The rifle has officially been passed and West Virginia University has a new Mountaineer Mascot.

Mary Roush, a freshman from Mason, West Virginia, officially became WVU’s 68th mascot on Friday when she received the rifle from Colson Glover at the Passing of the Rifle ceremony. Roush is the youngest Mountaineer and the third woman to hold the post in the University’s history.

The public relations major received the rifle in front of a packed room at the Erickson Alumni Center, which featured a host of big-name Mountaineers from Natalie Tennant, the first-ever female Mountaineer, to Major Harris, the legendary quarterback whose jersey number was retired in the fall. Roush makes her first official appearance in the buckskins on Saturday at the Gold-Blue Spring Football Game.

Before she received the rifle, however, speakers came to give their respects to both Colson Glover, the departing mascot, and the role itself. A trio of former Mountaineers, Brock Burwell, Andy Cogar and Brady Campbell, all shared remarks describing how their respective tenures had shaped — and continue to shape — their lives.

Then, Glover took the podium. Fighting back tears, he recounted what made him want to be the Mountaineer Mascot.

Glover recalled a time during his first volunteer position at WVU’s pediatric hospital, in which he spent time with a two-year-old patient named Aidan. After several weeks, Aidan was cleared to go home, but Glover learned that only he and the other volunteers visited Aidan during his time in the hospital — no family or friends. That inspired Glover to make an impact bigger than himself, which began his trek toward the buckskins.

“Every picture, handshake, conversation and child’s smile has left a lasting impact on me that I will cherish forever,” Glover said. “While this chapter of my life comes to a close, I am excited to see what Mary and others will accomplish in the role. I am so proud knowing that the goal I set at the start of my term, of changing the lives of Mountaineer Nation, will be preserved and carried on for many years to come.”

When Glover attended Mountaineer games as a child, he would give Burwell a Gatorade to stay hydrated on the hot days. Burwell returned the favor in 2020 when Glover was picked as Mountaineer, and again, Glover paid this forward by leaving Roush a Gatorade of her own.

Roush then stepped up to ceremonially receive the rifle, pose for some photos and take the podium. Then, with a smile, she politely informed Glover that she wasn’t a fan of Gatorade, but she would put it to good use in between push-ups.

“I cannot put into words how much it means to me to represent the state and University I love,” Roush said. “I am thrilled to begin my term and lead Mountaineers, wherever they may be, to believe in themselves and the fundamental values of what it means to be a Mountaineer and West Virginian. It is a true honor and privilege to serve as our 68th Mountaineer Mascot.”

Gold and Blue Nation caught up with both Roush and Glover after the ceremony. Interviews with both Mountaineers will be shown on the April 30 edition of the WVU Coaches Show.