are we sure we want to throw that away?