SANFORD – Sanford’s athletic teams will be called the Spartans this fall.

Students on Thursday chose a new mascot name, Sanford Spartans, by a decisive margin, putting an end to a tradition that began several decades ago. The logo will be a helmet with a crest.

Spartans will replace Redskins, a team name and mascot that originated in the 1940s, but that some American Indian tribes view as derogatory.

Other Maine high schools, including Scarborough and Wiscasset, have also dropped the name. Scarborough High became the Red Storm, and Wiscasset teams became the Wolverines.

Superintendent David Theoharides said students in grades seven through 12 voted Thursday on four potential mascot names, three days after the School Committee endorsed all the names as being acceptable.

Spartans was the top vote-getter with 587 while Sanford Pride — a logo depicting three lion heads — finished second with 423 votes. Sanford Stampede and Sanford Cardinals finished third and fourth with 202 and 113 votes.

“The naming of our new mascot comes the day after our Sanford High School boys track and field team won the state championship,” Theoharides said in a statement. “The new mascot becomes part of this new era for Sanford as we move towards a new vision for our school and community.”

At a school board meeting in May, members voted 4-1 to change the name for Sanford High teams.

They instructed Theoharides to meet with Principal Jedediah Petsinger and to develop a list of three or four possible names. Students and community members met with school officials, researching hundreds of possibilities before settling on four candidates.

The new name will become effective when classes begin in September.

“The process to select the mascot was designed to be collaborative with input from our students, faculty and community members,” said Sanford Athletic Director Gordie Salls. “With the selection of a new mascot, the Sanford School Department recognizes the importance and influence that a mascot has in building and maintaining school spirit, identity, unity and pride.”

Theoharides said he is not certain yet how much changes will cost. Logos, for instance, will need to be put on the helmets of high school football players and on the high school gym floor.

Theoharides said research done by his staff indicated that no other school system in Maine uses Spartans as their mascot name.

Staff Writer Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

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