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03/28/2023 11:08 AM

Montero Spread School Spirit as Knights’ Basketball Mascot

Alex Montero helped rally both the boys’ and girls’ basketball teams this season as the mascot for the Westbrook Knights. Photo courtesy of Caitlin Eichler

A mascot is meant to bring good luck or to symbolize a particular group or organization. Having a mascot can often be helpful for a sports team to get the crowd to show their spirit or to serve as a personal cheerleader for the athletes in the given competition. Senior Alexander “Alex” Montero has served as an important part of the Westbrook boys’ and girls’ basketball teams as the Knights’ good luck charm this winter.

Prior to this school year, Alex hadn’t had any experience with being a mascot. As an involved member of his senior class, he decided to venture into something new.

“I am the vice president for the senior class for student council. They were making plans and talking about having a Knight for some of the games,” says Alex. “I thought, might as well be me, and I thought that it would be fun.”

Alex volunteered himself and talked to the Athletic Director for Westbrook High School, Caitlin Eichler, about being the Knights’ mascot.

He attended both the girls’ and boys’ basketball games this winter, supporting both teams along with the fans and student sections that were in attendance. Although it was a fun role to be in, it came with a lot of creativity and figuring things out as Alex went.

“The first game, I did not know what to do; I just did it on a whim. The first couple of games, very difficult to know what to do and know where to be,” says Alex. “It was hot in the costume; I could not see a single thing because there are two layers of mesh. I got the hang of it by the third or fourth game. People came to the games and liked that I was there, excited that there was a mascot there.”

Last year, Riley Peterson, one of Montero’s classmates, was the mascot for the pep rallies, but this was the first year that there was a mascot at the basketball games. Because of this, Alex had a lot of pressure on him to formulate the role as he saw fit, something he found a lot of success with.

Westbrook girls’ basketball Head Coach Sean Donadio, who completed his second season this past winter, appreciated Alex’s presence at the games and felt like he kept the athletes energized and pumped up.

“It was great having the mascot at the game. Alex brought energy, humor, and passion to our games. Alex and I exchanged several fist bumps during the matchups in a great attempt to fire up our team. My wife told me during halftime he made the whole crowd laugh with his theatrics with the Westbrook Flag,” says Donadio. “So much so during our film session with the team, we had to watch it because we missed it during halftime. Needless to say, it was the highlight of our film session and helped keep our student-athletes loose. We need more mascots like Alex at our games.”

Donadio also notes that with Alex’s presence at the games, it increased the student body’s attendance.

“There is no doubt Alex would have increased our student body participation if he had more time to generate a following,” says Donadio. “He attended several games, and the momentum was just building when our season ended.”

Along with Donadio and the fans interacting with Alex, he also engaged with people from the community prior to the start of every contest, who seemed excited about the idea of having a mascot present.

“People came; they were like ‘I am coming tonight; I hope I get to see you.’ People liked it,” says Alex. “I am sure they were partially excited to finally have a mascot.”

Montero is also a member of the theater program at Westbrook, and balancing both performing onstage and being in the costume for home basketball games was quite a challenge, but one Alex prides himself on for handling effectively.

“I just finished up theater, which was every day except for Tuesday and Sunday from 4 to 8 p.m.,” says Alex. “I went when I could; I did miss a couple of games due to an injury recently, so I could not be the mascot then. It is physical; jumping around and running.”

As both of the Knights basketball teams headed into the postseason, Alex was not able to attend due to the games being on the road. Despite this, Donadio knows looking back on the campaign, that Alex’s attendance was crucial to the team performing well and also filling the stands.

“Our postseason games were away, and he did not attend. I can’t stress how important it is to get more participation and support from the student body to support our student-athletes,” says Donadio. “Alex has laid the foundation for others to follow that will help propel the Westbrook Knights to victory!”

As Alex looks forward to the spring seasons, he hopes to go to as many games as he can and continue to spread the school spirit that he did so well during the winter.

“I am going to go to as many as I can; I know there is baseball, softball, and tennis; I will see which games I can attend,” says Alex.