Back to top
Skip to main content
  • Home
  • News
  • Finalists to compete in WVU Mountaineer mascot cheer-off event

Finalists to compete in WVU Mountaineer mascot cheer-off event

Mountaineer Mascot Finalists 2024

Statler students Justin Waybright (right), junior majoring in mining engineering, and Elijah Jones, senior chemical engineering major, are finalists for the 70th West Virginia University Mountaineer mascot. (WVU Photo/Brian Persinger)

Four West Virginia natives vying to be the 70th West Virginia University Mountaineer mascot will wear buckskins and carry rifles as they compete in a cheer-off during the men’s basketball game versus the University of Central Florida at 7 p.m. Tuesday (Feb. 20) in the WVU Coliseum

Story by WVU Today
Photos by WVU Today


Selected by a committee of faculty, staff and students based on an essay and interview, the finalists will be judged on their performances and interactions with the crowd as they lead traditional game cheers.

The students, who come from a variety of academic backgrounds, share a strong commitment to the University and the Mountain State and are eager to serve both as the next mascot.

The 2024-25 Mountaineer mascot finalists are:

Braden Adkins, who served as the 2023-24 alternate Mountaineer mascot, is a junior majoring in economics from Richwood. He has maintained a 4.0 grade point average while also serving as a student worker in the Division of Student Life and a member of the Mountaineer Maniacs and WVU Pickleball Club.

“The experience I have gained as the alternate mascot has made me fully realize this is my passion,” Adkins said. “I’ve loved every minute of my current role, but being named the next Mountaineer will allow me to fully utilize my ability to give back to the people of West Virginia as the spokesperson for both the University and my state.” 

Elijah Jones, a member of the Honors College from Elkins, is a senior chemical engineering major minoring in Spanish and computer science. He serves as a Presidential Student Ambassador, member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and guided trips student leader for Adventure WV. The eighth generation West Virginian is also a 2020 Bucklew Scholar

“Hearing my name as the next Mountaineer would mean so much to me that I might just pass out,” Jones said. “I love meeting people, and the opportunity to build and foster community in a divided world while shining a positive light on my state and University would bring me the greatest joy.” 

Cade Kincaid, a member of the Honors College from Fayetteville, is a sophomore accounting and finance major with a minor in business data analytics. He has maintained a 4.0 grade point average while serving as a peer mentor for the John Chambers College of Business and Economics and as a member of Delta Sigma Pi, where he engages in various community service projects, and professional and leadership development.

“I’ve been a Mountaineer my whole life, and now I want to be ‘the’ Mountaineer representing the state and this University I love so much,” Kincaid said. “It would mean everything to me to be able to show the people from my small town, as well as anyone outside the state, that they can do whatever they want, including being a part of this big family we call Mountaineers.” 

Justin Waybright, from Parkersburg, is a junior majoring in mining engineering. He is a two-year member of the Gold Cheer Team, serves as the president of the Mine Rescue Team in the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources and is a member of the Society of Mining Engineers

“As part of the cheer team, I have watched Mountaineer mascots Mary Roush and Mikel Hager bring joy and excitement to the people of West Virginia and other fans through their interactions at sporting events,” Waybright said. “The opportunity to interact with others and showcase my University and state as the next Mountaineer mascot would be the greatest thing that has happened to me.” 

The selection committee will announce the winner during the WVU men’s basketball game versus Texas Tech on March 2. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. at the Coliseum.



Contact: Paige Nesbit
Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources
304.293.4135, Paige Nesbit

For more information on news and events in the West Virginia University Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, contact our Marketing and Communications office:

Phone: 304-293-4135