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Archive for the ‘Cheer’ Category

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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Ja’Tarya Hoskins, newest member of the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

The chain stays strong.

The Hoskins family has been one of the best to come through Coupeville in recent years, with each kid a standout athlete, student, and human being.

Each link in that chain — Will, Jai’Lysa, Ja’Tarya, and Ja’Kenya — can stand on their own, but they remain stronger because they link together, with family and friends.

Today I want to single one out, and that would be Ja’Tarya, now a freshman at Saint Martin’s University.

She’s off on the first step of earning a law degree, and, if COVID cooperates, she’ll be competing as a track and field athlete for the school.

If not, rest assured Ja’Tarya will find a million other ways to impress all who meet her.

During her time in Coupeville, she was at the heart of great success, most notably (at least for us here at a sports blog) for her stellar work as a multi-sport athlete.

Ja’Tarya was front and center for the Wolf cheer squad, a key member of a group which brought CHS back to the world of competitive competition.

Celebrating Senior Night with mom Benita and lil’ sis Ja’Kenya.

There had been a six-year drought since Coupeville athletes stepped on to the blue competition mats, but they found success almost instantly when they returned in 2018.

That was Ja’Tarya’s junior season at CHS, and she and her close-knit pack of teammates went from zero to 3rd place at state in what seemed like the blink of an eye.

Of course, to get there, the Wolves put in countless grueling hours of work behind the scenes. Then made it look flawless.

A year later, Ja’Tarya capped her run as a Coupeville cheerleader as the Wolves qualified for nationals in their second year back in the sport.

All of her success as a cheerleader was just a small part of her portfolio, however.

Hoskins launches a javelin into the stratosphere. (Brian Vick photo)

In the world of track and field, Ja’Tarya competed in almost every event on the list.

Her biggest moment in the spotlight came in the 4 x 100, where she teamed with Mallory KortuemMaya Toomey-Stout, and Lindsey Roberts to place 5th at state during her junior season.

The quartet hit the tape in 50.54 seconds, and they currently sit on the big board in the CHS gym as school record-holders.

Left to right are Maya Toomey-Stout, Hoskins, Mallory Kortuem, and Lindsey Roberts. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Confident, assured, friendly, intelligent, kind, and strong – they all describe Ja’Tarya, who collected a long line of fans during her time as a Wolf.

For her achievements, yes, but also for the quality of her soul.

Check back in five years, ten years, or whenever, and I fully expect Ja’Tarya will have achieved great success in whatever she attempts.

When that happens, everyone here in Coupeville will be like, “Hey, we knew her when! And we told you she was gonna kill it!”

But, before she gets too famous for us, too accomplished, we can give her a little local honor while it still might mean something.

Today we induct Ja’Tarya into the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame, where she joins big sis Jai’Lysa, forever immortalized in our digital shrine for being the supernova she is, every day, in every way.

After this, if you stroll past the Legends tab at the top of the blog, that’s where you’ll find her hanging out.

Digitally, at least.

Out there in the real world, Ja’Tarya will be soaring to new successes, making new fans who will be as impressed with her as we are back here in Cow Town.

A bright, shining superstar lighting up the night sky.

Just the way it should be.

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Kylie Burdge, Hall o’ Famer. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Kiara (Burdge) Aguirre joins her big sis in being inducted.

They were born to be stars.

At least it seems that way, as, in all my seasons of watching Coupeville High School cheerleaders at work, few made the kind of memorable impact that the Burdge sisters did.

Kylie and Kiara, in seasons together and apart, embraced the cheer game, their coaches, teammates, and fellow students, and their community, with great fervor.

They weren’t just content to be cheerleaders, but were front and center all the way, thanks to a ton of hard work and naturally vibrant personalities.

The sister duo could be loud (when it mattered most), were always proud, and led by example, both rising to be captains in the Wolf program.

Away from the sidelines, they were brilliant students, both finishing their run at CHS in the top ten of their class academically.

You can also add in that they were as friendly and outgoing as any Wolf athletes I have ever written about, and passionate about their beliefs and convictions.

It’s not always easy to stand up and be publicly committed to your religion as teenagers, but Kylie and Kiara have always been open about their deep love for their Mormon faith, and I give them a lot of credit for that.

Whether you’re part of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints or not (and I’m not), it shouldn’t be hard to respect others for their beliefs, especially if they show a deep commitment and reverence for their faith, as the Burdge sisters always have.

But today, a couple of days after Kiara’s wedding day, we’re putting the focus primarily on their athletic achievements, since this blog is, technically at least, concerned with covering sports.

The debate over whether cheer is a sport should have ended a long time ago.

It’s a sport, and its athletes put in as much or more work than those in any other pursuit.

End of story.

And when we hail cheerleaders, especially those who have done their work while reppin’ the red and black of Coupeville, you have to include Kylie and Kiara.

Attend any game during their time in uniform, and it was obvious they loved cheer, and the chance to support their classmates.

Any awards they won — and there were more than a few — were well deserved, as the sisters brought a zing and a real sense of style to everything they did as Wolf cheerleaders.

They provided leadership and friendship to those around them, and were ideal role models for the young athletes coming up behind them on the youth cheer teams.

Want to know how high cheerleaders can soar in life, and all they can accomplish? The Burdge sisters are a great place to start.

So it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that today we induct them into the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame.

After this, you’ll find Kylie and Kiara hanging out up at the top of the blog, gettin’ loud ‘n proud under the Legends tab.

Exactly where they belong.

Sister superstars, on the cheer sidelines and in life. (Photo courtesy Trina Burdge)

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Under current guidelines, high school football is in danger of not returning this fall. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

“I honestly don’t know about football, as we know it, happening in the fall, and I don’t think anyone else does either.”

That quote comes from someone right in the thick of things right now, a man with decades of experience in high school sports, as an athlete, coach, and administrator.

It’s a feeling shared by many, after the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association released its most detailed guidelines yet on how prep sports MIGHT start back up this fall amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

While a possible path was laid out for some sports to return, things don’t look good overall, and definitely not for football, the sport which typically brings in more money to a school’s athletic budget than every other sport combined.

As stated by the WIAA:

Counties in Phase 3 of Governor Jay Inslee’s reopening plan, such as Island County, can compete in “lower risk” sports.

For Coupeville High School, we’re essentially talking about cross country.

With “moderate risk” sports such as volleyball, soccer, and basketball, a county must be in Phase 4 for games to be played.

At the moment, as coronavirus cases rise in Washington and a statewide facemask requirement goes into effect Friday, the chances of any county jumping to Phase 4 — essentially a full return to normalcy — seems like a far-off mirage.

But, even if a county does get to Phase 4, the current guidelines leave three “higher risk” sports high and dry, with no timetable for a return.

Those sports — football, wrestling, and competitive cheer — “involve close, sustained contact between participants, lack of significant protective barriers, and high probability that respiratory particles will be transmitted between participants.”

You know, just like basketball…

Anyway.

Understandably, people are frustrated, and a petition on Change.org calling on the state to include “higher risk” sports in Phase 4 of the reopening plan is picking up steam.

The petition, called Let US Play – Washingtonian’s for Athletes-End Sports Lockdown, is making a run at 800 signatures as of Tuesday night.

 

To see the petition, pop over to:

https://www.change.org/p/jay-inslee-let-us-play-washingtonian-s-for-athletes-end-sports-lockdown

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