Local sports bring needed joy to Newport News

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — Some talented Newport News student-athletes are giving the community a reason to celebrate.

Several teams have won big lately, at a time when the violence and tragedy in the city has weighed heavily on many.

“It hasn’t been the best start to the year for us, but it’s a story of perseverance,” said Newport News Vice Mayor Curtis Bethany.

Bethany still gets chills thinking about the times when her alma mater, Woodside High School, won the men’s basketball state title last week. He traveled to Richmond to watch the game.

“They fought so hard,” he said. “Even the game itself was a story of perseverance.”

It’s Wolverines’ first championship since head coach Stefan Welsh won it as a player in 2006.

“You know, our school system has been on the bad side of the news and I think by doing this it gives the city and the school system something positive to rally around and bring people together,” Welsh told 13News. Now.

For Bethany, it’s a necessary victory as a newly elected councilman. At 31, he became the youngest black man elected to Newport News, when he was sworn in on January 10. However, four days earlier, police said a 6-year-old shot his teacher at Richneck Elementary, which is in the Bethany District.

“We’re way over a day or a week,” Bethany said. “The community has rallied around the sports teams.”

Woodside’s isn’t the only hit to bring the town back to life!

Menchville High’s boys’ and girls’ basketball teams have had great seasons on the hardwood.

And now is the perfect time to be a captain!

The Christopher Newport University women’s basketball team is undefeated and advances to the Division 3 Final Four, while the men play for a national title for the first time in program history. The two teams meet on Saturday.

This week, Madison Whyte of Heritage High ran the fastest 200-meter indoor sprint ever in Virginia.

And Apprentice School’s Evan Kee was named USCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Coach of the Year after the Builders became regional and tournament champions.

Bethany thinks the moment is bigger than sports. This is a city of resilience and champions.

“We love our city. We love our sports and we will always persevere and break through no matter what,” he said.

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