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Coupeville High School will honor spring athletes such as Raven Vick (left) and Megan Behan next week. (Brian Vick photo)

Coupeville High School will award letters to many of its spring athletes, even though the COVID-19 pandemic erased the season.

That was the word Wednesday from Wolf Athletic Director Willie Smith, as he laid out a plan to honor those who would have been playing.

All seniors, and all returning underclassmen letter winners will letter, while all other CHS athletes will receive certificates of participation.

“Our coaches, whom I believe have huge hearts for kids, had a very good discussion about how we can honor our spring athletes as well as honor our goals of making lettering mean something,” Smith said.

The decision was made after reviewing what other schools and districts were doing to address the situation.

“Our logic behind this decision was to honor our seniors because they, of all the athletes participating, lost the most with the cancellation of the spring season,” Smith said.

“We didn’t feel it minimized the lettering process but did reward our seniors for something that was out of all our control and was the least we could do to help alleviate at least a small part of the disappointment.

“Secondly, rather than have our coaches try to determine who would or wouldn’t letter this year, we felt using last year as a barometer for lettering our underclassman was the most fair way to do this.

“We understand there is no perfect way to do this but we felt that we could honor our athletes this way, give our seniors a little positive out of all of this, and also allow those that lettered last year to be able to do it this year.

“Again, not perfect, not ideal, but we felt it was right for our kids and programs.”

Smith has set up a schedule for May 26-29 for athletes to come to the CHS gym lobby to return uniforms, pick up team pictures, and receive their letters or certificates.

 

Girls Tennis — Tuesday, May 26 @ 2:00
Boys Soccer — Wednesday, May 27 @ 3:00
Track and Field — Wednesday, May 27 @ 3:00
Softball — Thursday, May 28 @ 3:00
Baseball — Friday, May 29 @ 1:00

 

If athletes or parents have questions, they’re asked to contact their head coaches:

Baseball — Chris Smith — csmith@coupeville.k12.wa.us
Boys Soccer — Kyle Nelson — knelson@coupeville.k12.wa.us
Girls Tennis — Ken Stange — kstange@coupeville.k12.wa.us
Softball — Kevin McGranahan — kmcgranahan@coupeville.k12.wa.us
Track and Field — Randy King — rking@coupeville.k12.wa.us

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Julian Welling, ready to open up a can of whup ass during the 2018 baseball season. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Joey Lippo gets a bunt down.

CHS coach Chris Smith (in red) calls a conference.

With the COVID-19 pandemic having shut down spring sports, we’ve opened these pages up to athletes, coaches, and fans who want to reflect.

Today’s write-up comes to us from Kristi Etzell, whose husband Mike and sons Ben and Nick have all been vital parts of the Coupeville High School hardball program over the years.

 

2020 … best spring baseball season weather ever in the PNW!

2020 … unexpected, unprecedented cancellation of spring baseball season!

2020 vision means looking back in order to inform the future…

Today, I want to look back and highlight the 2018 Coupeville HS Wolves’ baseball team, families, and coaching staff.

Senior leaders — all of whom are continuing to be leaders in their young adult lives.

Juniors, who carried the torch in the 2019 baseball season.

Sophomores who, this year as seniors, along with their families, are experiencing more losses than any other season.

They are grieving not only a cancelled baseball season, but so many other activities, connections, “endings,” school related events, and spring rituals.

Our baseball caps are tipped to you today, 2020 senior baseball players, and all 2020 high school seniors across the globe!

We feel you!! ❤️❤️❤️

#CHSBaseball

#2020Seniors

#bettertogether

And a final nod to the freshmen of the 2018 CHS baseball season. You are impacted by these losses as well.

YOU will be the senior class of leaders as this (unusual) school year comes to an end.

Our Central Whidbey community is your village; we will stand for you and with you in your 2020-2021 school year.

And, you can bet that I, for one, will be in the stands for the first CHS Wolves’ baseball game in spring 2021 when they shout, “Play Ball!!”

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Erin Locke and other Coupeville Middle School teachers and staff have put together a video for their students.

Staying connected, even while apart.

That’s a big part of the plan for Coupeville Middle School teachers and staff, who crafted this video for their students.

They may be away from each other, as the world deals with the COVID-19 pandemic, but, in the words of Geoff Kappes, “We love you, we miss you, and we can’t wait to see you again at CMS as soon as it’s safe to be there.”

 

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Da champs. Top to bottom, starting on left, are Brendan Coleman, Aaron Curtin, Aaron Trumbull, Carson Risner, Kurtis Smith, Ben Etzell, Korbin Korzan, Brian Norris, Morgan Payne, Jake and Chris Tumblin, Wade Schaef, Paul Schmakeit, Kyle Bodamer.

July 24, 2010 – the day Coupeville shocked the baseball world. (Shelli Trumbull photo)

It remains one of the enduring moments in prairie sports history.

Thirteen Coupeville boys and four coaches shocked the baseball world in 2010, knocking off all-star teams from bigger towns, rallying for win after win to claim a state title.

In the finale, on Saturday, July 24, the Central Whidbey Little League Juniors (13-14) squad scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh to force extra innings, then one more in the tenth to beat West Valley 10-9.

The winning run came when Aaron Trumbull lashed an infield single, plating Jake Tumblin.

It was the first-ever state title for a team coming out of District 11 (Skagit and Island counties), and the team largely stayed together afterwards.

Eight of the 13 players would go on to play four years of baseball at Coupeville High School, and every one of the players owns a diploma from the school.

As the 10-year anniversary approaches, head coach Chris Tumblin looks back fondly on one of his favorite summers:

The 2010 season was such a fun time as a coach and I have so many fond memories.

My wife Shannon had one word for that team – “family”.

The players were like a team of brothers but the parents were as much a part of the family as they were.

They never complained when I asked them to make sure the kids were there at least two hours before the game started to make sure we were able to get them ready to play.

The marathon practices that were officially over but continued because the players still wanted to have more batting practice.

The unwavering support they gave to the coaches and the players during home, away, and playoff games was second to none.

As you know the league president was Bob Martin. That guy went above and beyond my expectations, especially when we went to state.

I remember sitting with the umpires and league officials before the games started, going over each kids eligibility paperwork and finding a problem.

Sitting in Spokane I thought we were not going to have all our players eligible, but Bob went to work and got the needed paperwork by fax or email or carrier pigeon; I’m still not sure how, but we played with all players.

I always felt more at ease when he was there and he was always there.

One of the things that was always mentioned by the other coaches, umpires and parents of the other teams was how respectful our players were.

We had a team of confident players and they never talked trash or were arrogant; they played a sport they loved and they always played till the last out.

They never got behind and lost the will to win, never dwelled on a bad at-bat, never stopped believing that this was their season.

Having coaches that were having as much fun as the kids was also a plus.

Ramon (Villaflor), Brad (Trumbull), and Mike (Etzell) were fun to work with.

Taking time to coach takes a lot of time out of our schedules, missing work, first to get to the field and last to leave and all the meetings in between.

I can’t thank them enough for their commitment.

We played a lot of great games, and I was pleasantly surprised when we ran the winners bracket to the championship game.

That last day was very hot and we played a doubleheader but we lost the first game.

During intermission they were giving free chili dogs to the players and I wouldn’t let our players have any because you are what you eat and I didn’t want them to play like a team of chili dogs.

We went back to the hotel; I asked for a conference room and sat them down at a table and told them to figure out what happened.

To talk it over as a team and figure what they need to do to turn it around and then all the coaches left for the next 30 minutes.

When time was up we gathered the kids and went back to the field; they obviously had a plan.

We know what happened during the final game — several lead changes, extra innings, the other team coach and parents complaining about how hard our parents were rooting with every pitch.

The last two plays stick out in my head more than anything else.

Jake got in a pickle between second and third base with two outs in the bottom of the 10th; I thought the inning was over, but he ran it out and made it to third.

Aaron Trumbull at the plate hit a high bouncer between the third-baseman and short; there wasn’t even an attempt to throw Aaron out at first and Jake easily scored.

Let the celebration begin.

I can’t begin to express how lucky I was to be able to be a part of that season; we were the underdogs from the beginning.

People asked us how many teams we were pulling from to make the all-star team; they never believed me when I said we only have one and that we only had one stop light in the entire town.

We won that season not only because of the players on the field, it was also due to the support of a community!

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James Vidoni (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

It was like a Godzilla movie, one in which Tokyo has no chance against the rampaging beast.

Rolling out to a huge lead, James Vidoni, former Wolf baseball player turned volunteer assistant coach, decimated the field in the “Best Spring Coach” poll.

With 12 hours left in the 26-coach, 50-hour rumble, the CHS grad had pulled in 72% of the vote.

If that had held, Vidoni would have posted the largest margin of victory in any poll conducted on Coupeville Sports.

But, he finally got a serious challenger late, when CMS track guru Elizabeth Bitting roared into action, piling up 700+ votes in the final half-day of competition.

While she didn’t make it all the way back, Bitting did finish with 950 votes, while Vidoni topped everyone with 1,694.

Rounding out the top five were CHS track coach Bob Martin (233), CHS baseball coach Chris Smith (86) and CHS girls tennis coach Ken Stange (67).

This was the eighth Top Coach poll in blog history, and the eighth (or ninth) different winner.

Past champs include Ryan King (CHS football), Randy King (CHS track), Bitting (CMS cross country), Dante and DeAndre Mitchell (CMS basketball), Jon Gabelein (CMS track), BreAnna Boon (CHS cheer), and Brad Sherman (CHS basketball).

The Mitchell brothers competed as individuals, but finished deadlocked in the only tie we’ve ever had.

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