OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay Inslee joined Rep. Kevin Van De Wege, D-Sequim, Rep. Steve Tharinger, D-Dungeness, and Rep. Mike Chapman, D-Port Angeles, in honoring the Neah Bay Red Devils today for their unparalleled excellence on the athletic field and in the classroom.
Van De Wege’s Senate Resolution 8636 recognizes Neah Bay High School on two fronts: The Red Devils repeated as state football champions this season, notching their third state title in three years, and the school boasts a 100 percent graduation and athletic eligibility rate.
“What makes these championships even more impressive is to know that these student athletes’ excellence on the field is matched by excellence in the classroom,” Van De Wege said. “They stand as an example to student athletes in communities across our state and across our nation.”
More than 60 town leaders and residents of Neah Bay came to Olympia to be on hand as the lawmakers and governor presented Red Devils’ team members with the resolution in the Capitol Reception Room. Many postponed work on their halibut boats to attend the affair and sing ceremonial songs in honor of the occasion. Also in attendance was Dept. of Ecology Director Maia Bellon, whose nephew plays on the team.
“More than anything, I’m impressed by how this team achieved both academic and athletic success,” Tharinger said. “That takes a commitment not only from the students, but their families, teachers and the community. They’ve earned the title of champion in more than a football sense—the entire community is a champion.”
A number of players are multiple champions; one, Cameron Buzzell, has played on five state title teams including other sports in addition to football.
“It’s tough to become state champion once, so to win three years in a row demonstrates the dedication and hard work of these young men,” Chapman said. “It was a pleasure to follow their success throughout the season and I’m so happy they could come to the state capitol to celebrate.”
Overall, the team has won four state titles in football over the past six years.
“Nothing gives us greater honor than when you come to celebrate the great success of the Neah Bay community in education,” Inslee said. “I know this has not happened by accident. This happened by commitment and great leadership.”