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Archive for the ‘Cheer’ Category

Haley Thompson, seen here on Senior Night during football season, is part of a state title-winning Oak Harbor High School competition cheer squad. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Alyssa Carlon is also part of a 15-person Wildcat squad.

Whidbey Island still rules the cheer world.

While Coupeville High School didn’t field a team during this pandemic-altered school year, its neighbors to the North did.

And spoiler alert? Oak Harbor’s cheer program, which has a long history of success, is still making new additions to the trophy case.

Competing virtually, the Wildcats claimed a state title this past weekend, earning top honors from the Washington State Cheer Coaches Association.

OHHS topped all entrants in the Traditional Non-Tumbling Medium class, with Auburn Riverside claiming second, and Bethel collecting third.

The Wildcats are led by coach Jazmin Jones, who has been in charge of the program since 2017.

 

Her championship squad includes:

Melany Alanis
Johanna Asencio-Morcillo
Francisca Bartlett
Amber Biller
Alyssa Carlon
Jocelyn Carlon
Cassidy Gore
Audrey Moyes
Leah Murphy
Asya Pressley
Mariah Roach
Tatyana Smith
Griffin Stein
Haley Thompson
Annaliza Toliniu

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Coupeville grad Mica Shipley made her debut as an NCAA D-I college cheerleader Saturday afternoon. (Photos courtesy Shipley)

Shipley (front row, far left) with her EWU squad.

She was born for this.

Mica Shipley has been a cheerleader most of her life, winning awards and soaring high into the air.

Now, the 2020 Coupeville High School grad has reached a new level of achievement, performing for an NCAA D-I school.

After being denied a chance to perform by the pandemic, the cheer squad at Eastern Washington University finally got to go live Saturday at the regular season home finale in Cheney.

Shipley and her teammates worked the sidelines as the Eagles beat the University of Idaho 38-31.

The victory avenged an earlier loss to the Vandals, and lifts EWU to 5-1 on the season.

While she didn’t get to fly Saturday, Shipley was just thrilled with the chance to achieve at least a part of her college cheer dream.

“No stunting, but I’m glad to be out there!,” she said.

During her days at CHS, Shipley was a cheer captain for the Wolves, helping lead the program’s return to competition after nearly a decade away from the blue mats.

During her junior season, Coupeville qualified for state in its first attempt in eight years, then claimed third-place at the big dance.

The next season, Shipley and fellow captain Ashleigh Battaglia led the Wolves to nationals.

The cheer supernova, who first made headlines when she earned her way onto all-star teams at age six, also modeled for Glitter Starz.

That Illinois-based company is a national leader in custom all-star uniforms, warm-ups, and other cheer essentials.

Shipley, who is one of two Wolf athletes at D-I schools (with classmate Sean Toomey-Stout competing for a spot with the University of Washington football team) is studying nursing, with plans to become an OBGYN.

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Mekare Bowen, who turns 24 today, is a special human being. (Photo courtesy Dea Bowen)

In a world of grey, she is the sunshine.

Not just a ray, but the whole sizzlin’ ball, lighting up the universe with her every action and word.

I’ve known Mekare Alora Bowen since she was born — which would be 24 years ago today — as her mom, Dea, worked with me at Videoville and Miriam’s Espresso back in the day.

From the moment Mekare popped into the world, (politely) bellowing “Let’s get this party started!!,” she has amazed me.

She is incredibly smart, not just in a “do well at school” sort of way, but where you look at her in awe, and wonder not whether she will accomplish something, but just how much she’ll accomplish.

Mekare wrote a 550-page fantasy novel, Flying Fast: Untouchable, during her teen years.

If a computer crash hadn’t eaten her work, it’s likely no one would be paying any attention to J.K. Rowling and Stephanie Meyer right now.

Her passion for writing was captured in this quote, when she agreed to let me write about her after much tut-tutting that there were others who should be featured ahead of her.

“I have a new idea every day. I’ve had a lot lately, but I typically forget them and then they come back to me randomly,” Mekare said back in 2012.

“I love those moments actually, because it’s like somebody punched you in the face with flowers wrapped around their knuckles.

“It’s a bittersweet moment because half of you is ecstatic to have the idea back, the other half is mad that you forgot it in the first place, and the idea typically hits you again at the most inconvenient time.

“Actually, if someone were to punch me, I’d probably punch them back — without the flowers. But I think you get the picture.”

While some would spend years wailing over their tech misfortune, our Hemingway just jumped right back in, continuing to write, while also developing a subtle touch with the camera.

As younger sister Aria also grew up, she could often be found on the other end of Mekare’s lens.

A photo from a few years back, capturing sister Aria at play. (Mekare Bowen photo)

The same was true for family and friends, every animal she could find, and a thousand other subjects, animate or inanimate.

Whatever the world wanted to show, Mekare was there to capture and immortalize.

A boat slices through the sun-dappled water. (Mekare Bowen photo)

Anyone can click a camera and call themselves a photographer.

But it takes a special skill to make those images come alive, and Mekare and her equipment work in often uncanny union.

When she hit high school, moving from private to public, Miss Bowen wanted a new challenge, and so she jumped head-first into cheerleading, joining legendary 20-year coach Sylvia Arnold’s final squad.

Sylvia Arnold with Mekare Bowen. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Mekare was an immediate hit with the sideline crew, joining close friends like Julia Felici and forming a vibrant, loud ‘n proud team.

Julia Felici and her nephew Drake join Mekare to celebrate a Coupeville win. (Shelli Trumbull photo)

Whether traveling to other countries to help those in need, picking up a new sport and embracing every aspect of it, or being quietly awesome without ever tooting her own horn, Miss Bowen has impressed me her whole life.

I’m sure, like all of us, she has her faults. But, if so, I have yet to see one.

There have been other Wolf athletes who have shown great skill and great kindness, finding a balance which is rare.

Breeanna Messner, Aaron Trumbull, Makana Stone, Hunter Smith, and Valen Trujillo immediately jump to mind.

But I put Mekare up on the top of this mountain peak.

She is, quite simply, the best of what Coupeville, and this world, have to offer.

Her continued success and high achievement in life, as she navigates the adult world, is a source of great happiness for me. And, I’m sure, for a lot of others.

In the grand scheme of things, induction into the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame probably isn’t on the same level as say, winning a Nobel Peace Prize or a Pulitzer.

Both of which could easily be in Mekare’s future. Just sayin’.

But it’s what I have to offer, and so we celebrate her birthday — which should probably be a national holiday — by welcoming her into our lil’ digital shrine.

After this, if you cruise by the top of the blog and look under the Legends tab, you’ll find Mekare hanging out, along with those other five former CHS athletes I mentioned just a second ago.

It’ll say cheer next to her name, since it’s a sports hall, but we’ll all know she earned her induction for a lot more than that.

For her talent, for her grace, for her kindness, for her care to all around her, and for being, each day and every day, the kind of person I would like to be if I ever grow up.

You’re the best, Mekare. Thank you.

Hangin’ out with mom Dea. (Beth Kuchynka photo)

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Brazilian foreign exchange student Julia Borges built a substantial fan club during her time in Coupeville. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Gone, but never forgotten.

Julia Borges was only in Coupeville for a single school year, but she made a positive impression on everyone she met.

Facing culture shock, as the Brazilian native left São Paulo, the most populous city in the Western hemisphere, only to land smack-dab in the middle of Cow Town, USA, she responded by embracing every challenge.

During her year (2015-2016) as a foreign exchange student, Julia jumped headfirst into everything Coupeville offered.

A dancer, she joined the CHS cheer squad, taking advantage of an opportunity not generally offered in her own country.

“It is not common to have cheer-leading teams in Brazil, so that is a different experience that all the Brazilian girls would like to have,” she said back in the summer of 2015.

“I love dancing and I have been practicing it in Brazil since I was a child, so being a cheerleader is similar.”

Julia caught on so quickly, she cheered for her new classmates through both football and basketball season, and was selected as Most Improved by her coaches.

When the spring came around in 2016, she picked up a tennis racket and headed to the courts.

Along with two seasons as a cheerleader, Borges also played tennis for the Wolves.

There she proved to be a perfect doubles partner, teaming up with Julianne Sem to form a dangerous duo for a Wolf net squad which won a league title.

What always impressed me the most about Julia during her time in Coupeville was her quiet strength and how she showed kindness to all, whether they were teammates or foes.

Going from a home of 19 million people to a town of less than 1,900 had to be a huge transition.

Like all foreign exchange students, Julia would have been dealing with language barriers and perhaps some home sickness.

She responded by bringing out the best in those around her by simply being herself, a truly lovely young woman.

Julia might not have set any sports records while she wore the red and black of Coupeville, but she was a winner in every way.

She got the most out of her life-changing experience, and left behind a legion of fans.

While she might be a world away from Whidbey Island these days, Julia will always be a vital part of Wolf Nation – her serene spirit lighting up the universe.

So today we want to induct Miss Borges into the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame, to insure she always knows how highly everyone here regards her.

After this, if you stroll past the Legends tab at the top of the blog, you’ll find her there, a true Wolf, now and forever.

Thank you, Julia, for visiting our lil’ chunk of the globe and making it a much-better place while you were here.

As you become a soaring success out there in the world, always know you have two hometowns – the one where you were born, and the one that has adopted you as one of our own.

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Dawson Houston flings it downfield. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Dawson Houston lived in every world.

The 2020 Coupeville High School grad was that rarity, an athlete who found success in vastly different environments.

On the one hand, he was a two-year starter at quarterback for the Wolf football team, the leader of a squad which broke an epic run of frustration by achieving a winning record his senior season.

Coupeville hadn’t posted a positive mark on the gridiron since back around Dawson’s kindergarten year, but led by their veteran gunslinger, they stood tall in the fall of 2019.

Winning four of five at one point, while traveling near and far, the Wolves finished 5-4.

That included road wins in far-flung outposts like Vashon Island, Kittitas, and Tenino, as well as a solid victory against 2A Anacortes.

Not bad for a 2B-sized school in its final season of being forced to play in the 1A division.

Capping his prep career in style, Dawson was the calm center for Coupeville as it flashed back to gridiron glory not seen since the olden days of 2005.

Eyes glinting behind his glasses, the kid could gun the ball downfield, breaking off several successful long bombs during the season.

But he was smart enough to know when to play it cool, when to get the ball into Sean Toomey-Stout’s hands or Andy Martin’s mitts, and let his game-busters shred the defense.

Dawson, ambling along like the small-town cowboy he is, had the drive and passion, but also a genuine calmness under fire, and it seeped out to all his teammates.

He also had a huge smile on his face most days, and a surprisingly firm handshake for a high school guy.

As he and his teammates trotted out of the locker room, Dawson always took a moment to welcome the media to his field, a low-key, friendly dude even when his emotions were likely pinging all over the place prior to kickoff.

That carried over to how he treated his teammates.

While he had some key accomplishments of his own, Dawson’s happiest moments on the football field all seemed to come when someone else achieved their dream, often with his help.

As a senior leader for the Wolves, he shared the field with younger brother Daylon, a freshman, and saved his biggest celebration for when his sibling booted an extra point after big bro had plunged into the end zone for a CHS touchdown.

As a senior, Dawson shared the field with younger brother Daylon (3), as well as Ben Smith. (Deb Smith photo)

But here’s where the story takes a somewhat unexpected turn.

Dawson, a football player through and through, also found great success as a … cheerleader.

Oh, it’s true.

After years of only being a sideline squad, the Wolves returned to the world of competitive cheer and shocked folks by immediately claiming 3rd place at the state meet in early 2019.

Skip forward a season, and Coupeville coach BreAnna Boon was looking for more.

So, she convinced Wolf football stars Gavin St Onge and our man of the moment, Dawson, to make the leap into a whole new world.

With added strength, the Wolves could increase the degree of difficulty on their stunts, and they soared.

All the way to Disneyworld.

With Dawson helping lift and fling his new teammates, the Wolves bypassed state and made it all the way to nationals.

As they did, they showcased what a mixed roster of girls and boys can accomplish on the competition cheer mats, perhaps sparking the continued evolution of the CHS cheer program.

Dawson also found success as a competitive cheerleader alongside (l to r) Ja’Tarya Hoskins, Emily Fiedler, and Melia Welling. (BreAnna Boon photo)

A trailblazer and a leader, plus a pretty talented courtesy clerk at the local grocery store, Dawson exited high school life as a genuine winner.

Today, he takes another step, entering a new dimension, one he’s fully earned.

With doors flung wide open, we welcome Dawson to the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame.

After this, if you wander past the Legends tab at the top of the blog, you’ll find him hanging out there, shoulder to shoulder with the great QB’s and cheerleaders of the past.

One man, two worlds, always a class act.

Senior Night with the family. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

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