Mountaineer fires up 4-H

Newly-minted Mountaineer Mary Roush teaches kids at 4-H camp how to cheer for West Virginia University.

ROMNEY – The sounds of a gunshot echoed around Hampshire Park last week as the newest Mountaineer Mascot held a musket in the air while starry eyed 4-H campers looked on in amazement.

Mary Roush, the 3rd female mascot for the West Virginia Mountaineers donned the coonskin cap and talked to campers about overcoming obstacles and working towards your goals.

“It’s the dream of a lifetime,” said Roush. 

“I love the state of West Virginia with all my heart and I love WVU with all my heart, so this is a great opportunity to give back to the places and people I love.”

On April 22, Roush officially became the 3rd female Mountaineer Mascot following in the footsteps of Natalie Tennant (1990-91) and Rebecca Durst (2009-10) dating back to the 1st official Mountaineer selected in 1934.

“They have already broken that glass ceiling for me,” said Roush when discussing her female predecessors.

“I’m very thankful for all those influential people, but luckily I have a strong support system to help me have the courage.”

The Wahama High School graduate never thought that she would be the next female Mountaineer, but that didn’t dim her dream of trying to achieve that desire to don the buckskins and carry the rifle.

“It was more of a dream in high school, but as soon as I got to WVU and understood the culture of the university I knew this was the perfect position for me,” said Roush.

“I knew I was destined to do something big, and it took me a while to know that was being the Mountaineer.”

Roush, who hails from Mason County, is the 68th Mountaineer Mascot of all-time and the 1st freshman to wear the coonskin cap.

Roush did confirm that the raccoon is real atop her head, and that each mascot gets their own custom fitted cap.

The reason for Roush’s appearance at 4-H camp was to inspire young Mountaineers. 

“It’s great to be a role model for all kids in West Virginia, but especially girls, letting them know that a girl can be a Mountaineer,” said Roush.

“No matter what, as long as you work hard and no matter what adversity you may be facing, if you work hard, your dreams can come true.”

One of the best moments from Roush’s time at Hampshire Park was when she had the young kids chanting, “Let’s Go … Mountaineers!” followed by a blast from the musket.

After her speaking engagements were finished, Roush spent some time taking pictures and talking to the campers 1-on-1 about being a mascot.

“It’s an honor and a privilege to serve as the Mountaineer,” said Roush. o

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