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James Steller and Co. will circumnavigate Whidbey Island Labor Day weekend to raise money for Coupeville schools.

He’s back at it, but this time he’s bringing some friends along for the adventure.

James Steller, one of Whidbey’s top runners and supporters of local schools, will once again be circumnavigating the Island Labor Day weekend.

But, unlike last year, when he attempted to go solo and put himself in the hospital for a bit, this time out Steller will be joined by “a small group of crazies.”

Neil Rixe, who coaches track and robotics at Coupeville High School, dentist Andrew Wyman and firefighter Greg White, a Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Famer for his old-school high school athletic exploits, will join Steller.

The quartet, who have seven kids among them, all involved in Coupeville schools, will launch “Circumnavigate Whidbey – 2018 – The Traverse” Sept. 1-2.

Each of the two days starts and ends in Coupeville, with the foursome (or more, if others join), running, biking, kayaking and swimming.

It will take 120 miles of biking, 24 miles of running, eight miles of kayak, and one mile of swim for the group to travel around the perimeter of Whidbey.

The event raises money for the Community Foundation for Coupeville Public Schools, a non-profit organization which supports local teachers by funding projects and issues scholarships to graduating seniors.

The Foundation annually puts $25,000 back into local education.

Last year’s inaugural edition of Circumnavigate Whidbey raised $15,000 in donations, but just about wrecked Steller.

A veteran triathlon and marathon athlete, he attempted to run the entire length and found even his well-seasoned body had trouble achieving the feat.

While it might have been a small setback in the moment, Steller was cheered by how the community stepped up with donations, and how, in the end, several other athletes jumped in to try and get him to the finish line.

After a lot of thought, and some personal reflection, he decided he couldn’t let the event die.

“The decision for me to try this again took me until June to finally make up my mind,” Steller said. “I knew that it was great for the Foundation, really bringing in both publicity and significant monies for our year of grants and scholarships.

“I just knew my body couldn’t run it.”

That was when he hit upon an idea to mix things up.

“In my past, I have done both the Ski To Sea and triathlons,” Steller said. “So my wife and I were talking and said, why can’t we do something like that on Whidbey?

“My ultimate ambition is to make it a tradition and have folks who participate do their own fundraising.”

While he has three compatriots lined up, Steller is open to adding other athletes to the mix.

As the founder of the event, he has the logistics and route ready to go, but would encourage anyone wanting to join to commit to raising $500 for the Foundation.

If you’re content to cheer from the sideline and donate to the cause, there’s still something special in it for you.

For every $100 you donate, you get an entry into a raffle for a two-night stay at the Ocean’s Bluff Farm’s guest house.

A small jewel tucked away on the Island, it offers “expansive ocean and Olympic views, farm animals and serenity.”

 

To get an idea of what the guest house looks like, pop over to:

https://www.oceanblufffarm.com/

 

For more info on Circumnavigate Whidbey, or to donate, pop over to:

http://www.4coupevilleschools.org/

 

If you’re interested in joining the “band of crazies” and taking to the road or waters of Whidbey, drop Steller a line at jsteller@hotmail.com.

 

PS — Check out this vintage video about the Foundation from 2011 and see how many future Wolf athletic stars you can ID. I got at least seven.

Gabe Shaw soars to the hoop for a bucket during a middle school game. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Gabe Shaw is a young man of many talents and many interests.

He’s a three-sport athlete who excels in football, basketball and track — though driver’s ed may sideline him during the upcoming hoops season.

Shaw is also a math and science buff who plays the trumpet and makes time to volunteer with the local Boys and Girls Club.

And, if it’s sweet sounds you seek, he has the musical answer.

As long as you’re like him and give big respect to the power of “old-school hip hop from the ’90s.”

Put it all together and you have one of the brightest rising stars on the horizon, a talented student/athlete who makes his debut at Coupeville High School this fall.

When he makes the jump from CMS to CHS, Shaw will kick things off by playing his favorite sport, a perfect way to ease into his new world.

“Football (is my favorite), because you only can succeed if everyone does their job,” he said. “Plus you get to hit people!”

Shaw, who enjoys “staying in shape, and the competition,” has assessed his game and sees positives and areas where he’d like to improve.

“I would like to increase my breakaway speed and decrease my off days,” he admitted, but he’s proud of being a “great team player.”

“I’m not afraid to lead when called upon,” Shaw said.

The young star hails his parents (dad has been a CMS football coach), his brother and his uncle, Mark, along with “all the people who have dedicated the time to coach me.”

One way Shaw will aim to thank those who have helped him is by continuing to work hard, every day, on the field and off.

“I want to keep my grades as high as possible, and contribute to the team(s) everything I can.”

Aiden Burdge heads back up court after nailing a three-point bomb in a middle school hoops game. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

When Aiden Burdge wants to see his greatest opponent, he looks in the mirror.

The Coupeville High School freshman, who follows a path carved by talented older sisters Kylie and Kiara, has a clear focus when he settles in to run a race or shoot a basketball.

Get better, every time out, and push himself to get the most he can out of his abilities.

“My strength as an athlete is my determination to push at a challenge until I overcome it,” Burdge said. “I need to work on discipline and training, because the older I get, the harder I have to push myself to get better.”

While he was a quick, three-ball-shootin’ wonder on the basketball court in middle school, it’s track and field which captivates Burdge.

“My favorite sport is track because it’s a great feeling to fly through the air and I know I can only improve,” he said. “I enjoy the challenge that’s in front of me and I want to get better.”

Track, above most other sports, is all about self-improvement — getting a PR, shaving a few seconds off your best time or picking up a few more inches on a throw.

That chance to compete against himself, and see his progress reflected back, is a big part of why Burdge enjoys the sport so much.

“My goal in my high school sports career is the same as my middle school sports career goal – to beat my own records,” he said.

Burdge is part of a large, tightly-knit family, and he appreciates the support he gets from his three sisters and parents Aaron and Trina.

Whether he’s playing a sport, knocking out tunes on the piano, or spending time with his family, the young Wolf star knows he has their full support and love.

“My parents and my siblings all pushed me to be better and to put forth my best effort,” Burdge said. “And for that I’m grateful.”

Logan Martin skies for a bucket. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Logan Martin is always working.

The son of Coupeville coach Bob Martin, and younger brother of Wolf track and field legend Dalton Martin, he can be found in virtually every photo from off-season SST training at the school.

And, during basketball season, Logan is always the first one to hit the court at halftime or after games, putting up shots and working on his game.

The benefits have begun to show, as Martin has been a key member of successful middle school and AAU hoops squads, mixing a deadly three-point shot with strong work down low.

As he preps for his freshman year at CHS, the quiet, but driven, young baller has his eyes set firmly on the goal.

“I want to make varsity as a freshman, be a four-year varsity (player),” Martin said.

He plans to stick with track and field as well, where he’s a top thrower like his older brother, who captured four state track medals, but is letting go of football as he makes the jump to high school.

While he’s been successful in the track arena, it’s the hardwood life he fully embraces.

“Basketball is my favorite sport, because I feel it’s the sport I’m better at than other sports,” Martin said. “It’s a great way to exercise.

“It can be played by anyone – young or old,” he added. “And you can take a basketball with you practically anywhere and practice anytime.”

When he’s not practicing or playing, Martin is an avid photographer and has shown a canny eye behind the camera.

A series of pics he snapped during the spring high school track season ran in several articles here on Coupeville Sports, with the photos garnering praise for how they captured the inner essence of prep sports.

Whether he’s documenting others, or taking center stage himself, Martin is one to watch.

Playing against Sequim during his 8th grade hoops season, he opened the game by taking, and hitting, the first three shots of the game — a fall-away jumper, a soft fader, then a three-ball from the left side.

The display showcased Martin’s skill, and his versatility, something he’s always working on.

“I think one of my strengths as an athlete is my work ethic,” he said. “I would like to work on having a better attitude when I play.”

Mom Abbie is his biggest fan, faithfully appearing at every game to cheer for her youngest, while dad Bob draws praise for shaping Logan as an athlete.

“My dad (has had a big impact), because he started me in sports and coaches me all day in life and in athletics.”

Chelsea Prescott and her Coupeville Babe Ruth baseball teammates have been given a second chance to advance to regionals, if they can raise money for travel expenses. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

So, the season might not be over just yet.

The Coupeville Babe Ruth baseball squad, which finished 2nd at the state tournament, has been offered a chance to advance to regionals after Columbia Basin bowed out.

The state champs, who edged the Wolves 2-1 in a best-of-three series, won’t have enough players available to make the trip to Portland, Oregon for the July 23-28 event.

The winner at regionals advances to the World Series in Longview, WA Aug. 10-27.

With Columbia Basin down, Coupeville, which posted a 17-2 record this season, is next team up, provided it can finance the trip.

Parents and coaches are scrambling, with just a couple of days to raise funds to cover travel expenses, and launched a GoFundMe Tuesday night after the news broke.

If you’d like to help the Wolves play on, pop over to:

https://www.gofundme.com/5tvx6bs

The players you would be supporting are:

Drake Borden
Johnny Carlson
Scott Hilborn
Gavin Knoblich
Ashton Leland
Xavier Murdy
Daniel Olson
Chelsea Prescott
Cody Roberts
Andrew Score
Sage Sharp
Ulrik Wells
Hawthorne Wolfe