Archive for the ‘A freakin’ American hero’ Category

Lindsey Roberts is one track season away from lettering 12 times as a high school athlete. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

They were there, every season, without fail.

As we head into spring sports, 22 Coupeville High School athletes – 13 girls and nine boys – are set to complete a run as three-sport athletes during the 2018-2019 school year.

The list is headlined by Lindsey Roberts, the only Wolf senior to complete a perfect 12 for 12 career, with four seasons of soccer, basketball and track to her credit.

That’s down from last year, when Allison Wenzel, Hunter Downes, Cameron Toomey-Stout, and Hunter Smith graduated after playing a sport in every possible season of their high school days.

Roberts, though, can accomplish something none of those four did.

Barring a major injury or a sudden desire to go on a walkabout mid-season, Forrest Gump-style, she’ll finish as a 12-time letter winner, as well.

The last Wolf to do that was Hailey Hammer, who graduated in 2015.

At a small school like CHS, putting bodies in uniforms is a major need.

Those who are brave, determined, able to avoid serious injury, and willing to play basketball, Coupeville’s lone winter sport, are the backbone of the school’s athletic program.

In the seven years of writing Coupeville Sports, I’ve monitored the numbers, and we’re currently on our best streak, having hit 22 or more three-sport athletes for the third straight year.

Nine freshmen accomplished the feat in 2018-2019, while seven juniors and four sophomores matched them.

After a year in which four seniors capped a 12 for 12 career run, it was a little odd that only two 12th graders, Roberts and Dane Lucero, went 3 for 3 this school year.


The yearly numbers:

2012-2013 — (18 three-sport athletes)
2013-2014 — (23)
2014-2015 — (20)
2015-2016 — (17)
2016-2017 — (23)
2017-2018 — (22)
2018-2019 — (22)


Coupeville’s three-sport athletes for 2018-2019, with grade and sports: 

Andrew Aparicio – 9 – tennis, basketball, soccer
Mollie Bailey – 10 – soccer, basketball, softball
Miles Davidson – 9 – football, basketball, soccer
Mason Grove – 11 – tennis, basketball, baseball
Gavin Knoblich – 11 – football, basketball, baseball
Ivy Leedy – 10 – volleyball, basketball, softball
Lily Leedy – 9 – soccer, basketball, softball
Dane Lucero – 12 – football, basketball, baseball
Alana Mihill – 9 – cross country, basketball, track
Abby Mulholland – 9 – volleyball, basketball, tennis
Xavier Murdy – 9 – football, basketball, soccer
Chelsea Prescott – 10 – volleyball, basketball, softball
Avalon Renninger – 11 – soccer, basketball, tennis
Lindsey Roberts – 12 – soccer, basketball, track
Chris Ruck – 11 – cross country, basketball, track
Audrianna Shaw – 9 – soccer, basketball, softball
Ben Smith – 10 – football, basketball, soccer
Scout Smith – 11 – volleyball, basketball, softball
Sean Toomey-Stout – 11 – football, basketball, track
Kylie Van Velkinburgh – 9 – volleyball, basketball, softball
Izzy Wells – 9 – volleyball, basketball, softball
Tia Wurzrainer – 11 – soccer, basketball, tennis

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What do I want to see in 2019? I want to see every Coupeville athlete show the heart Alita Blouin does. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

How best to end 2018? With a story.

It’s one small moment from a year, but it says so much, without a word being spoken aloud.

To set the scene, I will say this — in the world of high school and middle school sports, nothing, and I mean NOTHING, matters as much as heart.

I’m not naive. Talent is huge. Top-level facilities, inspiring coaches, access to quality equipment, all obviously have a major impact.

Camped here in the middle of a rock, which sits in the water, quite a distance from the opportunities enjoyed by big city schools, or Richie Rich private schools, or the combination of both, provides a major hurdle for Coupeville teams and athletes.

It is what it is.

You can complain all day, or you can get working.

And that is where heart comes in.

The best athletes I have witnessed come through Cow Town, the most-successful teams, all have something in common – they do not quit, they do not stop working, and they believe, down deep in their soul, that there is absolutely, positively NO REASON they can’t be the best.

Marlene Grasser to Makana Stone, Bill Riley to Hunter Smith, heart, above all else.

And this is where we come to my year-capping story.

Over the past couple of years, I have been very impressed with the Wolf female athletes who are currently in 8th grade at Coupeville Middle School.

There is talent, desire, and heart to be found in their male counterparts, but this group, which has come up playing together, is something different.

From Maddie Georges to Gwen Gustafson to Hayley Fiedler and beyond, they have an air about them very similar to what the Coupeville High School girls of the late ’90s and early 2000’s had.

That time period is the most successful in CHS female athletic history, and I believe this current crop, especially mixed with the class or two right above and below them, is primed to make their own history.

And one moment, a small, but significant moment during warm-ups, not even in a game, has sealed the deal for me.

Of all the CMS female athletes, Alita “The Assassin” Blouin is the one, who, for me, towers above the field.

She’s not very tall, maybe, but she is quick and, this is where it gets good, every time I have seen her play volleyball or basketball, she carries herself with the look of a young woman who fully intends to beat you, and beat you badly.

Off the court, all smiles, as friendly as anyone, but on the court, she looks like she wants to rip her opponent’s knees off and feed them through a wood chipper.

To which I say, YES.

It’s about dang time a Coupeville athlete didn’t back down at the sight of a fancy uniform, time they expected to win, and win because they had put in the hard work to get there.

Which brings us to our moment.

As CMS went through warm-ups before a volleyball match this season, the 8th grade team started to run laps around the floor.

Blouin, a team captain, was out in front, serious and locked-in. No coasting for her.

At which point, one of her teammates, Lucy Tenore, who is considerably taller than Blouin and has a much-longer stride, started to try and pass her friend.

Blouin would not let it happen.

Tenore, smile growing bigger and bigger, tried a second time, then a third, while Blouin refused to give in.

Legs pumping, elbows at alert, Blouin fended off Tenore at every turn, using three steps to cover the ground Tenore covered in one, all the while with her face locked in a death mask of concentration.

Tenore, fully laughing at this point, finally relented, only to see Blouin kick it up a notch to a sprinter’s run to finish the final curve, one eye looking over her shoulder just in case anyone else wanted to get foolish.

During the match, the duo dazzled, with Blouin popping perfect set-ups for Tenore to reach up and smash. With each winner, they hugged, smacked hands and smiled.

After the match, the two hung out together in the stands, half-sprawled across each other as only teen girls can pull off, laughing and talking, the best of friends.

But the statement had been made — no one, no where, no how, is going to get past Alita Blouin, a relatively small girl with a heart the size of the universe.

I doubt very many people noticed the moment. And if they did, they might not have thought anything of it at the time.

But in that moment, everything I hope to see as a grizzled sports writer, was on display.

As we head into 2019, what do I want for Coupeville sports?

I want every single Wolf athlete, high school and middle school, to attack the day like Alita Blouin does.

Do that, and there’s greatness ahead.

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Marlene Grasser was named as the best athlete in CHS history by her peers in a social media poll, and it wasn’t close. (Photo courtesy Grasser family)

There can only be one!

Or maybe three or four, if we’re being realistic.

Earlier this week, I put out a call on Facebook and Twitter, hailing all current and former Coupeville High School athletes with a simple, yet deeply-weighted, question.

Who is the best Wolf athlete you played with, and why?

Having dug myself out from under the deluge of responses, it’s become obvious there are strong feelings out there, and strong pockets of support for a couple of former Cow Town stars in particular.

Now remember, this was a randomly conducted quiz, and, if you weren’t on social media, you probably didn’t see it.

Modern-day athletes, and by that I mean, from the ’80s on, tended to draw the most support.

If we put more time and effort into this endeavor, and made sure the whole fan base of Wolf Nation was involved, I have no doubt we’d see more mentions of athletes from, say, the ’50s or the ’70s.

No one is claiming me asking a question on social media was going to give us a definitive answer. So, take it for what it was meant to be, a jumping-off point for debate and discussion.

In the end, 60 athletes, including a couple who are still active at CHS, were named.

That’s if we exclude football legends Clay Hughes and James Smith, who made a pretty good plea that they should be recognized for their pre-high school days.

“In 2001 when James and I were the water boys for the high school football team, I personally think that was one of the best performances Coupeville athletics has ever seen,” Hughes said.

“Check the team photo for that year … we are clear standouts.”

“Good luck trying to find any member of that team that was even remotely parched,” Smith said, nodding vigorously in agreement. “Not a single team has been that well hydrated since!”

CHS has a long and glorious history of water boys, but even Kyle King, who went on to win five state titles in track after his days of manning the H2O, bows in the direction of Hughes and Smith.

“I was a water boy back in 1998 with Bryan Sherman and Michael Bagby; we were pretty good … but being down there first hand I can’t say we compared to James and Clay.

“Hope this helps to give them the recognition they deserve!”

Once we got past the water boy detour, there was the vote for movie star Teen Wolf, and then along came urban legend Steven Dozier, the only one brave enough to ask if he could vote for himself.

He could, and he did, causing longtime friend (and honest to goodness hoops sensation back in the day) Allen Black to arch an eyebrow and snort.

But, when all was said and done, here’s how it broke down:


One vote:

Mike Bagby

Natasha Bamberger:

(“Her natural talent was stunning. She would lap people in a 3200. And it was effortless to her.” – Molly McPherson)

Novi Barron
Danny Conlisk
Matt Cross
Steven Dozier
Randy Duggan
Ashley Ellsworth-Bagby
David Ford
Tony Ford
Corinne Gaddis
Joy Hack
Kevin Hack

Hailey Hammer:

“Always such an amazing and supportive teammate” – Breeanna Messner

Matt Helm:

“I think he was more athletic than he seemed.” – Noah Roehl

Wiley Hesselgrave:

“Great team leader.” – Luke Merriman

Dianne Jacobsen
Brianne King
Tyler King
Steve Konek
Casey Larson

Jae LeVine:

“Cause she’s the coolest bean there is!” – Payton Wilson

Abraham Leyva:

“You goal-scoring machine!” – Jeremiah Pace

Jean Lund-Olsen
Tina Lyness

Breeanna Messner:

“Who doesn’t love her?” – Hailey Hammer

Amy Mouw
Sarah Mouw

Mitch Pelroy:

“Fast man!” – Ron Bodamer

TJ Rickner
Bill Riley
Lindsey Roberts

Noah Roehl:

“I was never blessed to get to play with him but I would nominate him for being an all-around awesome football player.” – Virgil Roehl

Virgil Roehl
Brad Sherman
Ian Smith
Megan Smith
Jeff Stone
Nick Streubel
Jim Syreen

Valen Trujillo:

“She always gave 100%, had a great attitude, was an amazing leader, and was kind to everyone” – Mikayla Elfrank

Kara Warder
Marlys West
Rich Wilson


Two votes:

Todd Brown:

“An amazing running back.” – Virgil Roehl

Linda Cheshier:

“Was such an impressive natural athlete to me! She rocked it in softball and basketball.” – Joli (Smith) Bartell

Corey Cross
Gavin Keohane
Pete Petrov
Todd Smith

Sean Toomey-Stout:

“Multiple defensive, and offensive plays executed all-around, including multiple TD’s. Hits seriously hard.” – Ben Smith

“All-around a big influence to the entire team to put in max effort. Always puts in his best effort every down.” – Dawson Houston

Jake Tumblin:

“Amazing leader and all-around athlete” – Korbin Korzan

Greg White


Three votes:

Ian Barron:

“Because … stats.” – Michael Meyer

Yashmeen Knox:

“I never played with her, but I watched her growing up play while my parents coached her! I idolized her not only on, but off the court too. I wanted to be just like her growing up. She was a rock star!” – Megan Smith

Hunter Smith:

“The combination of pure athleticism, leadership, and optimism was contagious. The work that guy put in when no one was watching was unprecedented. Phenomenal athlete, and an even better friend.” – Nick Etzell

“He is a great leader and an amazing athlete! Even if we were down 45 points, or a few runs, he always had a comeback mentality!” – Jacob Zettle

“Do I even have to explain? IT’S HUNTER SMITH!” – Alex Jimenez

Joli Smith:

“For all-around grace and style in multiple sports.” – Virgil Roehl


Four votes:

Makana Stone:

“By far one of the most supportive people on the team. She has always been a super-encouraging person and was always excited for you no matter the result. Just all-around amazing.” – Sylvia Hurlburt

“Ever since I stepped foot on the court I always felt welcome due to her and she made the game so much fun. Playing next to her for three years and being a co-captain with her for one of those years definitely showed me how to be a leader. She always brought such an amazing touch to that gym and team; she made us a family and it felt as if we were united. I will forever look up to her as a leader and an athlete.” – Kailey Kellner

Emily Vracin:

Great leader, positive attitude and stats. All-around awesome player.” – Gina (Dozier) Slowik


Nine votes:

Marlene Grasser:

“Best on the court and off.” – David Ford

“Best in every sport she did. Natural talent.” – Georgie Smith

“She was kind, supportive and an amazing athlete!” – Aleshia (McFadyen) Mitten

“She was pretty much my hero.” – Emily (Vracin) Kosderka

“She was my cousin and best role model ever; I’m blessed to have been able to play by her side. She also gave the BEST high fives ever!” – Shannon (Sherman) Martin

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Noah Roehl (right) swaps gossip with his former football coach, Ron Bagby. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

The question seems fairly simple, but the answer can be fairly complex.

Who is the best Wolf athlete you played with and why?

I posed that query to current and former Coupeville High School athletes on Facebook and Twitter earlier this week, and the responses came from all directions.

As the tsunami ebbs, my plan is to produce an article Sunday which will encompass as many answers as possible.

But let’s toss an early grenade on the fire.

Noah Roehl grew up smack-dab in the middle of Wolf Nation, hanging out with dad Tom as he coached high school football and youth basketball.

Later, Noah went on to be an accomplished athlete in his own right, before launching successful alumni basketball and football tournaments to raise scholarship money and honor his late father.

As someone who was on the inside for three decades, he is uniquely qualified to issue his appraisals of his fellow Wolf athletes.

While he’s too young to have seen CHS greats of the past like Jeff Stone or Judy Marti, and adult life kept him from having a front-row seat to recent supernovas such as Makana Stone and Hunter Smith, Roehl comes out swinging in his appraisals.

David … how dare you ask us to comment in such a subjective way.

We hate/love following our favorite sports blog and would never dare to respond to such a arbitrary ranking.

How do you rank Jordan vs LeBron … are they going to face off in a one vs one game? I only dream of it.

I will definitely participate in your ranking, lol.

Based just on athleticism — strength, fitness, agility and the ability to synchronize movements to accomplish a feat better than others … not necessarily leadership or other aspects that can make a team player great.

From the 30+ years I was plugged in:


1) Ian Barron
2) Mike Bagby
3) Peter Petrov
4) Gavin Keohane
5) Todd Brown
6) Greg White
7) Ford brothers – Tony and David (before my time but heard stories)
8) Ian Smith
9) Tyler King
10) Rich Wilson
11) Casey Larson
12) Todd Smith


1) Novi Barron
2) Ashley Ellsworth-Bagby
3) Marlene Grasser (before my time but heard stories)
4) Yashmeen Knox
5) Tina Lyness
6) Brianne King
7) Joli Smith
8) Emily Vracin
9) Amy Mouw
10) Corinne Gaddis
11) Kara Warder
12) Megan Smith

Some athletes only played one sport, but, in my opinion, their athleticism would have transferred to other sports easily, had they chosen to play.

Sorry, not sorry, if you didn’t make my arbitrary list of the best “athletes” I might have seen or heard about in the brief time window I covered.

Plenty of great athletes have come through Coupeville High School over the years and many went on to achieve greatness in college and beyond.

I know there are a few that probably should be on the list from the past 5+ years, I just don’t know enough to make an arbitrary guess.

Dang it, I would also added Matt Helm to this. I think he was more athletic than he seemed.

As I was thinking about this, I think I probably missed Brad Sherman, too. Probably makes the cut before Helm, maybe sneaks in around 10th on my list.

DANG IT, I guess I will add (brother) Virgil (Roehl) to this list too. Going to be an awkward Thanksgiving now…

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   A parade will be held Aug. 5 to celebrate Jean Sherman’s 100th birthday. (Photo courtesy Marilyn Clay)

The legend will be cruising through town.

Jean Sherman, a trailblazer in female athletics in Coupeville, played long before Title IX was a reality.

As she hits the big 1-0-0 next month, local fans will get a chance to celebrate her life and accomplishments.

Sherman will be feted with a parade Sunday, Aug. 5, which will wrap up at Coupeville Town Park around noon.

She’ll be riding in the back of a convertible, allowing her many fans to greet her while she rides in style.

Cake will be on the menu, and a concert at the park will cap the festivities.

The parade is being planned by daughter Marilyn (Sherman) Clay.

“This (parade), in my mind, will allow her to see a LOT of people in a short time, and perhaps they can give her a card to read after, and not exhaust her,” Clay said. “She LOVES seeing people, and has great health and her mind is very sharp.

“Even if you don’t know her, please feel free to come,” Clay added. “I think it’s going to be a blast!”

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