By LEIGH C. MERRIFIELD
News & Journal Editor
Homecoming weekend at West Virginia University has long been cause for celebration in Morgantown with parades, alumni festivities, special pre-game and half-time performances, the crowning of the Homecoming King & Queen, Mountaineer football fan excitement, and post-game merriment. These traditions carried on this year.
Harrison County can be proud that one of its natives was named as this year’s Homecoming Queen! Congratulations to Kallie Nealis of Bridgeport (Queen) and Roshan Daniel (King) whose names were announced during half-time ceremonies. Both were selected by their peers following two days of voting.
Kallie is a senior Strategic Communications major with an emphasis in public relations, minoring in communications studies. She is enrolled in her first year of graduate studies in Journalism.
A four-year member of the WVU Dance Team, she was selected co-captain and vice president her junior and senior years. She serves as a WVU Love Your Melon student ambassador, is a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma, the Public Relations Student Society of America, and Order of Omega. In 2015, she was named “All-American Dancer” by the National Dance Alliance and “Most Spirited” by her teammates and coaches.
Roshan Daniel of Chantilly, Virginia, is a senior Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering major minoring in economics. He currently serves as the WVU University Relations social media ambassador and the treasurer for the Student Government Association and previously as the Chief Information Officer.
He has also served as the Relay for Life marketing chairman and a member of the finance committee. He is the recipient of the J Bergen & Anderson MAE Scholarship, Rhododendron Scholarship, WVU Engineering Excellence Scholarship, Statler Research Trust Fund Scholarship, and Everette C. Dubbe Scholarship. He also placed first in the 2016 Booz Allen Hamilton Summer Games Challenge Cup.
Other members of the Homecoming Court included: senior Music Education major Bronwyn Clagett of Fairmont; senior industrial engineering major Taylor Davis of Johnstown, PA; senior Journalism major Hilary Kinney of Moundsville; and senior Psychology and Biology major Tayler Morrow of Morgantown.
Also king candidates were: senior Business Management major Louis Colonna of Montgomery, NJ; senior Criminology major Brandon Galindo of Chantilly, VA; senior Animal & Nutritional Science and Wildlife & Fisheries Resource Management major Timothy Martin of Towanda, PA; and senior Business Administration & Marketing major Shurman Riggins of Lawrence, NJ.
Annual Homecoming celebrations at WVU are special times that bring together students, alumni and fans, and certainly all had cause to celebrate the Mountaineer’s one point victory (17-16) over Kansas State on Saturday! This win brings the Mountaineers to a 4-0 season start, also giving them their first appearance of the season in the AP Poll’s Top 25 – ranked at #22.
Saturday’s comeback win over KSU had fans remaining in their seats following the game, high-fiving players as they sang “Country Roads”. Another tradition!
Breaking from tradition, however, was the hosting of a new event called “5th Quarter”. Students producing their student ID were admitted free (with one guest) to this inaugural celebration. From 6:30 until 11 p.m., students were invited to stop by Woodburn Circle to enjoy free food, music and entertainment.
WVU’s Associate Vice President of Student Life and Dean of Students Corey Farris stated, “We are working together to try to shift the culture on campus, and we hope the 5th Quarter will become another tradition at WVU where students can celebrate Homecoming weekend in a safe and fun post-game environment.”
“The idea for a new post-game tradition has been floating around for years,” added Abundance Hunt, a sophomore Exercise Physiology major and Student Government Association athletic counselor. “The concept came from seeing how much energy students had after games and especially Mountaineer victories. I hope giving students a place that’s fun and engaging after sporting events will be a huge success at WVU.”
The 5th Quarter event featured inflatable couches, a huge movie lounge, rock wall, sports MEGA inflatable, mini golf, music and food from Chick-Fil-A, Krispy Kreme Donuts, a nacho bar and drinks from Coca-Cola as well as other snacks.
“We wanted to provide our students with positive opportunities to show their school spirit and celebrate their Homecoming,” Farris continued.
Celebration continued with WVUp All Night in the Mountainlair where students could build-a-bear, decorate t-shirts and enjoy other activities and snacks.