Coupeville freshman Alana Mihill was a revelation this fall, embracing cross country and making an immediate impact. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

CHS coach Natasha Bamberger honors senior captain Danny Conlisk, who, after two years of training and traveling with South Whidbey, got to lead his own team. (Photos courtesy Bamberger)

Wolf runners, and their support crew, celebrate “Crossgiving” at Sunday’s awards banquet.

The coach who revived a program she once led as a runner has a special gift to remember this season. (Photo courtesy Helene Lhamon)

Revived, reborn and earning respect.

Ending a two-decade-plus exile, cross country returned to Coupeville High School this fall, and it was a smashing success.

Starting the program virtually from scratch — two returning runners, Danny Conlisk and Sam Wynn, had trained and traveled with South Whidbey last year — CHS coach Natasha Bamberger hit the ground running.

She pulled together an eight-athlete roster, fielding a full boys team while launching the very-promising harrier careers of Catherine Lhamon and Alana Mihill.

The trail runners made huge strides while training with Bamberger, who won a 1985 state title in cross country and four more in track back when she was the one wearing a CHS uniform.

Tack on a huge turnout at the middle school level for CMS coach Elizabeth Bitting, and the future of the cross country program couldn’t be brighter.

But Sunday night was about hailing the trailblazers who brought cross country back inside Coupeville schools.

In future years, as the program grows, other Wolves may join Bamberger and 2010 state champ Tyler King at the top of the podium.

When they do, they will be rightfully hailed.

But for now, and forever, the two girls, six boys, one ecstatic coach and their all-star support crew, the ones who stepped up in 2018, will live large.

It’s a feeling Bamberger captured in her awards banquet wrap-up:

“Happy Crossgiving!!”

This is how the Coupeville High School cross country family ends its first XC season – at Fort Casey with submarines, laughs and tons of kindness.

Captain Award:
Danny Conlisk

Varsity letters:

Catherine Lhamon
Alana Mihill
Danny Conlisk
Sam Wynn

Senior Awards:

Danny Conlisk
Uriah Kastner
Kyle Burnett

Runner Discovered:
Uriah Kastner

Fighter Award:
Kyle Burnett

Sam Wynn

In the Zone:
Chris Ruck

Toughest Competitor:
Catherine Lhamon

Workhorse Award:
Alana Mihill

Alana’s first letter; she pushed the team from the first day of the summer preseason.

She made every practice and when team felt tired she’d be right out front pushing the boys!!

Best Attitude Award:
TJ Rickner

TJ has the best attitude you could ask for in a runner. Finishes the race saying coach that was so fun! Smiling ear to ear.

I want to bottle that enthusiasm!

It was a great night! They sewed coach a quilt!

Special thanks to Dawnelle, Glenda and Ken. Fitting he was at the head of the table, submarines and all!

Huge thank you Robyn Myers, SPU-Fort Casey, and for the amazing support of the Coupeville Boosters. I’m overwhelmed.

Thank you David for your support of the team. Anything I can do for you please ask.

You have done so much for this community.

Do your articles motivate? Maybe we better put you in the hot seat in the next super motivator contest!!

We could graph athlete performance and “Coupeville Sports” coverage. Haha!!

Parting words … “Summer practice starts weekdays 10 AM after the last day of school, Monday-Friday.

(Big focus eye contact and huge smile holding my breath…)

I look forward to seeing you ALL there!

Feels great to be home!

Restart my heart!!

A night after scoring 24 points, Coupeville grad Makana Stone (hand up) torched Montana Tech for 26. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

She had quite a weekend.

A day after setting her collegiate high with a 24-point performance in the opener of the Whit Classic in Spokane, Coupeville grad Makana Stone upped the ante.

The Whitman College junior re-busted her career high-water mark Saturday, tossing in 26 points in a wild and woolly 89-87 overtime loss to women’s basketball powerhouse Montana Tech.

Stone and the Blues charged back from a 13-point deficit, then rode two three-balls in the final five seconds of regulation to somehow, against all odds, force extra play.

But there was no cherry on top of the sundae, as Montana Tech pulled out its own miracle finish in overtime, getting a runner in the paint that dropped through with 0:00.3 on the clock.

With Stone handcuffed to the bench after a blind ref fouled her out in OT, all the former Wolf could do was watch from a distance as Mollie Peoples sliced through the Blues defense.

The sophomore nursing student from Butte flicked the ball skywards at the last second, and it hung in the air for an eternity before caressing the glass and plopping home.

Peoples shot, the only field goal she made in six attempts, capped an extraordinary finish to a game where Whitman didn’t hold the lead until 37 of the 40 minutes of regulation had ticked away.

That lead, at 74-72 off a shot by Kaylie McCracken, was short-lived, however.

Montana Tech, which is 7-1 after the non-conference win (Whitman drops to 2-2) rallied right back, going on an 8-2 tear to go up by four with 40 seconds to play.

Even better for the Orediggers, they were headed to the free throw line, with a chance to all but seal the win.

Except neither charity shot would stay in the basket, keeping alive the slimmest of hopes for Whitman, which hurried down court only to get stuck in some serious defensive traffic.

With way too much time having slithered off the clock, the Blues sent up a prayer, and had it answered twice.

First, Mady Burdett splashed home a three-ball with five seconds to go to cut the lead back to 80-79.

Montana Tech, immediately fouled, reverted back to normal and slipped two free throws through the net, requiring Whitman to hit a buzzer-beater if it wanted to keep playing.

Which it promptly did, as Kaelan Shamseldin drilled the bottom out of the net from the right side, her trey sending the Orediggers reeling and the Blues jumping with joy.

After the emotional roller-coaster of the fourth quarter, it seemed like there was no way for overtime to match the same intensity. And yet it did.

Montana Tech went up by four, Stone slashed to the hoop for a bucket to cut the margin back down, then fouls took over.

The refs bounced three major Oredigger front-court players, as well as Stone, in the late going, but both teams struggled to hit their free throws, largely negating the many fouls.

Whitman, even with its top rebounder on the bench, hit the glass hard in the final seconds, turning a third-chance offensive rebound into yet another game-tier at 87-87.

That came with a little over a minute left in OT, setting up a tension-packed, and scoreless, final 60 seconds, until Peoples went and made herself a folk hero to Oredigger Nation.

That the game even went to an extra period was a bit of a surprise, as Montana Tech controlled the game early, running out to a 23-12 lead at the first break.

The Orediggers stretched the margin to 12 at the half, thanks to a miracle shot which benefited greatly from a lack of replay.

A three-ball which looked, on the live broadcast, like it had been launched well after the buzzer sounded, it flopped through and was counted by the refs, despite some howls from the Blues.

Stone kept Whitman in the game early, pouring in 15 of her 26 points in the first half.

She finished the game shooting 9-16 from the floor and a sizzlin’ 8-9 at the free throw line, while also grabbing a game-high eight rebounds.

Through four games, the former Wolf has 71 points, 35 rebounds, seven steals, six assists and six blocks.

Hayley Fiedler, seen here last spring, is off to a 4-0 start with the Coupeville 8th grade SWISH basketball squad. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Can’t be stopped. Won’t be denied.

Playing two very different types of ballgames Saturday, the Coupeville 8th grade SWISH girls basketball team responded the only way it knows – by winning.

After overcoming a tough South Whidbey squad, escaping with a hard-fought, come-from-behind 28-25 win, the Wolves drilled far-less-competitive Orcas Island, using a withering defense to romp to a 22-9 victory.

The doubleheader sweep, coming on the road at Mount Vernon, lifts Coupeville to 4-0 at the halfway point of the Skagit County Parks and Rec League regular season.

The Wolves have a single game on both Nov. 24 and Dec. 1, each against teams they have previously beaten, then close with a doubleheader Dec. 8.

The league’s postseason tourney is set for Dec. 15.

With two games on the schedule Saturday, Coupeville got its big test out of the way early.

South Whidbey, led by sweet-shooting gunner Madison Knauer, who banged home four three-balls on her way to a game-high 16 points, jumped out to an early lead.

Down by four at the first break, the Wolves responded with an 8-3 run in the second quarter.

Shutting down the Falcon shooters, then pounding the ball inside to Carolyn Lhamon, who knocked down two big buckets, Coupeville reclaimed the lead and control of the game.

What the Wolves couldn’t do was pull away, as a 14-13 halftime lead turned into a 23-22 advantage after a back-and-fourth third quarter.

Coupeville finally put the hammer down in the fourth, thanks to buckets from Alita Blouin and Nezi Keiper, a free-throw from Blouin and another burst of stifling defense.

Lhamon paced the Wolves with eight points and six rebounds, while Blouin (7), Keiper (6), Maddie Georges (4), Gwen Gustafson (2), and Savina Wells (1) also scored.

Keiper led Coupeville on the boards, snagging eight caroms, with Georges glomming on to seven and Wells pulling down four.

The nightcap was much more of a one-sided affair, as the Wolves sprinted out to an 8-2 lead after one quarter, then stretched it to a 14-5 bulge at the half before coasting home.

Wells, a quicksilver 6th grader playing two grades up, tossed in a team-high six points and reeled in five rebounds.

Georges, Blouin and Lhamon added four points apiece, while Lauren Marrs and Keiper both dropped in a bucket.

Lhamon, Georges and Keiper tied for top honors with six rebounds each, and spark-plugs Hayley Fiedler (4) and Ryanne Knoblich (3) helped clean the glass.

Makana mashes!!

Coupeville grad Makana Stone set a new personal collegiate record Friday, scoring 24 points in a tourney win in Spokane. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

She might already be a lock for the All-Tournament team.


Coupeville grad Makana Stone went off Friday in the opener of the Whit Classic in Spokane, throwing down 24 points and snatching 10 boards to spark the Whitman College women’s basketball team to a 74-62 win over the University of Texas at Tyler.

The win lifts the Blues to 2-1 headed into a second, and final tourney rumble Saturday, when they play Montana Tech.

Playing in the 60th game of her career at Whitman, Stone broke her personal collegiate scoring record, edging out the 23 she tallied last year as a sophomore in a game versus Willamette.

Maybe it’s the Whitworth Fieldhouse in Spokane she loves, or the Whit Classic itself, since the Whidbey native has now scored 77 points across five games in three of these tourneys.

Stone dropped eight and seven points as a freshman, then was named to the All-Tournament team as a sophomore when she knocked down 20 and 18.

This time around, the junior post player jumped on her Texas counterparts quickly, raining down eight points in the first quarter, then slapping home another 10 in the second frame.

Sparked by Stone’s 18-point first half, and some deadly three-point shooting from her teammates, Whitman cruised into the halftime break up 45-23.

Texas rallied a bit after the break, shaving 10 points off its 22-point deficit, but the Blues were never seriously in trouble.

Stone added another six points in the third quarter, wrapping up a strong shooting performance.

She drilled 10 of 14 from the field, and swished all four of her free-throw attempts, while also tossing two steals, an assist and a blocked shot on the stat pile.

The former Wolf standout is averaging 15 points and nine rebounds a night this season.

Stone’s stellar performance under the bright lights against Texas raised her career totals to 582 points and 412 boards in a just a hair over two seasons.

Coupeville Booster Club president Wendi Hilborn and her cohorts doled out almost $10,000 Thursday to Wolf sports teams. (Ema Smith photo)

Let the good times roll.

Coming off of a hugely successful Crab Feed, the Coupeville Booster Club let the money rain down on Wolf sports programs this week.

Flush with cash from the year’s biggest fundraiser, the club approved six different requests from CHS and CMS sports programs.

“We had a very productive Booster Club meeting,” said board President Wendi Hilborn.

That was a sentiment echoed by everyone in the room.

“This makes us SO happy!!,” said board member Jess Lucero. “In the past, not all teams took advantage of their team improvement money.”

Requests approved Thursday, to the tune of almost $10,000:

A timing system for CMS/CHS cross country – $1,297.66.

Headsets for CMS/CHS football – $2,430.00.

CMS basketball shooting shirts – $694.00.

CHS boys basketball travel bags – $1,319.21.

LED display timing system for CMS/CHS track – $2,110.11

CHS baseball pitching machine – $1,736.00.

Funding Wolf sports programs is an ongoing business, but membership fees (join today!) and fundraisers help the Booster Club keep chugging along.

“The Crab Feed was a success and this always puts the board at ease, as it lets us know we meet our budgeted obligations,” Lucero said.

“We want to thank those who supported the Crab Feed by donating items, services, or volunteering man hours to make it happen,” she added. “We would have virtually nothing to give teams if it wasn’t for the Crab Feed.”


PS — Want to join the Booster Club, help fund them, and keep the money flowing to Wolf sports?

The club offers four tiers, and a membership is good from Sept. 1 to Aug. 31 of the next year:

$125 — Business membership (includes a Wolf banner)

$75 — Family membership

$50 — Individual membership

$25 — Wolf Backer

The Individual, Family, and Business levels also include signage acknowledging you in the entrance way to the CHS gym.

Of course, you can also make special monetary gifts and donations, if you’re feeling especially flush with Wolf pride.

For more info, and to sign up today, pop over to: