Gainesville High School and Jefferson High led the way, by wide margins among Georgia entries in the USA TODAY contest to pick the best high school mascot in the country.
When the vote from the online contest had been counted, the GHS Red Elephant was the choice by about a 1,500-vote margin - 87,783 to 86,265 for the Jefferson Dragon. Coming in a distant third with 8,265 votes was the Clarkston Angora. The Warner Robins Demon received 1,435 votes with the Johnson (Savannah) Atom Smasher bringing up the rear among Georgia's entries with 265 votes.
With the first round of the voting now complete, Gainesville moves on to regional competition against winners from Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas, Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Missouri.
The online contest began Monday and concludes at 3:00 p.m. March 25.
The voting began a week ago after the USA TODAY HSS staff chose 255 of the nation's "unique" high school mascots - five per state (and Washington D.C.) - for the voting. Fifty-one schools (one per state and DC) have now advancned to the second round and have been divided among six regions. Voting in the regional round began today and will end March 14.
The six regional winners then will compete from March 15-25 for the chance to be named the best high school sports mascot in the country.
The national winner will receive $2,000 for its athletic department. Second place will be awarded $1,000, third ($500), fourth ($250) and fifth ($100). To vote, click on the link below.