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Archive for the ‘Everything changes’ Category

   Jake Pease and the rest of Coupeville’s underclassmen will jump to a new league next school year. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Change is in the air.

After a very-successful four-year run in the 1A Olympic League, in terms of wins, titles and confidence restored, Coupeville High School is swapping leagues.

Now the question is which direction CHS goes in — down to 2B, where it thrived for many years, or to a new 1A league formed out of the smoldering ruins of its former home in the Cascade Conference.

Coupeville Athletic Director Willie Smith confirmed Wednesday the school would leave the Olympic League at the end of the 2017-2018 school year and outlined the wide-open future.

In his words:

Coupeville has decided to leave the Olympic League (high school) and North Olympic League (middle school) for the following reasons:

**Out of class time for students: we are very often leaving the school at 11:00-12:00 and not returning until 9:30 at night.

During district tournaments the return times are often much later, as the majority of the tournaments are in the Tacoma area (and this year fast-pitch will be traveling to Lacey to play their tourney) requiring us to take the Mukilteo/Clinton ferry at a much later time.

**Cost: we were over our transportation budget by over $15,000 last year due to the use of the ferry for every away league game in HS, every away game in MS, many non-league away games with the 2A’s of the Olympic League, travel to/from district events in Tacoma, and staying overnight for district tournaments that were two-day tourneys that played on back-to-back days.

**Scheduling: we have to schedule games around the PT/Keystone ferry schedule. Neither the ferry or reservation system works as consistently as we need and we had multiple re-schedules as well as cancellations due to ferry-related issues.

In addition, the 1A’s were planning on reducing the number of league games we played each from three to two, which would result in trying to find an inordinate amount of non-league games for each season.

As an example: in a 20-game season (basketball, baseball, fast-pitch) we would only have 6/20 league games and trying to find 14 non-league games to fill the schedule.

The resulting schedule would not be consistent in days we play, number of games per week, and more importantly, in meaningful league games.

So what’s our path?

We are at the end of the first two years of the WIAA four-year cycle, which means we can apply for two things: re-classification or joining another league; we are doing both.

Our current grades 9-11 enrollment is below the 2B cutoff and we are in process of appealing to the WIAA to move into the 2B classification.

We will not find out their decision until January 28th.

If approved, we would then apply to join the Northwest 2B League (Concrete, Darrington, La Conner, Friday Harbor, Orcas Island).

We don’t know what the WIAA will consider as significant change in enrollment, as this is the first time the WIAA has ever had to render these decisions.

Neither myself or WIAA representatives can really speak to whether we have a legitimate chance of winning the appeal but we are appealing.

We have had a long history of playing all of these teams and play them in non-league games on a regular basis, so it’s not really a stretch for us to move in this direction.

We have also inquired and have begun the process of looking into joining the newly formed 1A North Sound Conference, which currently consists of Sultan, South Whidbey, Granite Falls (appealing to drop from 2A to 1A), King’s, and Cedar Park Christian.

We have had a long history of playing the majority of these teams and play them in non-league games on a regular basis, so it’s not really a stretch for us to move in this direction.

It’s a 1A only league, which we have not been in for over 10 years.

Nothing, other than exiting the Olympic League at the conclusion of this year, is set, and even that needs approval from District 3, District 1, and the WIAA, which should happen, but is not always 100%.

There are a lot of documentation, hearings, and legwork that is currently being done, and will continue to be done before anything firm happens.

I would like to add that I have nothing but positive things to say about the Olympic League and its Athletic Directors.

They brought us in and re-worked an entire league in order to make it happen for Coupeville at a time when we desperately needed a change.

It helped our programs get healthy again, kids turning out, and we have had a lot of successes in the Olympic League.

But, and very importantly, it comes down to what is best for our schools and our kids.

The amount of time and school our kids miss coupled with the reality of the costs has really made us (coaches, administration) look at where we were at and a change was something that needed to occur.

Prior to bringing in four 1A schools in 2014 — Coupeville, Klahowya, Port Townsend and Chimacum — the Olympic League was a 2A conference.

In the three-plus seasons of the 1A division, Coupeville has won 11 league titles and claimed 153 varsity wins against its three 1A foes.

Girls basketball and tennis, which have yet to lose a league contest, each own three titles. Volleyball (2), boys tennis (2) and baseball (1) also have added to the school’s Wall of Honor.

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   After this season, South Whidbey’s athletes will no longer call the 1A/2A Cascade Conference home. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

And it’s gone.

Coupeville’s old stomping grounds, the 1A/2A Cascade Conference, is no more.

The league, fractured by defections and forfeits, will cease to be at the end of the 2017-2018 school year.

In its place, the league’s (soon to be) five 1A schools are striking out on their own and forming the North Sound Conference, which begins play in fall 2018.

South Whidbey, King’s, Cedar Park Christian, Sultan and Granite Falls, which is dropping from 2A back to 1A next year, will form the new league.

Cedarcrest and Archbishop Thomas Murphy, which were the only remaining 2A schools in the Cascade Conference after Lakewood bailed, are now free agents seeking new homes.

Four years ago, the Cascade Conference was an eight-team league.

After Coupeville left to join the newly-formed 1A Olympic League, Cedar Park Christian took its slot.

Things began to fracture shortly after, though, with every league team except King’s refusing to face ATM on the football field, which generated national media attention.

When a “super” league, which would have combined the Cascade Conference, Wesco South and the Northwest Conference for football only, fell through, Lakewood took all of its programs and bounced to the 1A/2A/3A NWC.

This past season, league schools returned to playing ATM in football, with the exception of South Whidbey.

Trying to rebuild their gridiron program, the Falcons asked for permission to play a non-conference schedule against smaller schools.

After losing to fellow 1A schools Coupeville and Chimacum to open the 2017 football season, South Whidbey won seven straight games against B schools and a Canadian program new to football.

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   Coupeville High School’s new COVERED grandstand. Ignore the oddly constructed press box and it’s a beaut. (Scott Losey photos)

A covered roof! In Coupeville!! Bless you.

   The back side, just waiting for a large “read Coupeville Sports” banner to be hung.

That press box and … it’s covered, man, covered. Let it go!

Consider me 97.4% impressed.

After a two-year wait, Coupeville High School officially has brand-new grandstands fully installed at Mickey Clark Field.

The thought that we’ll be able to watch football and soccer games or track meets on COVERED stands is revolutionary here in Cow Town.

Now, being the whiner I am, I could carp about a couple of things.

First, timing, man, timing.

Of course the new grandstands are officially done … a week AFTER the last home football game.

But, there’s a roof, so no worries.

Second, are you really leaving the bottom open like that, with no netting or barrier, so every loose ball can roll under the stands, stretching out soccer games just that much more…

But, there’s a roof, so no worries.

And third, and to the whiny sports blogger, the only one which deeply matters.

Who thought it was a great idea to have two medium-sized (if we’re generous) windows with a big chunk of wall in the middle in the front of the press box?

Have you EVER seen a press box without one long window running the full length?

No, no you have not.

But, since I know CHS Athletic Director Willie Smith and stadium clock master Joel Norris have big issues with those same windows, I kind of figure things may change for the better before soccer returns to the pitch this spring.

And hey, there’s a roof, so there’s that.

Small steps, David, small steps.

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   The brand spanking new grandstand at Coupeville’s Mickey Clark Field continues to rise after a two-year wait. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

“Hey, stop laying down on the job, man!”

Closer…

and…

closer to reality.

I’ve waited out in the rain and wind two years for a new press box, but my long national nightmare might be coming to a close.

Construction crews continue to chip away at building Coupeville High School’s new football/soccer/track grandstand, and the whole thing has taken a jump forward in recent days.

Will they really be done by Thursday (the previously announced target), so that the new stadium can debut during Friday’s final home football game of the season?

Or, more likely, will we first step onto the slice of covered paradise this spring, when boys soccer and track take over Mickey Clark Field?

Your guess is as good as mine, but, as the pics above show, progress is happening. Piece by piece.

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   Day one of putting together the 1,000 pieces that comprise the new CHS grandstands, and the question on everyone’s mind is … “What do you mean you lost the instructions?!?!” (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

“No, no, it looks fine that way.”

   Later, when everything looks all fancy, people will forget about the lowly, but important piece which anchors everything. I shall call it … Thaddeus.

“I’m just saying, I could have lifted that without any machinery. No, really…”

“Up…

“it…”

“Goes!”

And we’re .02% done.

It’s like a really big Ikea project.

The two-year wait for the new Coupeville High School football/soccer/track grandstands to arrive is over.

Now we just wait for all 10 million pieces to be put together.

Will the new stands debut during one of the three remaining Wolf home football games?

Or, more likely, will butts hit the seats for the first time this spring?

Only time will tell.

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