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Wildcat mascots' tenure ends, identities revealed


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KEVIN B. KLAUS/Arizona Daily Wildcat
After three years of being Wilbur Wildcat, physiology senior Wally Foxcroft reveals himself yesterday at halftime during the basketball game in McKale Center. Traditionally, Wilbur and Wilma are left anonymous until their tenure is over.
By Djamila Noelle Grossman
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday, February 21, 2005
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After years of dedicating their school spirit to UA athletics, school mascots Wilbur and Wilma Wildcat have retired their whiskers.

During halftime of yesterday's basketball game, mascots Wally Foxcroft and Stephanie Castro unveiled their identities as Wilbur and Wilma Wildcat. Foxcroft is leaving because he is graduating in May, while Castro wants to spend more time on her studies.

Foxcroft has been Wilbur for three years, and Castro has been Wilma for two, said Foxcroft, a physiology senior.

"We were both really nervous - now everyone knows your face," said Castro, a nursing junior, after they revealed their identities to the crowd. She said it was strange to see the new mascots, who officially replaced Castro and Foxcroft for the first time yesterday.

"It's hard to watch them, because a part of me wants to go out there. But I'm confident the new Wilma will do a good job. I'm missing it already," Castro said.

Foxcroft said he is really sad but is relieved he can finally tell people who he was.

"I've been hiding it for so long. I've been telling people I'm this or that. I'm a trainer, a cheerleader, a manager," Foxcroft said. "You can't hide it from your close friends though, when you walk in with the huge drum case. But they know that it's extremely confidential."

Being the mascot is very time-consuming, said Foxcroft, who has been dressed up as Wilbur four times in the last three days. But he said it was also one of the most rewarding jobs.

"You can do whatever you feel like, and there is nowhere you can't go," Foxcroft said.

Castro said meeting so many people is one of the best rewards of being a mascot, even though they are really meeting Wilma.

Castro and Foxcroft agree the costume definitely gave them a lot of confidence, but they said their personalities still match the mascots.

"I'm not a very shy person, but if someone had told me four years ago I'm going to moonwalk in front of many thousands of people and not even think twice about it, it would have been hard to believe," Foxcroft said.

Castro said she was sometimes surprised by her actions, like sliding in the middle of the basketball court or "messing with people." She said most of the things Wilbur and Wilma do are spontaneous, and the crowd feeds off their energy when they really get into it.

"You don't hesitate when you do that. It's upholding Wilbur's image. He has to be confident. He's never embarrassed, he's never shy," Foxcroft said

Foxcroft said although he has more confidence since taking the job, he always had a part of the personality that resembles the mascot. He said he has always been very outgoing and crazy, and loves being in front of a crowd.

"You are a different person once you slip into the suit. I wouldn't be that confident. I'm not a shy person as it is. I think a lot of who Wilma is, is a lot of who I am," Castro said. "I wouldn't say I'm just as (confident as) Wilma because there are a lot of things Wilma would do that Stephanie wouldn't do. Wilma teaches me a lot, and I teach her a lot."

Jonathon Kruse, head cheerleading and mascot coach, said he is pleased with the job Castro and Foxcroft did as mascots.

"They're two of the best people I've ever worked with," Kruse said.

Roberto Lucchesi, a business junior, said it was exciting to see the mascots unveiled during the game. He said he thinks the new mascots will have a tough time matching the old standards.

"It's going to be some big shoes to fill," Lucchesi said.

Ian Sambor, a communication senior, said he really liked Foxcroft as Wilbur because he represented the college students very well, but thinks the new Wilbur will live up to the expectations.

"I think he is doing OK. He is very high energy as well, which is definitely important for the game," Sambor said.



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