Photography by Victoria Gomez

Bruce Wayne becomes Batman by donning a cape and cowl. Anakin Skywalker is known as Darth Vader inside his foreboding, all-black robes. 

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When Lake Highlands senior Alli Truscott puts on her furry suit and mask, she becomes Willie The Wildcat.

Truscott, as Willie, is on the sidelines for every Lake Highlands football game, with performances at pep rallies and community events. The neighborhood knows exactly what that short, fursuit represents, but few know who’s inside it. 

This is the fourth consecutive year that Truscott has been Willie. She has been mascotting since junior high, falling in love with the anonymity it provides and the high jinks it enables. It’s become a gregarious extension to her already fun-loving personality.

“There’s kind of a power to it,” she says. “I could make friends with these people, and they wouldn’t know who I am.”

Making friends is exactly what she did. Truscott speaks glowingly about the bonds she has made as Willie with students and young children over the years.

“It’s to make Lake Highlands a loving place for everyone,” she says. “A wildcat can be friends with anybody.”

Truscott will say goodbye to her alter ego when she graduates in May, but her mascotting journey won’t stop there. 

“I’m gonna do it in college,” she declares. “I’m thinking about Texas State and Oklahoma. They’ve made it this far on my list because I can try out as a freshman for mascot. That was my criteria.”

She plans to study film no matter which school she attends. Until then, she has one more year at the Boneyard. She’ll be serving up a healthy dose of Wildcatnip along the way. 

“I’ve been part of the Lake Highlands community my whole life,” she says. “It’s given so much to me, I’m happy that I get to give back.”