NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — Some talented student-athletes in Newport News are giving the community a reason to celebrate.
Several teams have won big recently, at a time when violence and tragedy in the city have weighed heavy on a lot of people.
"The beginning of the year didn't start off the best for us, but this is a story of perseverance," said Newport News Vice Mayor Curtis Bethany.
Bethany still gets chills thinking about the moments his alma mater, Woodside High School, won the boys basketball state title last week. He made the trip to Richmond to attend 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 it back-to-back as a player in 2006.
"You know, our school system has been on the wrong side of news and I think that with us doing this, 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 needed victory as a newly elected city councilman. At 31, he became the youngest Black person elected in Newport News, when he was sworn in on Jan. 10. However, four days earlier police say a 6-year-old shot his teacher at Richneck Elementary, which is in Bethany's district.
"We are much more than a day or week," said Bethany. "The community rallied around sports teams."
Woodside’s isn’t the lone success pumping life back into the city!
The boys and girls basketball teams of Menchville High had great seasons on the hardwood.
And it’s a great time to be a Captain!
Christopher Newport University’s women’s basketball squad is undefeated, and playing in the Division 3 Final Four, while the men are 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 the Apprentice School’s Evan Kee was named the USCAA Division I Men's Basketball Coach of the Year after the Builders became regional and tournament champs.
Bethany believes the moment is bigger than sports. It's about a city of resilience and champions.
"We love our city. We love our sports and we are always going to persevere and breakthrough, whatever it is," he said.