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Coalinga Horned Toad crowned as California's best high school mascot

The Horned Toads go toe-to-toe with the Hollister Haybalers and come out on top

California high school sports fans have spoken, choosing the Coalinga Horned Toads as the best mascot in the state.

Coalinga (population 17,465) won the contest with 72,114 votes, while Hollister (population 43,346) finished well clear in second with 55,017 votes.

The Horned Toads will advance to SBLive Sports' NCAA Tournament-style mascot bracket in March to crown a national winner.

The Haybalers have an excellent shot at being among the 16 at-large teams in the tournament, and the Compton Tarbabes could sneak in as well after finishing third with 5,578 votes.

The Cary Imps of North Carolina won the 66-team bracket in March 2023.

SBLive Sports is running mascot contests in all 50 states through November to determine the field in March 2024.

Other teams advancing along with the Horned Toads thus far are the Alabama School for the Deaf Silent Warriors (Alabama), Haines Glacier Bears (Alaska), Yuma Criminals (Arizona), Alma Airedales (Arkansas) and Alamosa Mean Moose (Colorado).

Polls are up and active in Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois and Indiana

Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky and Louisiana polls will post later this week.

Here was our write-up on the Horned Toads:

Coalinga (California)

Coalinga’s Horned Toad history goes back to 1935, when the first Horned Toad Derby was run in town. The event pits captured wild horned toads against one another in a race on a makeshift track, while Coalinga High School athletes compete on a more state-of-the-art track.

(Feature photo by Samuel Gaytan/El Paso Times / USA Today Network)

-- Mike Swanson | | @sblivesports