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Abby Parker: Supernova

Abby Parker: Supernova with a sweet spirit.

Abby Parker can do it all.

One of the sunniest, sweetest-natured, most talented young women in all of Cow Town, the Coupeville High School sophomore, who celebrates a birthday today, was indispensable last spring for the Wolf track team.

Had an event you wanted to fill? Parker was your woman.

During her freshman season, the list of events she competed in was extensive: 200, 800, 1500, 3000, discus, javelin, long jump and 4 x 400 relay.

And she wasn’t just filling a slot.

Most of her PR’s came late in the season, as Abby continually dropped time and threw further as the season unfolded.

She is one to watch as she heads into her second year of high school sports, and not just in track.

Parker is currently prepping for the start of volleyball season, and there is strong hope she’ll return to the hardwood in the winter.

As a middle school hoopster, she was a relentless ball-hawk with a bounce in her step.

And this is all fine and dandy.

Parker is a talented athlete, one who can often be seen competing in various running events with her aunt, Kathy O’Brien, on weekends.

But the real reason we are here to celebrate Abby’s birthday is she could step completely away from sports, and she’d still be pretty dang awesome.

A freshman Homecoming princess, the impression she gives off to the people on the sidelines is of a very smart, super-friendly young woman who is incredibly devoted to her friends and family.

Seeing her interact with others, watching her quietly sneak onto the softball sidelines after track practice and surprise-hug “second mom” Amy Briscoe, one word comes to mind.

Class.

Abby Parker is many things wrapped in one. Athlete. Student. Ray of sunshine.

But, most of all, she is classy, through and through.

As you celebrate your 16th birthday today, Abby, the world is yours. You are going to accomplish great things, on and off the athletic field, and none of us will be surprised when you do.

So, enjoy your day, Miss Parker, and always know how highly everyone — your family, your friends, your fans — regards you.

Garrett Compton

Garrett Compton (Photo courtesy Compton)

Compton looks for an opening during last spring's soccer season. (John Fisken photo)

   Compton looks for an opening during last spring’s soccer season. (John Fisken photo)

Garrett Compton is a master of cerebral tennis.

The Coupeville High School senior, who is pursuing a role as a single player this season after three years as a double ace, approaches the game much as he does his school work — with great intensity.

“I started because the sport of tennis itself has always seemed to baffle me; I never understood how people could hit a ball so hard but so accurate at the same time,” Compton said. “The only way to find out was to play!”

An avid longboarder and a varsity soccer player for the Wolves, he has learned to mesh his playing style on the court with a string of partners.

“My favorite part about tennis has to be the level of teamwork required,” Compton said. “For the last three years l have played doubles and with each partner I was able to be a “second half” of a single brain, so to speak.”

With Aaron Curtin and Kyle Bodamer having graduated, CHS was left with only one returning singles player in Sebastian Davis, who is moving up a slot to anchor the team as the top gun.

Compton is in the middle of a battle to earn one of the two remaining singles slots, and is hard at work trying to fine-tune his skills.

“My strengths would have to be my forehand. I get such great topspin and power behind the ball, that even I’m surprised,” he said. “On the other hand my level of focus is a little unstable.

“If I get out of focus I lose the accuracy and power on my shots, and I can’t have that!”

Away from the courts, he is almost constantly on the move — though he admits he often disappears, sucked in by a good book.

Compton is in the CHS drama troupe, competes with the school’s Science Olympiad club and picks math as his favorite subject.

“My favorite class would have to be any sort of math with Mr. (Kyle) Nelson,” Compton said. “He’s a serious teacher, but he also knows how to make learning fun.

“Also, I’m kinda biased because he is the soccer coach…”

Along with Nelson, Wolf tennis coach Ken Stange gets a shout-out, as well as Compton’s family.

“My parents have always been a big part of who I am,” he said. “They are the ones who pushed me to try new things like tennis!

“Although without Mr. Stange and my close friends who suffered my bad shots and endless questions, I wouldn’t be nearly as good as I am today.”

(JOhn Fisken photos)

Lathom Kelley, ready to hit some folks. (John Fisken photos)

Ryan Griggs

Ryan Griggs stays busy by firing off a few hundred push-ups.

Wiley Hesselgrave

Wiley Hesselgrave (right) goes low to snag a reception during practice.

Josh Poole

Josh Poole is impressed.

Fall is about to kick in the door.

With rain drops splattering down on the prairie Monday, we are officially at T-minus-100 hours until the kickoff of games that count.

Now, technically, the Coupeville High School girls’ soccer team is the first in action with a jamboree Thursday in Oak Harbor, but the first contest that goes in the win/loss column comes a day later.

That’s when the Wolves travel down Island Friday to face-off with arch-rival South Whidbey in Langley (7 PM kickoff) in their first game under new head coach Brett Smedley.

The Falcons will have their own first-year man in Michael Coe, with Chris Tormey having fled the Island after just one season to go work in the Canadian Football League.

At stake in the non-conference game will be bragging rights and ownership of The Bucket, the trophy which has spent two of the last three years living in Coupeville.

Let the battles begin.

Wolf junior Tiffany Briscoe is a key returning player. (John Fisken photos)

Wolf junior Tiffany Briscoe is a key returning player. (John Fisken photos)

Sophomore Katrina McGranahan is back and ready to unleash her power game.

   Sophomore Katrina McGranahan is back and ready to unleash her power game.

Never back down.

That captures the attitude shown by the Coupeville High School volleyball squad, which is looking to bounce back from a fourth-place finish in the 1A Olympic League last year.

While those Wolves went 1-11, many of the matches were close affairs and CHS was rarely, if ever, blown out.

The loss of five players to graduation will sting a bit, but much of the core of the team was young last year, which bodes well for this season and the future.

“My expectation is that our team competes every day, gives maximum effort for the sake of their team, and challenges each other to become better,” said Wolf coach Breanne Smedley. “Our goals are to improve with each week, earn a league title, and compete into the post season.

“We are out to beat them all! We talk about all other teams as just another jersey,” she added. “We are constantly competing with ourselves and focusing on what is going to help us improve each week.

“All else will fall into place if we are successful in this.”

As Smedley heads into her second year at the helm of the Wolves, she’ll have a roster that is still fairly young, with just two seniors.

Middle blocker McKenzie Bailey and setter Sydney Autio, who was out injured much of last year, are those veterans, and they’ll be joined by juniors Valen Trujillo (libero), Tiffany Briscoe (OH) and Ally Roberts (OPP).

Sophomores Kyla Briscoe (OH/OPP), Katrina McGranahan (MB), Lauren Rose (setter), Hope Lodell (OH) and Payton Aparicio (OH) and freshman phenom Emma Smith (MB) are also in the mix.

It’s a group that has stepped up in off-season workouts and is intent on toppling Klahowya, Port Townsend and Chimacum.

“Our strengths include the ownership the girls are taking over the program, and their competitiveness to continually improve,” Smedley said. “We have depth from pin to pin in our offense, which will prove to become a strength for us if we can focus in on quality first ball contacts.”

As their season opener approaches (Sept. 8 at home against South Whidbey), the Wolves remain hard at work.

“We need to work on controlling the first ball contact on serve receive and in defense,” Smedley said. “We are also working on getting our middles to run quicker through the middle and introducing combinations into our offense.

“It is all dependent on the first ball contact, though.”

The Spark is back!!

Jenn Spark is back, healthy and ready to lead the Wolf booters. (John Fisken photos)

   Jenn Spark is back, healthy and ready to lead the Wolf booters. (John Fisken photos)

Bree Daigneault (left) will be a captain this season.

Bree Daigneault (#17) will be a captain this season.

The brightest bit of news from the first week of practice for the Coupeville High School girls’ soccer squad was the return of senior spark-plug Jenn Spark.

The defensive whiz kid with the booming clearing kick suffered a devastating MCL/ACL injury and missed most of her junior campaign, but is back to lead a young Wolf squad into a new season.

Jennifer has been working hard and I expect great things from her and she expects great things from herself,” Wolf coach Troy Cowan said. “She will take the helm of our defense as our “sweeper.” Welcome back Cap!”

Coupeville, which went 6-7-1 and finished second in the 1A Olympic League last season, will face an uphill battle in 2015.

League rival Klahowya is the defending 1A state champ, and while it lost its top two players, McKenzie Cook and Izzy Severns, to graduation, the Eagles are still stacked.

“Tough team to deal with, lots of talented players on the pitch and a coach that is always well prepared and has a bench full of starters!,” Cowan said. “We will do our best and give them everything we have, no excuses and no backing down.”

While the Wolves lost eight players to graduation, Spark will have some familiar running mates and a strong group of promising freshmen will be fighting for immediate playing time.

Sophomore Mia Littlejohn is the top returning scorer, having netted three goals while winning Rookie of the Year honors last season.

Mia’s versatility allowed her to play goalie to forward for CHS last year, but after an extremely successful European soccer tour, Mia’s offensive prowess will be on display full time this season!,” Cowan said. “No net will be safe this season, ciao…”

Junior Bree Daigneault and sophomore Sage Renninger (“she hasn’t missed a beat and her shot is better than ever”) join Spark and Littlejohn at the forefront, with Daigneault being named a team captain.

“I think Bree has surprised me the most. She really worked hard since last year and has transformed herself into something special,” Cowan said. “Not only is she a much more physically dominating player, but her leadership is profoundly distinctive and magnanimous.

Bree has added quickness and ball control to her game,” he added. “She really came out of the gate on fire and hasn’t looked back.”

Two youngsters expected to make an immediate impact are freshmen Kalia Littlejohn and Lindsey Roberts.

Kalia will be fun to watch this season, so everyone better come early because you may not want to miss the show this young striker is going to put on!,” Cowan said. “Not to be outdone, Lindsey has turned her golden track shoes in for spiked soccer cleats and we have been picking up the bodies ever since.

“This young, defensive-minded speedster with power in both legs has been anything but freshman like! Just dangerous.”

While the Wolves will miss the veterans lost to graduation, Cowan looks to the future, and sees a bright one.

“Our goals are simple; Stay positive, improve each and every half, give 100% effort, and never, ever quit!,” he said. “We are going to focus on what we can control and manage what we can’t!

“Our team strengths are our youthfulness and our high energy,” Cowan added. “We are very young and have some players with a lot of energy. We will be looking to capitalize on that energy and use it to gain momentum and turn it into our advantage.”

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