Four West Virginia University students are preparing to don the buckskins and carry a musket to compete for the title of 2008-09 Mountaineer mascot.

They are Brock Shane Burwell, a junior sport management major from Harrisville; Kyle Chapman, a junior chemistry (pre-med) major from Lost Creek; Chris Gunnoe, a junior broadcast journalism major from South Charleston; and Michael Squires, a sophomore chemistry (pre-med) and speech pathology and audiology major from Clarksburg.

Mountaineer hopefuls will participate in a cheer-off competition at Saturdays (Feb. 23) 7 p.m. WVU -Providence College mens basketball game at the Coliseum. Finalists will be judged on their performance and interaction with the crowd.

The student with the highest total score from all three rounds of the mascot selection processapplication, interview and cheer-offwill be named the new Mountaineer during the March 3 mens basketball game against the University of Pittsburgh. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. at the Coliseum.

We have four wonderful finalists,said Lindsay Darling, Mountaineer Selection Committee chair.Theyre all great young men. The committee is very excited at the possibility of any of them becoming the next Mountaineer.

Darling said the mascots chief responsibilities include attending all home football and basketball games, as well as any away games determined by the athletics department. He will also be encouraged to participate in alumni and other University events, visit WVU Childrens Hospital and West Virginia schools and get involved in community activities.

Fifteen students applied to be the mascot. Candidates had to be full-time undergraduate or graduate students with at least a 2.0 cumulative GPA .

The selection committee is made up of current Mountain honorary students, athletic officials and faculty members. The co-chairs come from the ranks of Mountain, WVU s prestigious service organization for student leaders.

The duties of the new mascot officially begin at the annual Gold-Blue game April 19 at Milan Puskar Stadium.

For more information, contact Darling, 724-734-1410, or co-chair Lisa Costello, 304-670-1030.