STOW — Logan Congrove thought his school deserved a better mascot.
At 15, about a year after he became Stow-Munroe Falls High School mascot, he began his quest to replace the shabby Spike the bulldog costume with one that looked more like the school logo.
Now 17 and a senior and with a $3,000 custom-designed Spike outfit, Logan is a finalist in the mascot category of the national 2020 School Spirit Awards. The contest is sponsored by Varsity Brands, with businesses that include sports apparel.
If Logan nabs the top prize, he wins $3,000.
"He’s taken this whole thing to another level. It’s been great," Cyle Feldman, Stow-Munroe Falls High School athletic director, said this week.
Logan, at 6-feet, 3-inches tall, is a towering Spike. He said he is doing exactly what he envisioned, unleashing Spike with the new garb that he essentially designed.
Spike has gone from something of an afterthought to a central part of school spirit, appearing at football and basketball games, as well as community events.
"He’s requested by people," Feldman said.
Logan debuted the new Spike costume — in the high school colors of maroon and gold — about two years ago, at a girls’ basketball game. The previous years-old dog suit, made with heavy fabric, was gray and "was the most generic bulldog costume," Logan said.
Searching online, he found a company in the Netherlands to turn his sketch into a big bulldog head — with a snarling mouth and big teeth — and a top with a spike dog collar and "SPIKE’ on the chest. The feet are huge paws. The hands are smaller ones. There’s a small fan inside the head.
Logan was encouraged by school officials, and the $3,000 cost of the costume was picked up by Stow-Munroe Falls Athletic Boosters, the high school athletic department and the high school principal’s discretionary fund.
Logan, it seems, was destined to make Spike his own.
He was enchanted by Ohio State University’s Brutus Buckeye mascot as a kid. In the 1990s, his father made himself a Brutus costume for Halloween, using a a plastic pumpkin to make the buckeye head.
Logan has worn the Brutus getup to some Ohio State basketball games. as well as one of the school’s football games.
"Each time I met the real Brutus," he said. "It was a blast!"
His father, John, is in sales, and his mother, Emily, is an elementary school guidance counselor in another school district.
Last year, Logan branched out, filling the shoes of Akron RubberDucks mascots at more than a couple dozen home games of the minor league baseball team. He plans to do the same this season. He’s portrayed the team’s Webster the duck, Orbit the space cat, Homer, the inflatable pigeon and "Rubberta" the duck.
At Stow-Munroe Falls High, "one of my favorite things about being the mascot is getting to see how excited all the little kids are to high-five or hug Spike," Logan said in his essay for the mascot contest.
One of those delighted kids is a preschool boy in Stow who became a big Spike fan when he attended his first Stow-Munroe Falls football game. Logan set up a surprise visit with the boy after he saw a Facebook post about the boy wearing a homemade Spike outfit for Halloween last year.
The winner of the mascot contest (chosen by a Varsity Brands panel) will be announced at the May 9 School Spirit show — featuring a host of award categories, including those for coaches and athletes— at Disney World in Orlando, Fla. Logan hopes to attend the event, which will be broadcast later on CBS Sports.
Logan, who bowls for Stow-Munroe Falls High, hopes his school mascot days aren’t behind when he graduates this spring.
Later this month, he will audition to be among a cadre of University of Akron students portraying the school’s Zippy the kangaroo mascot. He plans to study communications and public relations, and figures his mascot work already has earned him some PR experience.
Meanwhile, Feldman, the Stow-Munroe Falls High athletic director, said the school will have to find students — he’s thinking he needs more than one — to fill Logan’s shoes.
Logan says he couldn’t have been Spike without the help of friends at school, including football cheerleaders Aubree MacAdam, Brett Marcum and Marissa Mosko, who frequently have helped him get into the costume.
"It’s a two-three person job," he said.
Contact reporter Katie Byard at 330-9963781 or kbyard@thebeaconjournal. com. You can follow her @KatieByardABJ on Twitter or Facebook.