Talihina’s Mia Pierce – Athlete Spotlight Presented by Pine Cellular

By Nick Hampton

In Talihina they know her as Tigo, the lovable mascot of the Golden Tigers. That’s Mia Pierce who has made the role of Tigo her own over the past three years.

“I call her my secretary because she helps me keep everything straight,” said cheer sponsor Shannon Phillips. “When she started out she was kind of timid and shy but now she’s very outgoing and does a super awesome job. The kids and crowds just love her.”

Like a lot of little girls, Mia had thoughts of becoming a cheerleader but wasn’t sure about it.

“When I was young, I was very body-conscious so I didn’t think I could be a cheerleader. And I was scared of mascots until one day one of them gave me a high-five and I decided they weren’t so bad,” said Pierce. “When I was in my freshman year I decided that no one had really done much with the mascot character and so I took on the challenge.”

For Pierce, who loves most anything associated with arts, her love of acting made playing Tigo a natural.

“Being Tigo is like stepping into another persona. Sometimes I wish that people could see who I was like the other cheerleaders, but I also like the mystery of people not knowing. Tigo is a happy-go-lucky character who likes to interact with the crowd and gets them pumped up for an event,” said Mia.

As the team mascot, Mia has to not only learn all the dances, chants and routines that the other cheerleaders perform but has to come up with her own Tigo routines.

“I’ll be driving down the road jamming out to Eric Clapton or something and an idea for Tigo will just pop into my mind and I’ll have to pull over and write it down to use in my routine,” said Pierce who is also on the school speech and debate team and a member of the National Honor Society.

While being Tigo is fun, it’s a little trying during the early football games when summer time still rules.

“It’s a sweaty job in the early season but I’ve learned some tricks that help. I’ll wear a cooling vest like bikers use and ice it down and then re-ice at half time. I’ll easily drink four or five bottles of water and a couple of bottles of Powerade this time of year,” she laughed.

Mia likes to draw and plays the violin and electric guitar in her spare time. She has been accepted to an elite performing arts college in Los Angeles after this senior year at Talihina.

“We’re going to miss her a lot,” said Phillips.

It would seem that Mia Pierce will leave some mighty big paws to fill for the next Tigo.