Riverside athlete: billboard vandalism feels like ‘a direct threat’
BELLE, W.Va. (WCHS/WVAH) —
Students and faculty at Riverside High School are furious after someone vandalized a billboard showcasing the Lady Warriors' softball team.
Tuesday night marked the end of the road for the team, as the Lady Warriors lost to George Washington.
"It was bittersweet knowing that I'll never put on the Riverside jersey again,” said senior Madison Ramirez.
Then Wednesday morning - salt rubbed into their wound
"I woke up to a bunch of texts between our seniors and pictures plastered everywhere,” said Ramirez.
The team's billboard, which was paid for by boosters and displayed prominently on Route 60, had been spray painted and vandalized.
"It's almost like a threat, a direct threat. When you look up and see your eyes have been marked out, it's sickening,” said Ramirez.
"I drove by it to get to work this morning. It was very disappointing to see,” said Jane Kennedy, principal at Riverside High School.
Both staff and students said regardless of who is responsible, this was taken way too far.
"I don't know, they're childish. It's pointless for them to go and do that. It's disrespectful,” said freshman student Jonathan Kiser.
"That's not part of the sportsmanship we want to do, that we want Warrior pride to be. I know that the principal and staff at GW feel the same way,” said Kennedy.
The billboard has been taken down and is now in the possession of Riverside, who plans to turn it over to authorities. But Ramirez said she's not letting this overshadow what she and her teammates have achieved this entire season.
"We beat teams we weren't supposed to beat. We lead the state in homeruns. We have an awesome lineup, hit the ball, and I'm really proud of our success,” said Ramirez.
The Kanawha County Sheriff’ Department is investigating.