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The Antelope

Second tryouts introduces Louie the Loper team

RYAN RANGE / ANTELOPE STAFF The Louie the Loper tryouts involved showing Loper Pride alongside the UNK Cheer Team song.

Five students sported the UNK mascot costume at the Louie the Loper tryouts last week to compete for the $1,000 scholarship. For the upcoming semester, UNK Athletics formed a Louie team, consisting of two identities and two managers. 

It’s a different approach to shape Louie’s identity.

“We actually decided to kind of make it more of a team and so we are taking on two Louies, and then two people that will kind of be Louie handlers or managers,” said Alex Jenn, director of ticket operations. “They’ll all be trained, the exact same, so they’ll all know Louie in and out.”

The two students and scholarship recipients in the suit will be freshman Darin Sazzman and junior, Govani Gonzalez. The Louie managers will be junior Michelle Morales Garcia and freshman Delvan Del-Cid.

Instead of winning the scholarship, the managers will be paid employees. 

Jenn said the duties will include making sure the person in the suit hits the destinations and is aware of their surroundings while walking.

Mascot appearances will be focused on.

 “We’re trying to train them, so that way they’re kind of the second — the understudies,” Jenn said. “They’ll know Louie in and out, and so they’ll be able to have the opportunity to move up next year.” 

Ryan Teten, the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, will lead day-long mascot camps. 

“We’re going to be building him from the ground up,” Teten said. “Everything from where does Louie come from and what are his motivations?”

Teten was the Tiger Cub mascot for Clemson University in South Carolina. He said skits and props will be incorporated, along with ways to interact with opposing mascots.

The board of judges was pleased with the results. 

The previous mascot could not continue, so there is no designated Louie this spring.

The new applicants brought the mascot to life.  

“There was a lot of good people that tried out today, for sure,” said Krista Williams, the head cheer coach. “It was really surprising compared to what we had before — how much talent was there today and how much interest we had. I think people really want to see Louie get built up into something more.”

The selection process included an interview, dancing and showing Loper pride during a UNK Cheer routine. 

The students look forward to sporting the suit. 

“I like creating an atmosphere,” Gonzalez said. “I like being able to hype up people, bring up people when they’re down. If we’re down 40 points, I’m there raising the bar, make sure everybody’s happy.” 

Sazzman demonstrated an array of dance moves at his tryout. 

“When it comes to being social with people and wearing a mask — underneath there, it’s fun,” Sazzman said. “I just did it for fun to pop and lock and hip hop.”

The Louie team will spread Loper pride throughout campus starting this fall. 

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