‘We are the Trojans,’ Why?

The 2013-14 school year and sports season has begun, and New Prague High School fans are cheering again for their Trojans.

Retired school teacher and former school board member Virginia Lucier Hoyt stopped by The Times office last week and asked if we could find out when the school adopted the “Trojan” mascot, and why. She said teacher Rich Wilson at Falcon Ridge Elementary asked her about the mascot because he wanted to do a project with his students on the topic.

In a short look through past years’ issues of The Times, we found no reference to any of the school’s teams as the “Trojans” prior to 1941. A story in December of that year referred to the basketball team as the “Trojans.” Interestingly, just three months earlier, the local high school football team was referred to in a story as the “Seals.”

The Seals nickname has a lot of historical significance. It was used by the town baseball team and also by an independent football team. Both of those teams were sponsored by International Milling Company, which was founded in New Prague and which produced “Seal of Minnesota” brand flour.

Virginia said she asked Blase Bisek, who played football for the high school in the 1930s, and he recalled the team being called the Trojans during his playing days. He didn’t, however, know when or why the name was first used for NPHS teams. If anyone has any information, they can email me at news@newpraguetimes.com or call The Times office at 952-758-4435.

More on nicknames. This is the final year that New Prague will be competing in a conference against the likes of the Tigers, Storm, Hawks, Stars, Raiders, Sabers and Wingers in the Missota Conference. Those are the nicknames of, respectively, Farmington, Chanhassen, Chaska, Holy Angels, Northfield, Shakopee and Red Wing.

New Prague will be moving to the Wright County Conference, where we’ll be in a six-team division with the Orono Spartans, Holy Family Catholic Fire, Waconia Wildcats, and two kinds of Tigers, from Hutchinson and Delano. The other portion of the conference will include the Mound-Westonka Whitehawks, Litchfield Dragons, Dassel-Cokato Chargers, Annandale Cardinals, Glencoe- Silver Lake Panthers and New London-Spicer Wildcats.

There are three large schools that use the Trojan nickname — Wayzata, the largest high school in the state, as well as New Prague and Worthington. There are also some unique nicknames that fit in well with the school name. These include the Burnsville Blaze, Buffalo Bison, St. Paul Johnson Governors, Kasson-Mantorville Ko-Mets, and the alma mater of my co-worker Patrick Fisher, the Thief River Falls Prowlers.

School nicknames can be a source of pride, bringing students together under a common identity. Each school and its nickname has a unique story. I’m hoping someone can tell us the history behind the New Prague Trojans.