The Raptor Takes Flight
By Jill Fitzgerald
Ushering in a New Era in Sports—and Giving Modern Athletes Their Wings
Die-hard fans may remember "Malice at the Palace," the basketball game-turned melee between the NBA's Indiana Pacers and Detroit Pistons in 2004. That aside, November 19 held no significance in the annals of sports history—until now.
On November 19, 2013, the new Montgomery College Raptors mascot "took flight" in front of a capacity crowd at the Rockville Campus, capping a two-year transition to become a One College athletics program.
In its illustrious 60-plus year history, the College won hundreds of Maryland Junior College Athletic Organization (MD JUCO) championships, as well as several National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) titles, with many teams from Germantown, Rockville, and Takoma Park.
During that time, thousands of student athletes suited up in burgundy, green, or blue uniforms to represent the Knights, Gryphons, and Falcons, respectively. High school basketball coaching legend Morgan Wootten ’52 played guard at Takoma Park, NBA great Jerome Williams ’94 dominated at Germantown, and Sonia Basma ’11 led Rockville's women's soccer team to a national championship in 2011.
That year, an NJCAA rule change allowed students attending a multicampus school to play for another campus, provided that no other campuses had that same sport. To comply with the NJCAA, Montgomery College merged all sports with multiple teams under the ìone college, one teamî concept.
The Raptors became the College's official name in March 2012, after a vote from students, faculty, staff, and alumni.
But the College decided to take community involvement one step further by launching a design competition for faculty, staff, students, and alumni to envision the look of the mascot.
After receiving more than 70 entries, art student Felipe Collazo ’13 submitted the winning entry. He spent the summer refining his design with the Collegeís Office of Communications, in anticipation of the November 19 unveiling. Collazo, a native of Uruguay, said the Raptor spoke to his own experience as a Montgomery College student. "I wanted to create a design that reflected the determination, intelligence, and diversity that makes up the Montgomery College student body," he said.