Sarah Wright (John Fisken photos)

   Sarah Wright looks for some room to rumble during a fall ball game Sunday. (John Fisken photos)

Tiffany briscoe

Tiffany Briscoe clamps down on defense.

Ema Smith

It’s up, it’s good for sweet-shooting Ema Smith.

Mikayla Elfrank

Mikayla Elfrank, AKA “Dead-Eye.”


Avalon Renninger waits for a teammate to break free before triggering the play.

Kailey Kellner

   Kailey Kellner revs up to deliver some of that old-fashioned slice ‘n dice she does so well.

Being away from the court didn’t slow down the Wolves.

Bouncing back after a three-week break, the Coupeville High School girls’ basketball fall ball squad earned a split Sunday against strong competition.

Playing at Skagit Valley College, the Wolves drove over Van City (heh heh) in their opening game, then fell to undefeated Meridian in the nightcap.

While it lost to the Trojans, Coupeville rallied nicely in the second half, playing virtually even after the break.

Seven of nine Wolves scored, led by Mikayla Elfrank and Mia Littlejohn, who dropped in four points apiece.

Kailey Kellner and Lindsey Roberts both knocked down a three-point bomb, while Roberts (5) and Elfrank (4) paced CHS on the boards.

Game #1, by contrast, was domination nation for the Wolves, as they easily outpaced a team which came into play Sunday matching them at 2-2 in fall ball.

Using an aggressive 2-3 zone employed by Wolf round-ball guru Sherry Roberts, Coupeville disrupted Van City’s offense and made off with a ton of steals.

Using the thievery to fuel a fast-break offense, the Wolves rained down layups as they raced out to a 24-5 lead at the half and never looked back.

With the ball zipping around and everyone setting up their teammates, CHS spread the stats around.

All nine players who made the trip snagged at least one board, while seven made off with a steal and five garnered an assist.

Kellner scorched the nets for a game-high 14, while Ema Smith continued to impress with her growth on the court, draining 10 points.

Tiffany Briscoe and Kellner each pulled down six boards, with Elfrank, Smith and Roberts snagging five apiece.

Lauren Grove and Sarah Wright each hauled in three caroms, while Avalon Renninger, the lone CHS freshman playing fall ball regularly, never stopped hustling and scrapping until she got dropped off back at her house.

To see more photos from this game (purchases fund college scholarships for CHS student/athletes) pop over to:


Wolf spikers Hope Lodell (left) and Payton Aparicio get ready to kick some fanny. (John Fisken photo)

   Wolf spikers Hope Lodell (left) and Payton Aparicio get ready to kick some fanny. (John Fisken photo)

Inch by inch, sport by sport, Coupeville is taking the 1A Olympic League away from Klahowya.

When things started in the fall of 2014, the Eagles, who have the largest student body of the four league schools by a fair margin, were dominant.

Klahowya won titles in three of four fall sports (volleyball, boys tennis, girls soccer) in that first go-round, with Port Townsend claiming the football crown.

Jump forward a year and Coupeville, which sits at 227 students to Klahowya’s 445, took away the boys tennis title. The other three fall sports saw repeat winners.

Now skip forward to season #3 and the Wolves have held on to boys tennis and snatched volleyball away from the Eagles.

Klahowya just three-peated in girls soccer, but that’s it for the fall, as the football title is going to come down to next week’s clash between Port Townsend and Cascade Christian.

With the Nisqually and Olympic League joining together for gridiron action this year, there’s a (super) solid shot the pigskin kingpin will hail from the other league.

So, that means in three falls, Klahowya’s titles have gone from three to two to one, while Coupeville has gone from zero to one to two — the small tugboat chugging past the flailing ocean liner.

Overall, the Eagles, who led the title chase 5-2 after the 2014-2015 school year, are now barely hanging on to a 9-8 advantage in league championships won heading into basketball season, where the Wolf girls are two-time defending champs.

Chimacum has four titles (two each in boys basketball and softball) while Port Townsend, the second-largest league school, has just two football crowns and will need a colossal upset to earn #3 this coming Saturday.

With tennis done playing league matches, and the other three sports days away from heading to the postseason, Coupeville and Klahowya are tied with 16 varsity wins across the four fall sports.

Port Townsend has seven and Chimacum four.

Rain cost Coupeville the chance to be sitting alone at the top in the victory race. The final two league tennis matches were cancelled and not rescheduled, as the Wolves (4-0) had already clinched the title.

CHS has six more league games (1 soccer, 2 football, 3 volleyball) left to build their fall win total, while Klahowya has seven (2 soccer, 2 FB, 2 VB).

Standings through Sunday:

Olympic/Nisqually League football:

School League Overall
Cascade Christian 5-0 8-0
Port Townsend 5-0 6-2
Charles Wright 3-2 4-4
Klahowya 3-2 5-3
Bellevue Christian 2-3 2-6
Vashon Island 1-4 1-7
Chimacum 0-5 1-7

Olympic League volleyball:

School League Overall
Chimacum 3-3 6-7
Klahowya 3-3 4-7
Port Townsend 0-6 2-10

Olympic League girls soccer:

School League Overall
Klahowya 7-0 10-1-2
COUPEVILLE 5-3 7-6-1
Port Townsend 2-6 3-10-1
Chimacum 1-6 2-7-1

Olympic League boys tennis:

School League Overall
Klahowya 3-2 4-8
Chimacum 0-5 0-12

A crabby good time!!

"My name's Ralph, I enjoy long sunsets, long walks on the beach and ... wait, you're gonna do WHAT with me now?!?!?" (John Fisken photos)

   “My name’s Ralph, I enjoy sunsets, long walks on the beach and … wait, you’re gonna do WHAT with me now?!?!?” (John Fisken photo)

(Ema Smith photo)

“Ralph! Ralph!! Speak to me, Ralph!!!!!” (Ema Smith photo)

"Get in my belly!!" (ES)

“Get in my belly, Ralph!!” (ES)

Lauren Rose

Lauren Rose, three-sport legend, five-star cupcake chef. (JF)

Sarah Wright (ES)

Wolf sophomore sensation Sarah Wright sacrifices for the cause. (ES)

Bob Martin (JF)

   As a former Marine Corps Drill Sergeant, CMS coach Bob Martin is not sure about this whole “hugging” thing. (JF)

Scout and Chris (ES)

Freshman phenom Scout Smith hangs out with proud papa Chris Smith. (ES)

Ema Smith comes out from behind the camera to entertain the crowd. (JF)

Ema Smith comes out from behind the camera to entertain the crowd. (JF)

ginsu (JF)

   Smith is joined by partner in shenanigans Lindsey Roberts. Be afraid. Very afraid. (JF)

Willie Smith (JF)

   Coupeville High School AD Willie Smith proposes a game of “Seven Minutes in Heaven” — with these cupcakes. (JF)

We went full-bore.

Saturday night brought the biggest athletic fundraiser our town has each year — the famous Crab Feed and auction extravaganza — and we had not one, but two paparazzi on the scene.

Capturing images of the Coupeville Booster Club’s shindig were John Fisken and Ema Smith, and the photos above are courtesy them.

The captions? That’s all me, and thank you for asking, I do amuse myself.

PS — To see all the photos, pop over to:


Since it’s a special event, the copyright restrictions are off and you’ll be able to right click and save on any pics at the link.

Hall o' Fame inductee Suzy Zustiak is joined by Zach Hauser (top) and a vintage Chuck Hardee.

   Hall o’ Fame inductee Suzy Zustiak is joined by Zach Hauser (top) and a vintage Chuck Hardee.

Unsung warriors.

The three athletes who comprise the 70th class inducted into the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame all made a huge impact during their playing careers, while maybe not always getting their due credit.

Whether it was because they played at a time when other stars pulled a lot of the spotlight away, or their teams were still works in progress, this top-notch trio should have gotten more credit in the heat of the moment.

So, we’re here to fix that and welcome all three into these hallowed digital walls — where a (soft, soothing) spotlight is locked on them 24/7.

After today, you’ll find Suzy Zustiak, Chuck Hardee and Zach Hauser living up at the top of the blog under the Legends tab, which is where they always deserved to reside.

Our first inductee, Zustiak, was a power-hitting softball sensation who could play any position you asked.

She just missed the renaissance in the CHS diamond program, graduating in 2000, two seasons before the Wolves came within an inning of winning a state title.

But it’s safe to say Coupeville wouldn’t have been in position to do what they did in 2002 without trailblazers like Zustiak, which is why her former coach, fellow Hall o’ Famer Randy Dickson, nominated her for induction.

“Just as solid as they come,” he said. “Suzy was one of our building blocks.”

Playing at a time before the Wolves went from being a slow-pitch to a fast-pitch program, Zustiak, along with teammates like April Ellsworth-Bagby, helped CHS transition from losing 40+ straight games to making the playoffs in their senior season.

Winning eight of its final nine regular season games, including huge victories over Archbishop Thomas Murphy, Lynden and La Conner, Coupeville finished 2nd in league in 2000, earning the first tri-district playoff berth in program history.

Zustiak was key to the surge, bashing home runs and saving the La Conner game with a sliding catch that made even her low-key coach jump out of his shoes.

Our second inductee, Hauser, was also a diamond dandy, a hard-chuckin’, hard-hittin’ pitcher/first baseman who put together a dynamic CHS career, then played several successful seasons of college ball.

With the Wolves, he was an All-League hurler in 2008, at a time when CHS was in the 1A/2A Cascade Conference, and was invited to play in the All-State feeder games.

When he wasn’t blitzing foes from the mound, Hauser was a hit machine at the plate, one of the most consistent batters to rep the red and black.

He tied for the team lead in hits as a senior after narrowly missing the top rung as a junior, finishing an inch or two behind James Smith in producing base knocks.

After high school came a solid two-year run at Big Bend Community College, where he was a successful starting pitcher as a freshman, before transforming into a lights-out closer in year two.

Our final inductee, Hardee, comes from a different generation than his two companions.

A product of the party-hearty “Dazed and Confused” ’70s, he was a three-sport athlete (football, basketball, tennis) who, by his own recollection, is not quite sure how he always stayed in school.

The night life didn’t slow him down however, as he was a key running back on a Wolf gridiron squad which shocked the nation (well, at least the state) in his senior season.

Coming off of a one-win year, the Wolves outscored foes 123-64 in ’74, winning one of only two football league titles in modern CHS history.

Piling up more than 2,000 yards on the ground, Coupeville lost only once in the regular season (an early non-conference game) and carried the good times all the way to the state playoffs, a place the Wolf gridiron warriors hadn’t seen since the ’30s.

Once Hardee finished his high school athletic days, he made one of the biggest transitions any former Wolf athlete ever has.

The self-proclaimed “party boy” became a cop, with 20 years in law enforcement, now owns three stores in Spokane and got deep into politics — becoming a committed conservative who, most recently, put in countless hours as part of the Washington state support crew for the Ted Cruz presidential campaign.

Still a die-hard Wolf, even if he no longer lives on Whidbey, Hardee reminisced about his high school days for me when I badgered him into being in my “Where are they now?” series on former CHS greats.

“It’s funny, when I look back at who I was in high school — immature, a party boy, I’m sure I would have been voted most likely to get nowhere,” Hardee said. “However, I would bet today, many would be very surprised at where I ended up.”

Today, that journey takes a side trip to the Hall o’ Fame.

John McClarin teamed with Joseph Wedekind to win the doubles crown at Saturday's 1A Olympic League tourney. (John Fisken photos)

   John McClarin teamed with Joseph Wedekind to win the doubles crown at Saturday’s 1A Olympic League tourney. (John Fisken photos)

Nick Etzell finished third in singles play, earning a trip to districts.

Nick Etzell finished third in singles play, earning a trip to districts.

The Elite Eight. (Photo courtesy Ken Stange)

The Elite Eight. (Photo courtesy Ken Stange)

Ken Stange is going to have a lot of company.

When the Coupeville High School boys’ tennis coach heads to Tacoma next Wednesday for districts, he’ll be taking along the biggest contingent of players in his decade-plus career at the school.

Sweeping the top three doubles slots and pulling off a pair of upsets on the singles side Saturday at the 1A Olympic League tournament, the Wolves qualified eight players to advance.

Coupeville, the regular season champs, accounted for two-thirds of the players who punched their tickets, with only one Wolf, freshman Mason Grove, failing to advance.

Grove did win a match, though, as the CHS netters went a combined 9-6 on the day.

The Wolves finished 1-2-3 in doubles and claimed third and fourth in singles, while Klahowya took the top two singles slots and fourth in doubles.

Chimacum and Port Townsend failed to advance any players.

Complete results:


Nick Etzell (3rd)

Beat Spencer Winters (K) 9-7
Lost to Taylor Fite (K) 6-0, 6-0
Beat Jakobi Baumann (CP) 4-6, 6-2, 12-10

Jakobi Baumann (4th)

Beat Isaiah Treibel (PT) 8-2
Lost to Caden Haga (K) 6-0, 6-1
Lost to Etzell (CP) 4-6, 6-2, 12-10

Mason Grove (DNP)

Beat Zackery Kienle (PT) 8-0
Lost to Fite (K) 8-0


John McClarin/Joseph Wedekind (1st)

Beat Grey Rische/Jimmy Myers (CP) 6-4, 6-2
Beat William Nelson/Joey Lippo (CP) 6-3, 2-6, 7-5

William Nelson/Joey Lippo (2nd)

Beat Kyle Schoening/Parker Short (K) 6-0, 6-2
Lost to McClarin/Wedekind (CP) 6-3, 2-6, 7-5

Grey Rische/Jimmy Myers (3rd)

Beat Ben Cook/Joe Bowman (K) 8-2
Lost to McClarin/Wedekind (CP) 6-4, 6-2
Beat Schoening/Short (K) 7-6(8-6), 7-5