MASON, W.Va. — The field of candidates has been narrowed, and Mary Roush of Mason is among the final four vying for the title of West Virginia University’s 68th Mountaineer Mascot.
The freshman student will now compete in a cheer-off at Saturday’s men’s basketball game against Texas at 2 p.m. Roush, as well as the other three finalists, will be judged on performance and audience engagement while doing game day cheers.
An advertising/public relations major, with a minor in sports communication, Roush is the daughter of Mitch Roush and Erin Krawsczyn.
Roush said her journey to the final four began with an intense application process that included letters of recommendation and five essays. Of the applicants, approximately 10 were chosen for an in-person interview with around 20 faculty members, students, and previous Mountaineers.
As one of the final four chosen, Roush will be dressed in the traditional buckskins, carrying a musket during the cheer-off, where she will act as the Mountaineer for one half of the game. Other finalists include Logan Moore of Winchester, Virginia; Aidan Priest of Baldwinsville, New York; and Gunnar Webb of Bridgeport, West Virginia.
Roush said she always had the idea to try out in the back of her head, but once she arrived at WVU, she fully immersed herself into the culture and sports, and fell in love.
“I was always Wahama’s number one fan and I figured why not carry that on to WVU,” Roush said. “I also love the whole State of West Virginia and it’s people. Being the Mountaineer is not just a mascot, but it is a public figure of the university and state. I have always been passionate about making the state a better place and giving back to the people and communities that have given me so much, and being the Mountaineer will allow me to do that, just with a bigger audience.”
If chosen, Roush would be the third female to hold the title. Point Pleasant resident Rebecca Durst was the mascot in 2009, while Natalie Tennant served as the Mountaineer in 1990. Roush said she would be one of the youngest mascots ever chosen, because most are selected in their junior or senior year.
At WVU, Roush is involved in the Mountaineer Maniacs and the Public Relations Student Society of America. She also has an internship with WVU Athletics Video.
The winner will be announced at the last men’s home basketball game on March 5.
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Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing, email her at [email protected]