Behind the mascot: “Hector” the Trojan

Since opening in 1968, West High students and staff have been proud to call themselves the Trojans. WSS looks into how the Trojan mascot came to be over the past 53 years.

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Owen Aanestad

“Hector” the Trojan poses for a picture in the West Side Story newsroom on June 4.

Every day you walk down the halls of West High, you can catch someone repping various amounts of green and gold apparel. Almost all of them include either a logo or reference to West High’s own mascot, the Trojan.

Iowa City’s second high school was deemed the Trojans upon its opening at the beginning of the 1968-1969 school year. Former Principal Ed Barker polled the students on what they wanted their mascot to be.

The Trojan mascot is fairly common and descends from the famous Greek mythology “Trojan War”. The war started when the city of Troy was attacked by the Achaeans (Greeks) after Paris of Troy took the king of Sparta’s wife, Helen. The Trojan warrior represents loyalty, nobility, courage and leadership.

Only a couple of years into their new name, West High’s athletic program got right to work representing the West Side and newly born Trojan fans across the state.

The 1971 boys wrestling team poses for their team picture in the third ever Trojan Epic yearbook. (Trojan Epic Archives )

Throughout the 60s the majority of teams stuck to repping the green and gold across their chests with “Iowa City” or “West”.

Instead of the Trojan logo, we see many Trojan athletes sporting the classic “IC” logo on anything from their football helmets to one of the first gym floors in school history. The gym floor in the newly renovated weight room represents just one of the many ways West High has been able to identify itself with interchangeable logos over the years.

A Trojan football player takes a rest on the sideline during the 1970 season bearing the Iowa City logo on his helmet in the 1971 Trojan Epic yearbook. (Trojan Epic Archives )

As one of the most popular figures of spirit squads across the country, a mascot is intended to interact with the fans and excite the crowd beyond the cheer team. The costume or specific attire is not as common in high school athletics but can be an opportunity of a lifetime for high school students to represent their team and have a good time. 

Almost 30 years into being the Trojans, a new addition to the West High family, graced page six of the September 1996 issue of the “West Side Story”, a Trojan mascot of our own.

West High alumni Ryan Williams ’96 rallied the crowd and student section as “Super Trojan Boy” just a year before proposing the idea of getting a mascot to wear. 

After purchasing the suit, the school held a contest to name the new fixture of West High athletic events. Former English Teachers Carolyn Van Zante and Jan Leff won the contest with the name “Hector” by the flip of a coin to beat out the other names proposed which included: Tiberius, Tony, Apollo and Frenchie. 

The oddly disproportionate Trojan’s attire originally included everything from a cape to a sword. Hector went on to wear an old West High football uniform alongside the original mascot head. 

“Hector” the Trojan poses for a picture in the Nov. 2015 issue of the West Side Story.

The name Hector comes from a Trojan prince from Greek and Roman mythology. He was the greatest warrior for Troy during the Trojan War, killing 31,000 Greek fighters. His most famous characteristics were that he was a great son and a trusting friend to all the citizens of Troy.

After roaming the halls and sidelines of West High athletic events for about 20 years Hector the Trojan is something that the majority of students don’t even know about. The worn-out and interesting smelling mascot head is the only thing left of what used to be the famous tricycle riding and juggling character.

“Hector” the Trojan has been represented in multiple different logos over the years. (Owen Aanestad)

As time went on and preferences changed back and forth “Hector” the Trojan found his way into multiple different logos to represent West High and the Trojans over the years.

With or without a physical mascot on campus West High continues to succeed on and off the playing surface representing the Trojans and West High as a whole.

Behind every jersey, t-shirt, gym floor and appearance of the green and gold Trojan is the story of how it all started and West High’s very own “Hector” the Trojan.