Local sports bring joy to Newport News

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – Some talented student athletes at Newport News are giving the community cause for celebration.

Several teams have had big wins of late, at a time when violence and tragedy in the city has taken a toll on many.

“The beginning of the year didn’t start off well for us, but this is a story of perseverance,” said Curtis Bethany, vice mayor of Newport News.

Bethany still gets goosebumps thinking about the moments when his alma mater, Woodside High School, won the all-boys basketball state title last week. He made the trip to Richmond to watch the game.

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

It’s the Wolverines’ first championship since head coach Stefan Welsh won them back-to-back as a player in 2006.

“You know, our school system has been on the wrong side of the news and I think when we do that it gives the city and the school system something positive to rally behind and bring people together,” Welsh told 13News Now.

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

“We’re a lot more than a day or a week,” Bethany said. “The community has rallied around sports teams.”

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

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

And it’s a great time to be captain!

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

This week, Heritage High’s Madison Whyte ran the fastest indoor 200-meter dash 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 believes the moment is bigger than the sport. It’s about a city of resilience and champions.

“We love our city. We love our sport and we will always persevere and break through whatever it is,” he said.


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