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WVU 2017-18 Mountaineer Mascot search narrowed to four finalists

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West Virginia University’s search for the 65th Mountaineer Mascot has been narrowed to four candidates. All four finalists are West Virginia natives.

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 Saturday (Feb. 11) during the men’s basketball game vs. Kansas State at noon 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 on their performance and interaction with the crowd.

The finalists are: Troy Clemons, a graduate student majoring in business administration from Maxwelton; Trevor Kiess, a junior accounting major minoring in pre-law and legal studies from Elkins; Jesse Lackey, a junior secondary education and English major from Salem; and Savannah Lusk, a junior exercise physiology major from Covel.

Clemons, the current Mountaineer Mascot, is a graduate of Greenbrier East High School. A Mountaineer and PROMISE Scholar, he earned his bachelor’s degree in sport management from the WVU College of Physical Activity and Sports Science in May of 2016. He has served 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 current Mountaineer Mascot, I portray West Virginia and WVU as a place to find yourself and create your own future,” Clemons said. “With so many great things going on around campus and the state, it is an exciting time to be a Mountaineer and what better way to be a part of it than being selected as the Mountaineer Mascot.”

Kiess, a graduate of Elkins High School, is a member of the Honors College, Chimes Junior Honorary and Beta Gamma Sigma Honorary. He serves as the chief of staff of the Student Government Association and works as a farm assistant with Cheat Riverbend Farms, Inc. in Parsons. He has served as a student intern with the Office of the U.S. Senator Joe Manchin III in Washington, D.C., a student-athlete tutor, and is a former member of Students Optimistic for Curing Kids (S.O.CK -It).

“Being selected as the Mountaineer Mascot would be the most incredible honor of my life,” said Kiess. “My love and passion for WVU and West Virginia have been a paramount part of my life and it has been my dream to represent our University and state as the Mountaineer for as long as I can remember.”

Lackey, a graduate of Doddridge County High School, is the president of the Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity, a member of the WVU Collegiate 4-H Club, and volunteers his time with the Mountaineer Boys and Girls Club. He is a Mountaineer and PROMISE Scholar and serves as a student teacher at University High School and a tutor with the Benedum Teacher Education Program. He volunteers his time with Empty Bowls Monongalia and Doddridge County Middle School as a physical education assistant.

"As a West Virginia native, I grew up in a house full of Mountaineer fans who have always admired the Mountaineer Mascot’s undying pride for WVU and West Virginia,” said Lackey. “I have great passion and hope for my University and state, and nothing would give me greater joy than to be the heart and soul of Mountaineer Nation.”

Lusk, the current alternate Mountaineer Mascot, is a member of the Honors College and Chimes Junior Honorary, and the first-ever Foundation Scholar from Wyoming East High School. She serves as a peer mentor, tutor, and student ambassador for the Honors College. Lusk is also the founder and president of WVU Helping Hands, a member of the Mountaineer Maniacs, Chi Alpha Student Worship Organization, and the Mountaineer Tutoring Network. If selected as the Mountaineer, she would be the third-ever female mascot at WVU.

"My year as the alternate Mountaineer has been one for the books,” Lusk said.
“I've never felt more alive than when I'm going crazy after a big play or signing an autograph for a little kid. I long for the opportunity to represent my state for another year. It has become a part of who I am.”

The selection committee will announce the winner during the WVU men’s basketball game vs. Texas on February 20. Tipoff is scheduled for 9 p.m. at the WVU Coliseum.



Contact: WVU University Relations/News

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