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Mary Roush: first freshman to be named Mountaineer Mascot

Female student in a yellow shirt holding a rifle

(WVU Photo/Matt Sunday)

For the first time in WVU’s history, a freshman will serve as the Mountaineer Mascot. Mary Roush, an advertising and public relations major from Mason, West Virginia, will don the buckskins as the 68th Mountaineer.

She is only the third woman in nine decades to serve in the role, following in the footsteps of Natalie Tennant (BSJ, 1991) and Rebecca Durst. Roush will officially accept the rifle from current Mountaineer Mascot Colson Glover in a formal “Passing of the Rifle” ceremony on April 22 at the Erickson Alumni Center.

Roush talked about what it is like to fulfill her lifelong dream of becoming the Mountaineer:

You’re only the third woman to serve as the Mountaineer and the first freshman. What does this mean to you?

It means the world to me to be able to put a girl back in the buckskins and promote representation. While it is an honor to serve and follow in the footsteps of Natalie Tennant and Rebecca Durst, I am also excited to lead a new generation to feel inspired by all that the mascot stands for.

Favorite Mountaineer tradition?

My favorite tradition is the concept of the mascot itself. Unlike the majority of college mascots, our identity is not covered by a mask or head. It is simply us. I love that we are able to interact with fans and inspire people to believe in something—to trust the climb.

What excites you the most about being the Mountaineer?

I am looking forward to traveling the state of West Virginia and seeing new places and people. I am especially excited to travel outside of the state this upcoming football season and get to experience new states and cultures!

How would you describe yourself?

Charismatic, passionate, motivated, honest and energetic.

Biggest role model?

My biggest role model is my dad. He is the one who taught me to work hard, be kind to others, lend a helping hand when needed and to love West Virginia with my whole heart. He is my number one fan and the reason I never give up. He also taught me to have no fear, which gave me the courage to try out for the Mountaineer in the first place.

What’s something most people don’t know about you?

This is very strange, but I have an intense fear of cats! So hopefully not many cats cross my path during my term. And don’t worry, I will not be scared of Kansas State’s Willie the Wildcat or the Pitt Panther.

Favorite Mountaineer memory?

When I was 15, my dad and I flew to Florida to go to the Camping World Bowl game. We sadly lost to Syracuse; however, it was one of the coolest experiences because even though we were hundreds of miles away from West Virginia, Mountaineer Nation was there in full force. It was one of those core memories where I realized how special it was to be a Mountaineer fan. After the game, my dad and I ran around the streets of Orlando yelling, “Let’s Go” to see how many “Mountaineers!” responses we could get back. Even though we lost, we sure did get a lot of responses back, which just shows how loyal Mountaineer Nation is.

Have you started practicing push-ups?

I do pushups every night before bed, but I am planning on really hitting the grind this summer to continue this Mountaineer tradition come football season!

Why did you choose to study advertising and public relations in the Reed College of Media?

Coming into college, I was unsure on my major but as soon as I stepped foot into Martin Hall, I knew it was home. I finally was able to meet people, peers and faculty who fit my personality and energy, and I knew it was the place for me.