The four finalists vying for the title to represent the student body as the 67th West Virginia University Mountaineer Mascot come from a variety of academic backgrounds and are involved in an array of extra-curricular activities. All West Virginia natives, they will compete wearing buckskins and carrying the rifle in a cheer-off held during the men’s basketball game vs. Kansas State at 9 p.m. Monday, Feb. 18, in the WVU Coliseum.
They were selected by a committee of faculty, staff and students based on an application, essay and interview. Finalists will be judged on their performance and interaction with the crowd.
The finalists are: Brooke Ashby, a junior pre-occupational therapy major minoring in psychologyfrom Mannington; Connor Capron, a freshman majoring in music therapy from Sutton; Thaiddeus Dillie, a junior biochemistry major minoring in business administration from Weirton; and Timothy Eads, a sophomore public relations major minoring in political science from Buffalo.
Ashby, a graduate of North Marion High School, serves as the president of Autism Speaks and an active member of Alpha Omicron Pi sorority, where she has held various leadership positions. Since 2017, she has completed more than 130 hours of volunteer work at WVU Medicine where she has served as the lovable Monti Bear Mascot for three years, a NICU cuddler and student volunteer in the oncology unit. Ashby also served a two-year term as the North Marion High School Husky mascot.
“I have wanted this position for as long as I can remember. It would give me an opportunity to give back to the state that has given so much to me,” Ashby said. “The Mountaineer means hard work, pride and heart- a reflection of the University and the people of this great state. It would be an absolute honor to represent every student, faculty and alumni of this University along with every individual who calls West Virginia home.”
Capron, a graduate of Braxton County High School, is a member of the WVU Marching Band and principal tuba chair of the WVU Symphonic Band. He is also a member of the Student Music Therapy Association and WVU Pep Band. Capron volunteers his time to the Mountaineer Food Bank and High Street Jazz Band. He also serves as a volunteer through his hometown church to assist with Impact Week, a week-long summer event that promotes community-wide service projects in Braxton County. In his spare time, he likes to backpack and play the guitar, banjo and ukulele.
“As a Mountain State native, it would be an honor to represent my state as the Mountaineer Mascot,” Capron said. “I would not only represent WVU, but the state of West Virginia with a heart full of pride to show everyone how passionate Mountaineers are about their wild and wonderful state.”
Dillie, a graduate of Madonna High School, is a member of the WVU Honors College and serves as a student ambassador for the Division of Student Life, peer mentor and ambassador for the WVU Honors College, and Student Government Association representative for the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design. He also serves as the vice president of the WVU Business Brigades and a teaching assistant in the Honors College. He has traveled to rural Panama to perform community service as a professional business consultant. In May, he plans to travel to Ghana as part of a Medical/Dental Brigades pilot service trip and return to Panama as part of the Business Brigades.
“As a native and recipient of all the gifts that West Virginia has to offer, I can’t think of a better way to repay the state by accurately representing what it means to be a hardworking, proud Mountaineer,” Dillie said. “My love for WVU and my state has driven everything that I have done for as long as I remember and being chosen as the next Mountaineer Mascot would be the greatest honor that I could ever receive.”
Eads, a graduate of Buffalo High School, serves as the current alternate Mountaineer Mascot and an executive board member of the Mountaineer Maniacs. He is also a former member of the Mountaineer Collegiate FFA and WVU Collegiate Farm Bureau. He serves as an undergraduate communications assistant for the WVU Extension Services Small Farm Center and volunteers his time to the Rosenbaum Family House, Old Hemlock Foundation and Falling Run Trail repair project.
“Having the opportunity to serve as the alternate Mountaineer Mascot over the past year has truly been amazing, and I would be honored to serve as the next Mountaineer Mascot,” Eads said. “I have long dreamed to be able to serve the state and university that I call home as the Mountaineer. The passion and pride that I have for the state and WVU is something that I would love to share daily with students, alumni, fans and the 1.8 million residents of this great state.”
The selection committee will announce the winner during the WVU men’s basketball game vs. TCU Feb. 26. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the WVU Coliseum.