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Archive for the ‘A freakin’ American hero’ Category

   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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Go find a stamp and mail a card to former Coupeville track coach Larrie Ford as he recuperates in Seattle. (Photo courtesy David Ford)

I’m gonna need you to go find a stamp.

Then go send a card to former Coupeville High School track and field coach Larrie Ford as he continues to battle back after surgery.

Coach Ford, a fully-accredited member of the Coupeville Sports Hall of Fame, has moved to the Washington Care Center in Seattle after a three-month-plus stay at Careage.

That’s actually a huge positive, as he recovers from a leg amputation.

At the VA-contracted facility in Seattle, Coach Ford will be focusing on transitioning to the next stage of rehab as he works towards being able to have a prosthesis.

Both during his time at CHS and afterwards, he made a tremendous impact on the local sports community.

There was no project he wouldn’t support, and he put his money, time and spirit into everything he did.

Coach Ford was one of my first, and most loyal supporters, with this blog, but we go back much further.

He used to be a regular presence at Videoville during my video store days, a master of storytelling, and just an all around good guy.

As he goes through rehab, one of the best ways we can support him is to make sure he knows how important he is to his home community.

During his time at Careage, he collected 61 cards, according to son David Ford, and they hung on his wall, a reminder of everyone who was pulling for him.

Now that’s he in the big city, we need to step it up and flood his room with cards and notes.

Let Coach Ford know what an impact he had on Coupeville. What an important role he played, both on the athletic stage and off.

And that we expect him to walk back onto Mickey Clark Field at some point in the near future.

So, get going, get a stamp and fire off something to:

Larrie Ford
Room 253
2821 S Walden St
Seattle, WA 98144

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   Allison Wenzel is one of four Wolf seniors who played a sport in all 12 seasons of high school. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Missed it … by that much.

As we head towards the first official games of spring, preliminary reports have 22 of the 29 Coupeville High School athletes who played a fall and winter sport completing the trifecta and earning status as three-sport athletes.

While that’s an impressive number for a very small student body, it narrowly misses tying the best performance in the six-year history of Coupeville Sports.

The numbers:

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

That includes four Wolf seniors — Allison Wenzel, Hunter Downes, Cameron Toomey-Stout and Hunter Smith — who made it a flawless 12-for-12, playing a sport in every season of their prep careers.

Certainly nothing to sneeze at, as only three CHS athletes — Lauren Grove, Jared Helmstadter and Tiffany Briscoe — accomplished the feat in the last two years combined.

It was almost more than four, as well, as Lauren Rose and Joey Lippo each missed perfection by just a single season, opting to sit out their senior and sophomore basketball seasons respectively.

Of the 22 who are minting themselves as three-sport athletes in 2017-2018, there’s a good balance.

The breakdown shows 12 boys and 10 girls, with seven seniors, six sophomores, five juniors and four freshmen.

Wolf girls were ahead going into spring, but five of the seven who are declining to play this season, for various reasons, are female athletes.

The spotlight will swing back on the girls next year, though, as the only CHS juniors who have a shot to pull off a 12-for-12 career are Lindsey Roberts and Sarah Wright.

Coupeville’s three-sport athletes in 2017-2018:

Mollie Bailey (frosh) (soccer, basketball, softball)
Kylie Chernikoff (frosh) (volleyball, basketball, track)
Hunter Downes (sr) (football, basketball, soccer)
Mason Grove (soph) (tennis, basketball, baseball)
Gavin Knoblich (soph) (football, basketball, baseball)
Ryan Labrador (jr) (football, basketball, track)
Joey Lippo 
(sr) (tennis, basketball, baseball)
Dane Lucero 
(jr) (football, basketball, baseball)
Jean Lund-Olsen
 (soph) (football, basketball, track)
Jake Pease 
(jr) (football, basketball, baseball)
Chelsea Prescott 
(frosh) (volleyball, basketball, softball)
Avalon Renninger 
(soph) (soccer, basketball, tennis)
Lindsey Roberts (jr) (soccer, basketball, track)
Kyle Rockwell 
(sr) (football, basketball, baseball)
Hunter Smith (sr) (football, basketball, baseball)
Scout Smith
 (soph) (volleyball, basketball, softball)
Cameron Toomey-Stout 
(sr) (football, basketball, track)
James Vidoni
 (sr) (football, basketball, baseball)
Allison Wenzel 
(sr) (volleyball, basketball, track)
Genna Wright
 (frosh) (soccer, basketball, tennis)
Sarah Wright
 (jr) (soccer, basketball, softball)
Tia Wurzrainer 
(soph) (soccer, basketball, tennis)

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   Coupeville HS/MS Athletic Director Willie Smith has some words of wisdom for you. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Everything is in flux, with Coupeville jumping to the new North Sound Conference next school year, after being denied a chance to drop from 1A to 2B.

Into the fray wades one man, a gleam in his eyes and a deep burning commitment in his heart.

Wolf Athletic Director Willie Smith is here to kick you in the rear, pull you up by your bootstraps and calm your frazzled nerves.

A word (or three) from the big man himself:

Do what you can’t!

As we move into a new middle and high school league, together again with familiar schools such as King’s, Sultan, Granite Falls, South Whidbey, and our newest school, Cedar Park Christian, I believe this statement strikes a tone which rings very true for us.

What do we believe about Coupeville athletics?

Do we believe it’s an unfair advantage to pit public school athletes verse private school athletes?

Do we complain because we are the smallest 1A school, not only in our conference, but in the state?

Do we make excuses for not working out, attending summer camps/clinics, or not playing because (fill in the blank here)?

Is it the coach’s fault, other player’s fault, “we don’t win, so what’s the point of trying or turning out?”

What do YOU believe about Coupeville athletics?

As I’ve moved from player, coach, Athletic Director, retired coach, and back to Athletic Director, I’ve experienced possibly every league configuration, various levels of competition, equity in school size and disparity in school size.

I’ve heard every excuse in the world as to why we can’t compete, don’t win, don’t have good coaches, have poor support, yada, yada, yada…

The one thing that rings true throughout the entire span of my association with athletics is that no matter what the situation, good teams have the same intangibles: work ethic, leadership, commitment, and the ability to overcome adversity.

Do what you can’t.

1996-97 girls basketball team: lose two starters prior to districts, enter districts as #4 seed, play Lynden Christian, ranked #1 in state.

Down by two at half, they’ve taken off the press because it doesn’t work, end up losing by 12.

Play three loser-out games in a row, winning two, face King’s in loser out/winner to state, up 10-0 after 1st quarter, end up losing by 10 to eventual state champs who play Lynden Christian in championship … all with eight girls on the entire team.

Do what you can’t.

1999-2000 girls basketball team: new school in our league named Archbishop Murphy.

Playing with two seniors, one junior, a sophomore, and a freshman starter, win league, beat Murphy by 24 on home court, beat Murphy in loser-out to get to state tournament on a shot hit by 5’8” player over two 6’0 girls.

Down 15 at half in game two, loser-out, at state, storm back to win first-ever state tournament game in Coupeville girls athletics.

Do what you can’t.

2007 football team — down 12-0 in fourth quarter, score twice in last six minutes of game to win, and get to within one game of state tournament.

The 2007-08 track and field team that captured fourth as a team.

2007-08 baseball team, win-less in previous season of Cascade League play, finish third, take first in sub-districts, first in tri-districts, state appearance.

Do what you can’t.

2013-14 baseball, after going 0-fer freshman year and having the ten-run rule in effect for 10 of 16 games, finish 16-10 and a state appearance.

Do what you can’t.

I don’t mention these because I’m patting myself on the back as the coach.

I mention these teams, and I could go on with many other teams and individuals, but because I know, firsthand the work, the effort, the commitment, and their ability to handle adversity.

People will often say that those teams and individuals that won league titles, made it through districts and participated/placed at the state tournament had a lot of talent.

True, but what made them successful wasn’t the talent they had but the way they worked to raise their talent levels.

Our high-achieving teams and individuals don’t leave on vacation during the season, they don’t miss workouts in the summer or spring, they don’t make excuses as to why they aren’t being successful, they don’t take the easy road.

They work, they fight, they push themselves and others, they’re coachable and they’re committed.

They believed in what their coaches were teaching them, they trusted the process, they understood that you can’t beat somebody just because you’re more talented, and they certainly didn’t care who it was they were playing.

They were sure, they were confident, they believed, and they put the work in without question and without reserve.

Do what you can’t.

I keep repeating this and this is why — our sports programs are at a point where our community, parents, and kids need to make a choice, the same choices that our coaches have had to make.

Are we willing to commit to our programs, our coaches, and each other?

Are we excuse-makers or are do we accept accountability?

Do we work as hard as we can, every day, to push ourselves and our talent to the highest level or are we afraid of failure?

Failure isn’t a bad thing, in athletics and in life it should be accepted as a means to reach our goals.

If we choose not to fail then we choose not to excel, learn, or grow and we will never reach any height other than the one we are currently at.

Our coaches have dedicated themselves to providing opportunities throughout the spring and summer to help reach our goals.

Our current coaching staff understands commitment to our athletes, they are willing to give up time to help make our kids better people, teammates, and players.

They are determined to make an impact in our new league and beyond.

Are we ready to join them?

You will see “Do What You Can’t” on t-shirts worn by every coach and every athlete next year; it will be posted in the weight room, around the gym.

Take a risk, join a team, be part of something that is bigger than ourselves and you just may find out how rewarding, how strong you are, and how far you can actually go once you let go of all the self-imposed guards you’ve put up.

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   Avalon Renninger is one of 29 Wolves who could stick the landing and be three-sport athletes in 2017-2018. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Commitment seems to be at an all-time high.

Two-thirds of the way through the 2017-2018 school year, we are on target for the most three-sport athletes in one year at Coupeville High School in the six years of this blog.

From 2012-2013 until 2016-2017, CHS twice topped out at 23 iron men (and women), but this year the Wolves could hit as high as 29.

Now, that comes with a very big “if.”

If everyone on this list turns out for a spring sport. If no one gets lured away by school work, or a job, or driver’s education or spring fever or injuries.

And, because of that last word, we know, barring a miracle, the target number is really 28 and not 29.

Mikayla Elfrank’s badly-injured ankle, which shut her down midway through basketball season, is all but certain to keep her out of action through the spring, which is too bad.

But, if softball, baseball, girls tennis, boys soccer and track provide enough of a lure to keep most of the rest of this list in action, CHS will be blessed.

Three-sport athletes are huge, especially at a small school, where every body counts.

I would also add this — if you want to play college sports, at any level, playing multiple sports is a huge plus.

If you look at former Wolves who have competed for collegiate programs in recent years, or are currently active, almost every single one was a three-sport athlete during their days in Coupeville.

Tyler King, Makana Stone, Nick Streubel, Hailey Hammer, Ben Etzell, Monica Vidoni, Mitch Pelroy, and the list goes on and on.

Among the athletes on that list, King soared the highest, achieving NCAA D-1 All-American status as a cross country and track runner while on scholarship at the University of Washington.

Running was his forte, but he didn’t obsessively limit himself, playing basketball as well, where he was a starter and key contributor on the last great Wolf boys team, the 2009-2010 team which went 16-5.

Playing other sports provided King a chance to grow as an athlete and competitor.

College coaches, at every level, from D-1 to community college, are vocal about their preference for athletes who stretched themselves and tried multiple sports, over those who obsess (and often burn out) as a one-sport specialist.

And if you’re not going to play college sports? Take full advantage of your high school days.

Don’t look back and say “dang, I wish I had played…”

So, with all that in mind, here’s a look at how CHS has finished in previous years:

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

The 29 who could achieve the feat this year (still hoping Mikayla wakes up tomorrow and her leg is miraculously healed…) and what they’ve played so far:

Mollie Bailey (frosh) (soccer, basketball)
Trevor Bell
(soph) (football, BB)
Kyla Briscoe
(sr) (volleyball, BB) 
Kylie Chernikoff
(frosh) (VB, BB)
Koa Davison
(soph) (FB, BB)
Hunter Downes
(sr) (FB, BB)
Mikayla Elfrank (sr) (VB, BB)
Mason Grove
(soph) (tennis, BB)
Maddy Hilkey
(jr) (socc, BB)
Gavin Knoblich
(soph) (FB, BB)
Kalia Littlejohn
(jr) (socc, BB)
Ryan Labrador
(jr) (FB, BB)
Joey Lippo
(sr) (tenn, BB)
Dane Lucero
(jr) (FB, BB)
Jean Lund-Olsen
(soph) (FB, BB)
Jake Pease
(jr) (FB, BB)
Chelsea Prescott
(frosh) (VB, BB)
Avalon Renninger
(soph) (socc, BB)
Lindsey Roberts (jr) (socc, BB)
Kyle Rockwell
(sr) (FB, BB)
Ema Smith
(jr) (socc, BB)
Hunter Smith
(sr) (FB, BB)
Scout Smith
(soph) (VB, BB)
Cameron Toomey-Stout
(sr) (FB, BB)
James Vidoni
(sr) (FB, BB)
Allison Wenzel
(sr) (VB, BB)
Genna Wright
(frosh) (socc, BB)
Sarah Wright
(jr) (socc, BB)
Tia Wurzrainer
(soph) (socc, BB)

That breaks down to four freshmen, eight sophomores, eight juniors and nine seniors. 15 girls and 14 boys.

Four of those 12th graders — Wenzel, Downes, Toomey-Stout and Hunter Smith — can stick the landing on not just being three-sport athletes, but going a perfect 12-for-12 during their high school days.

If they do, the quartet would beat the last two years combined, when Jared Helmstadter (2015-2016), Tiffany Briscoe (2016-2017) and Lauren Grove (2016-2017) pulled off the perfecto.

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