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Kalia (Dawn Hesselgrave photos)

Kalia Littlejohn joins the Wall of Fame. (Dawn Hesselgrave photos)

Dawn

Dawn Hesselgrave is caught on the other side of the camera.

Kalia and Malia

   Littlejohn and Malia Hansen (left) explore a high-level professional soccer locker room.

spain

San Sebastian, soccer (and food) mecca.

Mia

   Mia Littlejohn (left, front) enjoys the ride, while several of her teammates opt for nap time.

Kalia

Kalia practices her post-goal celebration.

They’re undefeated on international soil.

Having traveled to Spain for the Donosti Cup, the NWU GU16 select soccer squad, which features four Whidbey Island players, rolled to a 4-0 win in its opener.

Coupeville High School sophomore-to-be Mia Littlejohn scored a goal in the first half, then took over in net in the second half to complete the shutout.

The Donosti Cup, held in San Sebastian on Spain’s Basque coast, draws 400 teams from 20 countries.

Players, coaches and parents raised the money for the trip with a variety of fundraisers, and the first few days in Spain were spent sightseeing and tasting the local cuisine.

San Sebastian currently has two of the world’s top ten ranked restaurants.

Mia Littlejohn is joined on the squad by lil’ sis Kalia, who will be a freshman at CHS, as well as fellow Islanders Malia Hansen and Jenna Cooley.

(John Fisken photos)

   No softball shall escape the grasp of the Pineapple Ninjas! Ever!! (John Fisken photos)

hit

  The resounding thunk you just heard was solid wood (OK, aluminum) on softball.

catch

   “And just where do we think we’re going?!?! I told you no softball escaped our grasp!!”

slide

“Gettin’ my uniform dirty. It’s kind of my trademark.”

hit

“Oh, that feels like a hit, yes ma’am, it does!”

ball

   Lost in the desert windstorm, the young softball whiz kid made the play, cause … NO SOFTBALL ESCAPES THE PINEAPPLE NINJAS!!

The Pineapple Ninjas are off to the state tourney.

But before the new District 11 champs — the Central Whidbey Little League 9/10 All-Star softball squad — heads to Vancouver, we can bask in the glow of their stellar play, thanks to travelin’ photo man John Fisken.

The pics above are courtesy him, and come from action on July 3.

To see more (and possibly purchase some), pop over to:

https://www.shutterfly.com/progal/album.jsp?aid=768a5498cf36127f5ffe

Former CHS cheer coach Sylvia Arnold (left) shares a moment with Sydney Autio (john Fisken photos)

  Former CHS cheer coach Sylvia Arnold (left) shares a moment with Sydney Autio (John Fisken photo)

Cameron Boyd (center) gave his tooth for the greater glory, something Jared Dickson (left) and Brett Arnold can appreciate.

   Cameron Boyd (center) gave his tooth for the greater glory, something Jared Dickson (left) and Brett Arnold can appreciate. (Sylvia Arnold photo)

Shelli Trumbull (left) and her two most frequent camera targets, son Aaron and daughter Alexis.

  Shelli Trumbull (left) and her two most frequent camera targets, son Aaron and daughter Alexis.

Exuberance.

It is what ties together the members of our second class to be inducted into the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame.

Our newest inductees (now enshrined under the Legends tab at the top of this blog) are Sylvia Arnold, Shelli Trumbull and Cameron Boyd.

Boyd is being tabbed for creating a great Moment, Trumbull is our first Contributor to enter the Hall and Arnold is being honored for her work as a Coach.

Up first is Boyd, the very definition of laid-back intensity during his time on the soccer pitch.

Except for a night in late March of 2014, when he sacrificed his face and sparked one of the biggest wins in program history.

Taking a knee to the mouth, Boyd lost most of a tooth, but stayed on the field, as Coupeville’s defense held on for a shocking 2-1 home victory over arch-rival South Whidbey.

The win was a stunner, coming over a team that openly talked about competing for a 1A state title but proved to have a lot less fire in the belly than Coupeville.

Caught up in the celebration, Boyd posed for photos with his giddy teammates before getting his shattered tooth looked at by a doctor, forever sealing his rep as a stone-cold killer.

Winner, winner … no, he couldn’t eat no chicken dinner.

But he can go in the Hall o’ Fame for one shining moment.

Trumbull, who used her camera to capture many shining moments, is reason enough to create a new category for the Hall just two weeks into the process.

Devoting countless hours of her time to taking pics at CHS sporting events, starting with those played by children Alexis and Aaron, and then spinning off to just about anything she could fit into her already-overflowing schedule, Shelli is an unsung legend.

Without her photos, Coupeville Sports might never have taken off.

Words are fine, but glossy pics bring the eyes in, and Shelli’s willingness to shoot, shoot and shoot some more, while allowing me, and everyone else, to poach away, is extraordinary.

A CHS grad who married another CHS grad and produced two more CHS grads, she is Coupeville at its best. Pure and simple.

And that description also fits our third and final honoree this week.

Sylvia Arnold coached Wolf cheerleaders for 20 years, and that commitment alone is impressive.

But there is more, so much more, to what this woman brought to her school, her town, her young women (and men).

She threw out the conventional cheer coach book and welcomed everyone to her team. Show up, put in the time and effort and buy into being part of a team, and you were hers for life.

And once you were one of hers, she would go to the mat for you with a passion that can not be faked.

A perpetual hug-and-laugh machine, Sylvia made every one of her cheerleaders, and every other person who wandered into her path, realize they were loved, they were appreciated, they were needed.

It can not be overstated how much joy and compassion the woman has brought to everyone in her life.

There are people born to be cheerleaders, and Sylvia embraced them.

And then there are countless others who would never have been given a shot at another school, and Sylvia embraced them with all her heart and soul.

If we count the number of young women (and men) who genuinely shocked those around them by becoming Wolf cheerleaders during her two decades, we’d be here for ever.

Sylvia transformed cheer and built an empire around “Ohana means family; family means no one gets left behind,” and the benefits of what she did will radiate through this community, and many others, for decades to come.

If that’s not worthy of induction into the Hall o’ Fame, then I don’t know what is.

Plays like this helped carry Central Whidbey to a district title. (John Fisken photo)

Plays like this helped carry Central Whidbey to a district title. (John Fisken photo)

The comeback kids. The champs. (Photo courtesy Mimi Johnson)

The comeback kids. The champs. (Photo courtesy Mimi Johnson)

Set off the fireworks, cause Central Whidbey is da champs.

Cruising to its second win in as many days against arch-rival North Whidbey, the Pineapple Ninjas, a 9/10 All-Star little league softball squad that features Coupeville and South Whidbey girls, clinched the District 11 championship Saturday.

The 15-9 win, coming on a hot 4th of July, sends Central Whidbey to the state tourney.

It also capped a remarkable comeback for a squad that suffered through a heart-rending opening to the district playoffs.

Central Whidbey let a four-run lead over North Whidbey slip away in the final inning of their playoff opener, falling 11-10.

Instead of falling apart, the girls in red and black rallied to win three consecutive loser-out games, knocking off Sedro-Woolley before sweeping back-to-back games from their closest rival.

Playing with everything at stake Saturday, Central ran away with the game. Literally.

Running wild on the base-paths, leaving behind a never-ending string of stolen bases in the scorebook, the Pineapple Ninjas broke open the game with an 11-run fourth inning.

Having seen an early 4-2 lead slip away, Central trailed 7-4 entering the fourth, before it flipped the switch and bolted to a win.

Kaela Meffert smacked three singles to pace her squad, while Jill Prince scorched a single and Central hurler Chanel Sterba whiffed seven North Whidbey hitters.

The Pineapple Ninjas open the state tourney in Vancouver next Saturday, July 11 with a game against a Marysville team coached by former Coupeville softball star Natalie (Slater) Maneval.

It’s a reunion, since Maneval and Central Whidbey coach Mimi Johnson were roommates back in the day when they played softball at Skagit Valley College.

A second reunion could occur later in the tournament, as former Wolf Matt Cross has a daughter on a rival team, while his sister, Jennie (Cross) Prince, will be cheering on her daughter, Jill.

"I don't care how far away that fence is ... I'm going downtown with this baby!!" (John Fisken photo)

   “I don’t care how far away that fence is … I’m going downtown with this baby!!” (John Fisken photo)

The celebration reigns. (Megan Somes photos)

The celebration reigns. (Megan Somes photos)

Isabelle Wells gets ready to nring a big bat and slick glove to the field. (Katy Wells photo)

Isabelle Wells gets ready to bring a big bat and slick glove to the field. (Katy Wells photo)

This time, there was no chance of a comeback.

Pounding the ball with glee Friday, the Central Whidbey Little League 9/10 All-Star softball squad dismantled arch-rival North Whidbey 20-10.

The win avenged a loss earlier in the week, when Central let a four-run lead slip away in the final inning, and set up a winner-take-all tilt on the 4th of July.

Central and North will face off at 3 PM Saturday in Mount Vernon for the District 11 title and a trip to the state tourney.

Friday’s game started with a bang, as Central raced out to a 7-1 lead, then took a detour, with North tying things back up at 7-7, before firmly turning back in favor of the middle of Whidbey.

Central put up five runs in both the third and fourth, then tacked on four more in both the fifth and sixth to thoroughly dominate things.

“Another great game!,” said Central coach Mimi Johnson. “Chanel (Sterba) pitched a great game; Stella (Johnson) did amazing catching.

Jill Prince had a much needed catch for a big out and Kaela Meffert wins the big bat award!!”

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