West Virginia University’s search for the 64th Mountaineer Mascot has been narrowed to four candidates, including three West Virginia natives and a Pennsylvania native with close ties to Parkersburg, W.Va.

The four were selected by a committee of faculty, staff and students based on an application, essay and interview. The final step will be a cheer-off competition on Monday (Feb 22) during the Men’s Basketball vs. Iowa State at 9 p.m. at the WVU Coliseum, where each finalist will don the buckskins and carry the musket to lead the crowd into cheers. Finalists will be judged based on their performance and interaction with the crowd.

The finalists are: Ethan Ball, a sophomore marketing major from Princeton; Troy Clemons, a senior sports management major from Maxwelton; Aren Cox, a freshman criminology major from Wexford, PA; and Savannah Lusk, a sophomore exercise physiology major from Covel.

Ball, a graduate of Princeton Senior High School, is a member of Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society and Students Optimistic for Curing Kids. He has also been involved with the Chi Alpha Student Worship Organization and Martin Hall Agency. He also serves as the University Relations chairperson for the Respectful Mountaineer program and a student social media ambassador. Ball is also the co-founder and currently serves as the president of WVU Shadow Pals and is a founding father of Lambda Chi Alpha.

“As the Mountaineer, I would zealously reflect the pride and hospitality inherent throughout every mountainous corner of this great state while honoring the sacred traditions of every individual to dawn the buckskins before me,” said Ball.

Clemons, a graduate of Greenbrier East High School, is a member of the Sport Management and WVU Grotto Club. He has been named to the dean’s list and is also a Mountaineer and PROMISE Scholar. He currently serves as a student assistant for the Mountaineer Athletic Club and student manager for the WVU baseball team. He has also served as an operations and facilities intern for the West Virginia Black Bears.

“As the Mountaineer, I want to give back to the university that has given me so many great opportunities and memories,” Clemons said. “I will have the opportunity to portray my passion for our state and university onto others to exemplify the Mountaineer pride that unites the state. Growing up in southern West Virginia has allowed me to see how special this state is because of its people, and our flagship university is a perfect representation of this.”

Cox, a graduate of North Allegheny Senior High School, is a member of the Mountaineer Maniacs, WVU Scuba Club, Tae Kwan Do, Phi Sigma Theta National Honor Society and Mountaineer Catholics. He has volunteered his time to the community through Adventure WV, Boys and Girls Club of Parkersburg and Catholic Charities. Cox will be the 18th in his family to graduate from WVU.

“I may not be a West Virginia native, but my connections to the state and WVU date back to my grandfather who attended WVU on a football scholarship in 1946, after which, came my father’s generation – all coming out of Parkersburg and graduating from WVU,” said Cox. “God, my family, West Virginia and WVU are the most important things in my life, and because of that, it would mean the world to me to be selected as the Mountaineer mascot.”

Lusk, a member of the Honors College and Helvetia Honorary, is the first-ever Foundation Scholar from Wyoming East High School. She serves as a teaching assistant in the biology and math departments and a member of the Mountaineer Maniacs, Chi Alpha Student Worship Organization, the Mountaineer Tutoring Network and serves as a student social media ambassador. Lusk, if selected as Mountaineer, would be the third-ever female mascot at WVU.

“As the Mountaineer, I would strive to embody the passion, tenacity, and virtue of the people of West Virginia. Becoming the mascot and serving Mountaineer Nation, would be the ultimate testament of my devotion to my state,” she said. “I feel as if this was meant for me.”

The selection committee will announce the winner during the WVU men’s basketball game vs. Texas Tech on March 2. Tipoff is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. at the WVU Coliseum.


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