These VA Athletes Are Striving For Greatness & Change

Naomi Whitaker Class 3/4 State Meet

Two former VA standout athletes are making change happen at their respective universities. Former Grassfield star Felecia Hayes has become a student & community activist leader at the College of William & Mary while former I.C. Norcom star Naomi Whitaker has helped form the Black Student Athlete Organization at East Carolina University. 

Hayes, who is an honor roll student studying kinesiology and the daughter of Delegate Cliff Hayes. While at W&M she has excelled on and off the track and recently has stepped up her efforts to lead the way for change at her college. 

Over the past few months that has meant her leading rallies and marches on and around the campus pushing for change at the University, to honor victims, and to support the Black Lives Matter movement. 

Down across the VA/NC border we have Whitaker who herself is a standout athlete in the collegiate ranks. It is there at ECU where she has joined forces with other black student-athletes to help create a Black Student Athlete Organization. 

The organization's goals are to promote African-American history, culture, and social just issues. Those were the starting points for the BSAO per Whitaker's quotes with the East Carolinian publication. Her coach Jeff Artis, formerly coach of the year in Virginia while at Western Branch, was clearly happy to hear of the big things his athlete was doing off of the track and posted that to his personal Facebook page. 

Both of these athletes come from high schools that have a rich history of diversity and promoting athletes' success in any endeavor they may take on. Though these are just two athletes, the represent many of the athletes from Virginia who are out their working towards many different causes. It really shows how important athletics can be to empower young men & women and to give them a great platform towards change. 

Whitaker was a multiple-time state champion while at I.C. Norcom and helped the Greyhounds score some impressive finishes at the state meet. Hayes was a member of multiple record setting relays while at Grassfield.