After the pandemic stole away the 2020 season, Catherine Lhamon is one of the few Coupeville High School track stars with prior experience. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

From young guns to old pros.

Thanks to the pandemic, the last time Coupeville High School track and field athletes competed was nearly two years ago.

Way back on May 25, 2019, as the state tournament wrapped up, Ja’Kenya Hoskins and Logan Martin were freshmen.

Now, after a lost spring and a long wait, the duo are juniors and have gone from supporting crew to frontline stars.

Hoskins is the only active Wolf track athlete to have a state meet medal — she was part of a 4 x 200 relay squad which finished 3rd in Cheney in ’19.

Now, with all of her former relay mates having graduated, she’s likely to be running sprints and doing jumps, said longtime CHS track guru Randy King.

Ja’Kenya is back and eager to begin competing again!”

Martin, who spent many of the 650 days between track seasons working on his skills, is primed to have a breakout as a thrower.

Older brother Dalton, who won four state meet medals during his CHS days, holds the school discus record.

Now lil’ bro is coming for big bro’s best marks.

Logan has worked both last spring and this fall and winter to improve his throws, and looks destined to do extremely well,” King said.

“The discus is jumping out of his hand and he appears to have mastered a new technique in the shot put,” he added. “I expect his discus throws to have improved by over 30 feet since his freshman year.”

Logan Martin is coming for all of older brother Dalton’s throwing records.

Hoskins and Martin lead a squad which has 24 athletes as it preps for its debut in the Northwest 2B/1B League.

In this pared-down season, Coupeville is set to host the season-opening meet March 4, and the season-closing rumble April 3.

Other returning athletes include Megan Behan and Aurora Cernick in the throwing events, and cross country state meet vet Catherine Lhamon in the distance races.

On the boys side of things, the move from 1A to 2B pushes soccer from spring to fall, allowing Wolf booters to join the track squad.

That has netted the squad at least three cross country-hardened runners in Sam Wynn, Mitchell Hall, and Aiden Wilson.

“We are excited to have them out,” King said. “Kudos to Coach (Elizabeth) Bitting and Coach (Jon) Gabelein for their work with our distance runners this school year.

“They have been training for quite a while and are hitting the track season “in stride”!”

With the missed season, a fair amount of the team is made up of newcomers, some of whom intended to compete last spring before COVID shut down Washington state schools.

On the girls side, Maylin Steele (jumps and javelin), Erica McGrath (javelin), Camryn Clark (hurdles and sprints), and Cristine McGrath (jumps and hurdles) are all brand new to high school track.

The most-promising youngster may be basketball brawler Carolyn Lhamon, a sophomore who was a top-notch track performer in middle school.

Carolyn looks great in the shot put for us, and can be counted on to give a gutsy performance in the 400-meter run,” King said.

Freshman Tate Wyman and Josh Guay, sophomore Dominic Coffman, Alex Murdy, and Reiley Araceley, and senior Ben Smith are all expected to have impact for the boys team, as well.

During this pandemic spring, Coupeville will compete against league mates, and won’t have a chance to attend any invitationals or large meets as in years past.

That means the Wolves will mainly vie with La Conner, Concrete, Mount Vernon Christian, and Friday Harbor.

Darrington doesn’t field a track team, while Orcas Island is skipping spring sports and waiting until its students are back in class before competing.

MVC track, especially on the boys side of things, is a state-title-winning powerhouse in 1B, while La Conner is always tough.

But for King, who retired as a teacher last year but stayed on as the school’s longest-tenured coach, the chance to get back out to the track oval is about what his athletes can accomplish, not who they have to face.

“They have been a fun group to work with!,” he said. “Our team is young, so it will be great to see how our season develops.”

Makana Stone brings the ball up court Saturday in England. (Photo property Loughborough University)

It’s an effective formula.

Makana Stone plus a basketball usually equals a win.

When the Coupeville High School grad is in the lineup for Loughborough University this season, the Riders are 7-1.

Without her, 0-2.

So, it was a good thing Stone was back in uniform Saturday, and back to layin’ down a beatin’ on her opponents.

Going off for 15 points, 11 rebounds, three steals, and two assists, the former Wolf helped spark Loughborough to a wire-to-wire win over host CoLA Southwark.

The 81-55 victory keeps the Riders (7-3) in second-place in England’s National Basketball League, within shouting distance of frontrunner Ipswich (10-1), whose only loss came on a last-second Stone bucket earlier this season.

Saturday, Loughborough jumped on CoLA Southwark early, exploding to a 27-12 lead after one quarter of play.

From there, the Riders got methodical, ringing up 18-11, 18-17, and 18-15 advantages across the remaining three quarters of play.

Loughborough spread out its attack, with Molly James pumping in a game-high 18 points to lead four Riders into double-digits scoring.

Stone added her 15, while Robyn Ainge banked in 13, and Katie Januszewska rounded out the attack with 12 points and 11 boards.

Coupeville’s progeny has dropped a double-double in every game she’s played overseas, and now sits with 136 points, 121 rebounds, 17 assists, and 25 steals on the season.

Stone and Co. return to action next Saturday, March 6, when they face off with Worcester.

Mallory Kortuem (in red jacket) celebrates her CHS soccer Senior Night with mom Heather, dad Alex, and big sis Miranda. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

The news is encouraging.

Alex Kortuem, father of three Coupeville grads, and a longtime general contractor on Whidbey Island, continues to show progress as he recovers from a hemorrhagic stroke.

The 45-year-old Wolf dad, a frequent presence at events featuring children KeeganMiranda, and Mallory, suffered a substantial brain bleed in late January.

After emergency brain surgery, he spent five days on a ventilator, and 10 days total in an ICU.

While he has no feeling on the left side of his body, Kortuem has responded well to inpatient rehab, said sister Hilary Lott.

Alex has been learning a lot in therapies,” she said. “He is working on learning to get dressed and showering; with no movement yet in his left arm he is still needing a lot of assist with this.

“He can now move from sitting in his bed to a wheelchair with a therapist guarding him only. This is great progress, as he started with two-person assist and was not able to sit on his own.

“He also can stand with help and is moving his left leg forward on his own. Alex is making gains daily and the therapy team is so impressed with his work ethic.

“Not a surprise for all that know him.”

In the most recent update on his GoFundMe page, wife Heather Kortuem expressed the family’s joy in finding out Alex should be able to return home in less than a week.

“We are in countdown mode!,” she said.

“This weekend, several members of Alex’s climbing family will be helping the kids and I prepare the house for a safe homecoming; including building a ramp, mounting some grab bars, and moving furniture to accommodate his latest set of wheels.

“I have no words to express what your support has done for our peace of mind. Just knowing we have a safety net is priceless and has let Alex focus all his energy on rehab.”


To aid the Kortuem family, pop over to:

Fundraiser for Heather Kortuem by Hilary Lott : Alex Kortuem’s Stroke Recovery (gofundme.com)

After COVID-19 stole a season from him, Hawthorne Wolfe returns to the baseball diamond. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

New coach, new league, new schedule.

Everything is a little different for the Coupeville High School baseball squad as it gets ready for its first games since 2019.

The pandemic erased prep sports last spring, then coach Chris Smith departed Whidbey Island after the graduation of his youngest child.

Now, Will Thayer steps into the dugout as the head man and his first Wolf team is scheduled to play a pared-down, conference-only slate of games.

That will give Coupeville a strong introduction to their new foes, at least, as CHS moves from 1A to 2B, returning to its old stomping grounds in the Northwest 2B/1B League.

While the schedule seems to shift each day, as of Thursday the Wolves are set to play fellow 2B schools Friday Harbor (4) and La Conner (3) the most, with a single game against 1B rivals Darrington, Mount Vernon Christian, and Concrete.

Orcas Island (1B) opted not to play spring sports as long as its students were not back in class, while Chimacum (2B) is slated to join the NWL for the 2021-2022 school year.

Having a chance to go toe-to-toe with Friday Harbor should give Thayer and his crew a solid idea of where they fit in the new hierarchy.

“Perennial power in this league seems to be Friday Harbor; they are a very well-coached team and consistently at the top of their league,” Thayer said. “This is our first year in this league and we will have to learn the teams on the fly.

“It is kind of nice being a first-year coach in a new league so I can learn with the team,” he added. “We will be able to measure ourselves against our league for the first time together.”

With the unexpected gap year, the Wolf roster has seen a fairly large turnover.

Of the 15 players listed on the roster posted on the league web site, only four have ever played in a CHS baseball game — senior Daniel Olson and juniors Hawthorne Wolfe, Cody Roberts, and Sage Sharp.

Olson and Roberts provide a one-two combo at the top of the pitching staff, while Wolfe is back to hit leadoff and prowl center field.

Cody Roberts joins Daniel Olson at the top of Coupeville’s pitching rotation. (Photo by Karen Carlson)

Three sort-of newcomers, all with plenty of hardball experience, are expected to have immediate impacts, as well.

Xavier Murdy, a junior, joins Olson and Wolfe as a team captain, while sophomores Scott Hilborn and Jonathan Valenzuela will start at shortstop and third base, respectively.

“We are anchored on the left side of our infield,” Thayer said. “This will be their first year of high school baseball and they have proven themselves ready to rise to the occasion and lead us in to the future.”

Murdy spent his freshman year on the soccer pitch, but with the move from 1A to 2B, boys soccer slides from spring to fall.

Rounding out the preseason roster are junior Miles Davidson, sophomore Coen Killian, and a pack of freshmen — Nathan Ginnings, Cole White, Nick Guay, Andrew Williams, Seth Woollet, and Zane Oldenstadt.

It’s a group which will have to learn on the fly.

“Just coming together as a team, as we haven’t had much time to bond as a tight group; but every practice we become a tighter group,” Thayer said.

“We are learning from each other as we go in a very short time.”

However the lineup eventually breaks down, Thayer is excited to get on the field.

“Our goal for this season is to compete for a league title,” he said. “Since there is no state tournament this year, our team goal is league title, and let everyone know that we are a state-worthy team next season.

“We are a very young team so our future is very exciting, and I believe we will be in contention for league and state for the foreseeable future.”

Coupeville High School girls basketball guru Scott Fox is among the coaches who will work with Wolf middle school athletes as they participate in intramurals during the pandemic. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Sports, uh, find a way.

While Coupeville Middle School athletes will not compete against other schools during the 2020-2021 school year, they will get a chance to stay active.

Athletic Director Willie Smith has pulled together a plan under which CMS students in grades 6-8 will be offered a variety of intramural options, with a mix of clinics and games.

“We are trying to offer our middle school students an opportunity to experience/participate in sports that are offered by us or in our community,” Smith said.

“Our high school coaches have partnered with either our middle school coaches or are working with our community programs to provide a clinic type atmosphere with some games thrown in each week.”

In some sports where CMS does not normally field a program, the school is working with groups such as Central Whidbey Little League or the Central Whidbey Soccer Club.

There is no cost, and students can participate in more than one sport in a season.

The plan calls for each sport to run 2-3 days a week during its season, with one day devoted to games.

“It is a great opportunity for our middle school students to get out and get exposed to some new, fun activities that in a regular year, they may not get to,” Smith said. “We really want this to be successful and have great attendance.”


The plan (with coach contacts):


(March 1-April 3)

Cross Country — Elizabeth Bitting — ebitting@coupeville.k12.wa.us — (**XC starts March 8**)

Flag Football (coed) — Marcus Carr — mcarr@coupeville.k12.wa.us

Girls/Boys Soccer — John Fowler — vicepresident@centralwhidbeysoccer.com

Volleyball — Cory Whitmore — cwhitmore@coupeville.k12.wa.us


(April 5-May 8)

Boys Basketball — Brad Sherman (bsherman@coupeville.k12.wa.us) and Jon Roberts (jroberts@coupeville.k12.wa.us)

Girls Basketball — Scott Fox (sfox@coupeville.k12.wa.us) and Fred Farris (ffarris@coupeville.k12.wa.us)


(May 10-June 12)

Baseball and Softball — Gordon McMillan — centralwhidbeyll@gmail.com

Track and Field — Elizabeth Bitting — ebitting@coupeville.k12.wa.us