Madison native finalist for Mountaineer mascot
by Fred Pace
MORGANTOWN – The four finalists to become West Virginia University’s Mountaineer mascot for the 2013-14 school year have been selected.
The finalists are: Michael Garcia, a sophomore political science major from Fairmont; B. Jay Hatfield, a senior athletic coaching education major from Madison; Jonathan Kimble, a first-year graduate student in industrial and labor relations and sport management from Franklin; and Daryn Vucelik, a junior public relations major from Glen Dale.
They competed in a cheer off during last Wednesday’s men’s basketball game vs. Baylor at the WVU Coliseum. Each finalist interacted with the crowd and work to impress the selection committee, a group of students, faculty and staff, sitting throughout the arena.
Garcia is a member of the Mountaineer Maniacs, Alpha Kappa Psi - Beta Rho Chapter business fraternity and the Younglife College, a Christian youth organization on campus. He has been a leadWELL mentor since last semester and a member of the table tennis club.
“People would look to me when we are down by a field goal with two minutes left on the clock. They will look to me when they want to know if there is something worth cheering for,” he said. “This is a responsibility that I will not take lightly, but also, it is a responsibility that I would enjoy.”
Hatfield, the current alternate Mountaineer mascot, is a member of the Mountaineer Maniacs leadership board and a Gold and Blue Student Ambassador. He is a member of the Bob Huggins Advisory Committee, Phi Sigma Theta National Honor Society and Sigma Chi fraternity, among others.
“I remember when I heard the musket fire for the first time, and I saw the Mountaineer leading the team and the cheerleaders onto the field. I knew right then that I wanted to be in Morgantown, and that I wanted to be the Mountaineer mascot when I got here,” he said.
Kimble, the current Mountaineer, will seek a second term. He is a member of the WVU chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management and the Industrial Relations Student Association, among others. He was the alternate Mountaineer Mascot in 2011-12.
“I feel a strong connection and love for every dimension of WVU,” he said. “It would be the greatest honor to continue to represent our state and University as the Mountaineer.”
Vucelik, if selected as Mountaineer, would be the third-ever female mascot at WVU. She is a Gold and Blue Student Ambassador, a leadWELL mentor, a member of the Martin Hall Agency, a member of the Phi Sigma Theta National Honor Society and a member of the Student Health Advisory Board. She is the social chair of Helvetia Sophomore Honorary and a member of the Honors College, among others.
“I will portray the Mountaineer as someone who breaks boundaries with courage, takes on challenges with determination and looks to the future with hope,” she said. “I will show a new, diverse Mountaineer that is not bound by stereotypes or held to traditional standards.”
The four were selected out of an original field of applications from interviews conducted last weekend by the selection committee.
The 2013-14 mascot will be announced on March 9 at the men’s basketball game vs. Iowa State at 1:30 p.m. at the Coliseum.
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