WVU freshman has best beard in town

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Judges from West Virginia University have named a winner of the annual Mountaineer Week Student Beard Growing Contest.

Freshman Mechanical Engineering student Jake Hogan from Devin, Pennsylvania, was selected out of twenty students who competed to grow a beard from the month of September until the end of October. Hogan won $100 and a free shave kit for placing first in the contest, which also had last year’s winner among the competitors.

“It feels awesome, I did not expect it at all,” said Hogan after the contest. “There were some great beards, I was against the winner from last year, I did not expect it at all,” he said.

Hogan was selected as the winner of the Mountaineer Week Beard Growing Contest by a panel of judges that included former Mountaineer Mary Roush. According to Hogan, he was inspired to join the contest by his friends and fellow students after hearing a promotion at FallFest. After signing up, he participated in the traditional full shave for contestants that was provided by local barbershop Classic Cutz, and his beard grew from there.

“Didn’t expect to win, just thought it’d be a good time, get a shave, meet some cool people, and I won unexpectedly,” said Hogan.

Communications Graduate Student David Malecki finished in second, where he was awarded $75, and Chemistry Graduate Student Thomas Hughart finished third and was awarded $50. For Hogan, his beard stood out to judges based on the thickness, grooming, and overall appearance of the beard that was grown over the course of a month. As a person who had a beard coming into WVU before he shaved, he just maintained his normal routine ahead of the day of judging.

“I just kind of grew it out, I trimmed it like twice, and I naturally grow a beard like this, I’m kind of lucky,” Hogan said.

According to WVU, the Mountaineer Week Beard Growing Contest has taken place since 1949, making it the oldest continuous event of the festivities. Despite winning a free shave kit and $100, Hogan enthusiastically said that he does not plan to shave his beard and hopes to maintain a similar beard that he had before he went to WVU. As Mountaineer Week festivities continue and the fall semester begins to wrap up, Hogan is ready to celebrate Mountaineer and Appalachian heritage and be a part of the WVU community.

“Being an engineering (major) it’s a lot of work, but I mean, I love it,” said Hogan. “WVU is a great environment, I’ve made so many friends, just can’t get enough, honestly, I love every day.”