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Your bookshelf won’t be complete without copies of all three of my books.

Don’t call it a comeback, cause I didn’t go anywhere.

As I begin to emerge from the haze of pain after dental surgery (otherwise known as The Great Whining of 2018), I am preparing to fully launch into the next phase of “Coupeville Sports.

But nope, while you’re reading this here on the blog, that does NOT mean the blog is returning on a daily basis.

As I mentioned before, I’m taking a break from that 24/7/365 world, which resulted in 6,200 articles in six years.

Instead, my plan is to spend the next year writing my third (and hopefully most in-depth) book, “A Year on the Prairie.”

Having refined my original concept, I’m here on this lazy Sunday to lay out what it will (hopefully) be and how you, my readers, can (hopefully) help me get to the finish line.

My original thought was to simply document a year in the world of Coupeville sports, specifically the upcoming 2018-2019 school year, but in book format, instead of a blog format.

That would allow me to focus less on the immediate, day-to-day, who-won, who-lost, who-scored and spend more time chasing down the stories behind and beyond the games.

More “Sports Illustrated” and less “USA Today.”

That’s still the driving idea, but after a lot of thought, I have refined my focus.

Going forward, my plan with “A Year on the Prairie,” is to concentrate solely on female athletics in Coupeville, with an eye on combining past, present and future.

When the school sports year plays out, I’ll track whether CHS volleyball returns to state, Kalia Littlejohn’s pursuit of the school soccer scoring records and Lindsey Roberts‘ bid to unseat Makana Stone as the Wolf girl with the most career state track meet medals.

As well as everything else which happens in, and around, female athletics in Coupeville, such as the 45th anniversary celebration being planned for CHS girls basketball.

At the same time, I will be delving into the past, with the goal of documenting the stories of women who have left an impact on our community.

I want to hear stories from the early days of Title IX, but also the stories of the female athletes who fought for their right to play long before then.

For a sports writer who started in newspapers in the early ’90s, it boggles my mind when I see the coverage the Whidbey News-Times gave the first school-sanctioned CHS girls basketball team in the modern-era, the 1974-1975 squad.

As in, not one word.

That season simply doesn’t exist in the newspaper that is supposed to be our document of history.

The young women on that team, now likely grandmothers, deserve to tell their story. And so do a lot of others.

Whether they were playing tennis in 1925 or running cross country in 1985, Coupeville’s female athletes, and their families, deserve to read their stories.

Young women playing today deserve to know the full extent of their heritage, that when they pull on a Wolf uniform they play both for themselves and all the women who blazed the trail.

If we do this project justice, it will be a living history, shining a light on the past, celebrating the present and hailing a bright future.

And you might notice I said WE, and not I, because I need your help.

Do you have photos, programs, yearbooks, newspaper clippings, diaries, videos, etc.? Anything which would help to tell the tale of female athletics in Coupeville?

Do you have a story to tell, or know someone with a story to tell?

I want, I need, to see and hear it all, whether it’s from the 1920’s or the 2000’s.

No story is too big, no story is too small. A thousand small strands come together to form a complete web.

You can email me at davidsvien@hotmail.com, snail mail me at 165 Sherman, Coupeville, WA 98239 or catch me at a game.

Also, if you so desire, you can join those who are the wind beneath my wings, by slipping me a buck or two to help keep my computer humming as I write, interview and research.

Do so, and your name will appear on a thank you page in the printed book (and you can snag a signed copy, as well). So there’s that, if you pop over to:

https://www.gofundme.com/help-me-write-a-year-on-the-prairie

Can we do this? Yes, we can.

   Coupeville Sports is changing, but the mission remains the same — to tell stories about prairie athletes. (David Stern photo)

Less USA Today and more Sports Illustrated.

After six years of writing my blog, running it in 24-7-365 mode, I’m changing things up.

I want to step back from cranking out 3-5 articles a day, every day, and approach things in a new way.

I’m shutting down Coupeville Sports after this article.

After three days of allowing readers to vent, my Twitter and Facebook accounts vanish June 1.

I’m not deleting the blog, just not adding any more stories.

All 6,200 articles will still be here and can be accessed at any time.

This is not the end, though.

Instead of a daily crush of game stories, stats, photo essays, half-assed instant analysis, injury updates and driving people batty as I harass them for scoops on hirings and the like, I want to step back and take the long view.

After taking the summer off, to spend time with my nephews and help my sister start her farm, I’ll return to cover Coupeville High School sports during the 2018-2019 school year.

But, instead of blogging, I’ll be working on a book, tentatively titled “A Year on the Prairie.”

Unlike my previous two books, “Memoirs of an Idiot” and “Bow Down to Cow Town,” which were collections of essays and columns (and can be found on Amazon and in Sno-Isle libraries, nudge, nudge), this will be a traditional book.

Freed from focusing on wins, losses and who scored, freed from spending hours mind-numblingly transcribing stats, freed from all the side stuff, I can go deeper.

To tell stories about what happens behind the scenes and in the smaller moments of a season, to focus more on the experience of small town sports instead of just the result.

Doing this will change how and when I write, something I have wanted to address since my nephews moved to Whidbey this spring.

This coming school year could, and should, be a pivotal moment in CHS sports history.

A new league beckons, and, with the change, a return of old rivals and the debate between public and private schools playing on the same field.

The football program is about to hire its fifth coach in nine years, cross country returns after a two-decade absence and volleyball continues to grow at an amazing rate under a young, charismatic coach.

Several athletes at CHS are chasing career records and hoping to land college gigs as their prep careers wind down.

Beyond that, there are questions I have always had, and would now have time to pursue in greater depth.

What is life really like for an athletic director?

What do soccer fans find so enticing about a sport which drives me batty?

What drives track moms, the most die-hard of fans, to travel hundreds of miles to watch their child compete for 10 seconds?

That just the tip of the iceberg, and every sports year offers its own surprises and unexpected story-lines.

Freed from having to pound out stories on a daily basis, I will be able to travel to more road games, to track down stars of the past, to reflect on the history of sports in Coupeville.

To tell a more complete story, to craft an epic tale instead of just pounding out small chapters and then immediately moving on to the next “breaking news” nugget.

After six years and 6,200 articles, it’s time to take my reporting and writing in a different direction.

Hopefully you, my readers, will be waiting for me at the end of my detour. And not with pitchforks…

 

A message for my supporters:

I have lived, survived, and generally thrived, thanks to my readers.

Whether you bought an ad, purchased a book, or donated to the cause, you made it possible for me to keep blogging.

For those who want to continue to help keep my fingers typing as we move from blog to book, it is greatly appreciated.

The PayPal link at the top of the blog remains fully functional, my mailing address is 165 N. Sherman, Coupeville, WA 98239, my email is davidsvien@hotmail.com and you can find me at pretty much every home game.

The style may change, but the mission remains the same.

Ariah Bepler finds his moment of Zen at the state track and field meet. (Logan Martin photos)

Lauren Bayne visualizes her target.

Chris Battaglia is trapped in a mesh net of emotion.

This ain’t Randy King’s first time at the rodeo.

Bayne and Bepler gaze out at the action.

   A Lynden Christian runner moves in to congratulate Danny Conlisk after the Wolf junior busted a PR and claimed 2nd in the 400.

Yes, Battaglia does feel pretty good about the luxuriousness of his hair and how it’s holding up in the Cheney heat. Thanks for asking.

   Maya Toomey-Stout (left) celebrates teammate Lindsey Roberts’ success in the hurdles.

The heat of Cheney, the roar of the overflow crowds, the electricity of the races themselves — all done for another year.

But while the state track and field meet ended Saturday, the photos, such as the ones seen above, will linger on for some time.

The pics you’re gazing upon come to us from the camera of Coupeville Middle School camera bug Logan Martin, who took a break from his own athletic pursuits to capture the goings-on in Eastern Washington.

Coupeville’s annual Memorial Day Parade gets off to a flag-waving start. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Local legends Sylvia Arnold (left) and Cheryl Engle meet and mingle.

Even Superman gets tired.

The Marines move out.

He’s the cat’s meow.

“Candy … candy … CANDY!!!!!!”

Mollie Bailey is ready to rock the joint.

   Megan Behan (left) and Caroline Lhamon win over the crowd with a hail of Tootsie-Pops.

Patriotism was in the air, as well as candy.

Coupeville’s annual Memorial Day Parade brought out a mix of veterans, politicians, animals, classic cars and plenty of people tossing sweet treats at the audience.

Local camera bug John Fisken popped in to shoot the whole affair Saturday, and the pics above are courtesy him.

To see everything he shot, pop over to:

https://www.johnsphotos.net/Events/Coupeville-Memorial-Day-Parade-2018-05-26/

And when you do, he’s left this batch of photos wide open for everyone to use and download for free.

Coupeville junior Lindsey Roberts finished 2nd in the 100 hurdles, capturing the fifth medal of her prep track career. (Dawnelle Conlisk photos)

   Jerseys hang waiting for Danny Conlisk and Jacob Smith, who combined to bring home six medals from Cheney.

   Allison Wenzel, here throwing the javelin in an earlier meet, smashed her PR in the discus Saturday by almost 10 feet. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Ariah Bepler soared to a fifth-place finish in the high jump.

Wolves (l to r) Danny Conlisk, Randy King and Jacob Smith celebrate Coupeville’s smashing success of a weekend. (Dawnelle Conlisk photo)

Tyler King, the most-decorated track athlete in Coupeville High School history, finished 2nd five times at the state meet.

Those runner-up finishes (and two state titles) were part of an 11-medal haul for the guy who would go on to be an All-American on scholarship at the University of Washington.

So, when I say the 2018 Wolves emulated King Saturday, it’s something for them to be proud about.

While none of Coupeville’s athletes were able to win a state title during the 1A state track and field meet in Cheney, they did the next best thing, capturing four second-place medals in one day.

Hauling in medals in six events Saturday, including three runner-up finishes, the Wolf boys roared up the team standings, as well.

By the time the day was done, the current squad had claimed 5th, the best showing since the CHS boys took home 4th in 2008.

Coupeville finished with 34 points, just back of Riverside (36), while King’s (58), Lakeside (50) and Stevenson (48) rounded out the top three.

Island rival South Whidbey finished 12th.

The Wolf girls, who had a lot less bodies in action, claimed 24th, while South Whidbey was 10th and Lakeside claimed the team title.

The few Coupeville girls in action Saturday all made an impact, however.

Allison Wenzel (Discus) and Lauren Bayne (Javelin) both set PR’s, with Wenzel smashing her career mark by nearly 10 feet.

The spotlight was brightest on Lindsey Roberts, though, as she stormed past her arch-rival, Aubry Botkin of Port Townsend, beating the RedHawk for the first time this season.

Roberts finished second, a hair off of Chewelah sophomore Lillian Kirry, while claiming the fifth state meet medal of her career.

Botkin, who entered state ranked #1, had held off Roberts at the league and district meets, and Saturday was the final time the two Olympic League stars will likely face.

Though she’s a junior, Botkin is graduating early and joining the military.

While Roberts came out triumphant in her final duel, the CHS boys were on fire all day.

Senior Jacob Smith became just the second Wolf to ever win four medals at one state track meet, joining Jon Chittim, who did so in 2006.

Smith claimed 2nd in the 100 and 200, then sparked his 4 x 4 relay team to an unexpected 5th place finish.

The Wolves had slipped into the final as the eighth and final entry.

Capping off his incredible run, Smith was also part of a 4 x 1 squad which claimed 7th.

With his furious finale, Smith finished his career with six state meet medals, which ties him for the fourth-most in CHS track history.

The fourth 2nd place finish Saturday came courtesy junior Danny Conlisk.

Gliding through the 400 while looking like he didn’t have a care in the world, the lanky, serene Wolf passed a runner in the final steps, set a PR, but was out-leaned by La Salle speed demon Peterson Bohannon.

The defending state champ in the 400, Bohannon picked up two more state titles in his final year, also out-leaning Smith in the 200.

That race was decided by .05 of a second.

Senior Ariah Bepler capped the day, and the weekend, by finishing 5th in the high jump, the final event concluded in boys action.

He tied his PR of 6-02 and actually finished in a three-way for third, just two inches off the 6-4 that won a state title.

Bepler dropped to fifth based on which of the three at 6-02 had the most misses, but his finish was high enough to clinch Coupeville’s spot in the top five for the team standings.

His performance, which came on the same weekend cousin Payton Aparicio teamed with Sage Renninger to claim 4th at the girls tennis state tourney, just missed giving Ariah family bragging rights.

Dad Mark Bepler finished 4th in the discus in 1986, and will remain the king of the house, at least in terms of state track meet finishes.

All total, Coupeville picked up 14 medals in 2018, with nine athletes claiming at least one.

Smith led the way with four, Conlisk and Sean Toomey-Stout nabbed two apiece, and Cassidy Moody, Henry Wynn, Roberts, Jean Lund-Olsen, Cameron Toomey-Stout and Bepler each collected one.

 

Complete Saturday results:

 

GIRLS:

100 Hurdles — Lindsey Roberts (2nd) 15.63

Discus — Allison Wenzel (9th) 106-04 *PR*

Javelin — Lauren Bayne (11th) 109-02 *PR*

 

BOYS:

100 — Jacob Smith (2nd) 11.64

200 — Smith (2nd) 22.75

400 — Danny Conlisk (2nd) 49.70 *PR*

4 x 100 Relay — Cameron Toomey-Stout, Smith, Sean Toomey-Stout, Jean Lund-Olsen (7th) 45.16

4 x 400 Relay — Smith, Henry Wynn, S. Toomey-Stout, Conlisk (5th) 3:31.00

Shot Put — Ryan Labrador (16th) 36-04.75

High Jump — Ariah Bepler (5th) 6-02

Long Jump — C. Toomey-Stout (14th) 20-00 *PR*; S. Toomey-Stout (15th) 19-06.50