Point Pleasant native Rebecca Durst will soon don the buckskins as the second female West Virginia University Mountaineer mascot. She follows Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, who served as the first female Mountaineer in 1990-91.

Durst, a sophomore pre-nursing major, was named the mascot during Saturdays (March 7) WVU -University of Louisville basketball game.

She has grown up with the Mountaineers and developed a spirit for the University that she plans to share with the WVU community during the 2009-10 school year.

Ive been getting ready for this role my entire life,Durst said.I have been learning about the state and getting involved in school activities.

A graduate of Point Pleasant High School, she has been involved in the WVU Student Government Association, Adventure West Virginia and Makeover Morgantown.

She has volunteered at the Sacred Heart Rummage Sale, Point Pleasant Sternwheel Regatta, Mason County Biddy League Basketball and Point Pleasant High School National Honor Society Canned Food Drive, among others.

It was a rigorous selection process, and we think Rebecca will serve with pride and honor as a representative of the state and University,said Lisa Costello, chair of the Mountaineer Mascot Selection Committee.We would also like to thank (2008-09 Mountaineer) Michael Squires for all his hard work the past year. Each year is a fresh start, and we have a wide variety of applicants.

Durst was chosen from among four finalists. The others were Brock Burwell of Harrisville; Rebecca Funk of Clear Spring, Md.; and Squires of Clarksburg.

Durst will officially begin her reign as the Mountaineer mascot at the April 18 Gold-Blue spring football game at Milan Puskar Stadium.

Tennant was named the first female Mountaineer in 1990a selection that garnered national attention for the school.

A native of Fairview, Marion County, Tennant graduated from WVU with a bachelors degree in journalism in 1991 and a masters degree in corporate and organizational communications in 2002. She was a television anchor and reporter in Clarksburg and Charleston.

Tennant was the 1997 recipient of the WVU Alumni Associations Margaret Buchanan Cole Young Alumni Award. Named for the first woman to serve as president of the Alumni Association, the award honors a WVU alumnus/alumna who has graduated within the last 10 years and has provided outstanding service to the Alumni Association or a local chapter.