MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (WBOY) — The race to determine the 69th Mountaineer Mascot has been narrowed down to the top four candidates, according to a release.

Braden Adkins, WVU sophomore from Richwood, Mountaineer mascot finalist (WVU Photo/Brian Persinger)

Braden Adkins is a sophomore from Richwood, WV majoring in Business Administration. He is a member of the WVU Beekeeping club and a frequent volunteer at the WVU Student Pantry: The Rack. He is also listed on the Fall 2022 President’s List.

“The Mountaineer mascot is not only an ambassador for our University, but also for the dedicated, hardworking people of the Mountain State,” Adkins said. “As a young person from rural West Virginia, I am very grateful for the opportunity to serve in this role.

Christian Adkins, WVU freshman from Amherstdale, Mountaineer mascot finalist (WVU Photo/Brian Persinger)

Christian Adkins is a freshman from Amherstdale, WV majoring in Biology. He is a member of the Mountaineer Maniacs as well as a photographer and graphic designer for University Relations Digital. He is also a PROMISE Scholarship recipient.

“As a proud West Virginian, it would mean the world to me to represent our great University and state in such a unique way,” Adkins said. “It would be an honor to cheer on the Mountaineers as the new mascot.”

Bailey Gatens, WVU junior from St. Albans, Mountaineer mascot finalist (WVU Photo/Brian Persinger)

Bailey Gatens is a junior from St. Albans, WV majoring in Social Work with a minor in Gerontology. She is a member of the Collegiate 4-H and Country Line Dancing clubs and works as a tour leader for the WVU Visitor’s Center.

“I have dreamt of serving as the Mountaineer mascot since I was a little girl,” Gatens said. “An opportunity to represent the state and University that inspired that little girl to shoot for the stars would be the honor of a lifetime.”

Mikel Hager, WVU senior from Madison, Mountaineer mascot finalist (WVU Photo/Brian Persinger)

Mikel Hager is a senior from Madison, WV majoring in Exercise Physiology and minoring in both Psychology and Communication Studies. He is a four-year member of the WVU Gold Cheer Team and spends his time volunteering at Suncrest Elementary School as a math tutor. He is also a recipient of the PROMISE Scholarship.

“Being selected as the Mountaineer mascot would mean the absolute world to me and my small town of Madison,” Hager said. “Representing Mountaineer Nation and the people of West Virginia as the 69th Mountaineer would be a prestigious opportunity.”

The Mountaineer Mascot is chosen by a committee comprised of faculty, staff and students of WVU based on submitted essays and a subsequent interview.

The final decision will be made based on how these candidates perform at leading cheers and interacting with the crowd at the Men’s Basketball game against Oklahoma State on Monday, Feb. 20 at 7 p.m.

The winner will be announced during the Men’s Basketball game against Kansas State on Saturday, March 4. Tipoff is scheduled at 2 p.m.

For more information about the finalists, click here.