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Mustangs mascot a two-sport athlete

West Fargo Sheyenne High School mascot Kody Coles and cheerleaders, from left, Rylie Nowacki, Madison Daub, Hannah Wiersma, Samantha Poer, Brooke Larsen and Maddison Heinzen are looking forward to starting a new tradition with the Mustangs. David Samson

FARGO – The West Fargo Sheyenne mascot is not what it seems. A mere Mustang on the outside, ready to pump people up and bring the crowds to their feet, but on the inside is a talented athlete looking to branch out while bringing fun and excitement to Sheyenne athletics.

Junior Kody Coles has been selected to be Sheyenne’s mascot this year and will make appearances at as many school events as he can fit into his already tight schedule.

That’s because Coles is not only the school’s mascot, but also an athlete who has ran varsity cross-country since eighth grade, started consistently playing varsity hockey for West Fargo last season, and this year is running track for the Mustangs.

Wanting to branch out and experience new things, Coles saw a sign for try-outs to become the mascot and decided to give it a go. And with only two people to pick from, his chances were good.

“I saw a flier that said tryouts and I thought that would be fun, so I kind of just jumped on it,” Coles said. “I’m actually really excited for it; it’s going to be fun. It’s definitely something different, and I feel that it will help me branch out.”

At practice Coles goes over the chants and cheers, but avoids the tumbling and acrobatics to prevent injury. His size is a factor so instead of taking part in the stunts he spots them.

Managing your time well during the school and athletic season is a daunting task that turns many away from even the thought of trying out, but for Coles it was a skill he’d acquired over time and knew he’d use it the rest of his life.

“Trying to balance practice and school work all at the same time can be very difficult at times and it’s very stressful and overwhelming,” Coles said. “But you definitely learn how to manage your time and use every minute that you possibly can and that’s definitely going to help me in the future with time management.”

It’s Holly Strand’s first year as head coach of the Mustang cheer team, but after nine years of coaching at Fargo South she’s no stranger to having a mascot.

“I hung up fliers and Kody showed up and I went and visited with him, and I knew he was into it and not just joking around,” Strand said. “I knew we could work it out between his other activities.”

With cross-country meets usually taking place on Saturdays and football happening on Fridays, Coles is in the clear.

Strand added: “It just kind of worked out and was a perfect fit. It brings a different dynamic to the team.”

Acquiring a mascot wasn’t the only exciting thing to happen to the Mustangs this offseason. Maddison Heinzen was named an all-American at two cheer camps over the summer. In addition to Heinzen, Alexis Gooselaw, Nikki Dahl, Taryn Schonert and Hannah Wiersma were name all-Americans.