MORGANTOWN — Mountaineer fans, young and old, all dream of one day having the opportunity to run through the tunnel and out onto Mountaineer Field on a WVU gameday.
A group of 32 kids from the Mountaineer Boys and Girls Club were able to follow in the footsteps of Mountaineer greats like Pat White, Amos Zereoué, and Major Harris and get a taste of that dream at the Mountaineer Football Fantasy Camp on Friday at Milan Puskar Stadium.
“They’re out here, they’re experiencing a day in the life of a Mountaineer,” said Dale Wolfley, coordinator of the WVU Varsity Club and former WVU offensive lineman. “We got them on tours going through the stadium, they’re on the field here doing drills, and we’re even going to do a scrimmage out here.”
Upon arrival at the stadium, the kids received special Mountaineer Football Fantasy Camp T-shirts and watched highlights of WVU’s 2017 season.
After an introduction from Wolfley, three current WVU football stars, Will Grier, David Long Jr., and David Sills V, made a surprise appearance and addressed the kids. Other players like Junior Uzeba, Kolby Mack, Boyce Wheaton, Luke Williams and Eric Sjostedt volunteered their time and spent much of the afternoon with the kids, as well.
“They love these players, they love them,” Wolfley said.
Then, the kids made their way down the southwest tunnel and ran onto the field through smoke, just like the real Mountaineer football players do on gameday.
The highlight of the day for many of the kids were the live drills on the field. They rotated through four stations: the 40-yard dash, a cone sprint relay, a tackling dummy and ball catching drills.
Richard Lewis, 9, said he most enjoyed running sprints in the 40-yard dash drill, while Kenya Schley, 11, really got a kick out of hitting the tackling dummy.
“They’re all excited and fired up, and I think we’re giving them the time of their life,” Wolfley said.
“I think I’m having more fun than they are,” he said lightheartedly. “I’m doing the tackling dummy, and I’m 51 years old, Lord help me. I hope I don’t break my whole body in half.”
The day’s activities were all thanks to U.S. Cellular and its collaborative partnership with the Boys and Girls Club and WVU Football.
“We’re highly involved with the Boys and Girls Club, and we actually provide funding for multiple Boys and Girls Clubs throughout our market,” said Teresa Amick, retail area sales manager for U.S. Cellular. “We actually donated $20,000 to the Morgantown club this year.”
At the end of the day, the kids received a certificate of completion for all their hard work during the day.
“I love hanging out with the kids and I love talking to them about Mountaineer football, and seeing that special glint in their eyes that they have and the happiness and joy that they get from just running on the football field,” Wolfley said.
“We’re developing Mountaineer fans for life.”