Archive for the ‘Everything changes’ Category

Prep sports will return in the fall. Hopefully. (David Stern photo)

It’s over before it began.

There will be no prep spring sports season in Washington state in 2020.

No high school softball games. No middle school track meets. No Senior Nights.

As the world battles the coronavirus pandemic, things we took for granted have had to be reevaluated.

Hard decisions have had to be made.

And public health concerns have had to rightfully carry the day.

Governor Jay Inslee and state Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal held a joint news conference Monday, announcing schools will remain shuttered through the end of the 2019-2020 school year.

The closure, which effects 1.2 million students, covers all public, private, and charter schools. It will go through June 19, and could continue through the summer and into the fall.

Washington is the 14th state to close schools for the entire year.

In-person classes and recreation on school grounds are banned, but school-sponsored child care, nutrition programs, and other social services can continue.

Schools are encouraged to continue providing distance learning.

Prior to Monday’s press conference, the plan had been for schools to remain closed until April 24, with students returning April 27 after a six-week shutdown.

Inslee recently extended his Stay Home, Stay Healthy order out through May 4, however, with the caveat it might have to go further.

That made the April return date unworkable.

Previously, the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association, the governing body for school sports, had help out hope a shortened spring season might be held if students returned to school by late April or early May.

State championships, which were set to finish Saturday, May 30, were not going to be pushed out to later months, so as not to potentially conflict with graduation ceremonies.

Monday’s announcement, however, erases the last bit of hope for any kind of season being played.

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CHS Principal Duane Baumann and other local school officials are negotiating tricky times. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Schools across Washington state are closing for at least six weeks, after Governor Jay Inslee issued an executive order Friday afternoon.

The move is part of a plan to fight the spread of the novel coronavirus.

A statement posted on the Coupeville School District web site reads:

Dear Coupeville Families,

Per Governor Jay Inslee’s executive order, Coupeville Schools will join the rest of the school districts in Washington State to close schools beginning Tuesday, March 17, through April 24.

At this time, the earliest students will be back in our schools will be Monday, April 27.

Schools will be open Monday, March 16, for students to collect their belongings, receive instructional materials and gather any essential education items necessary for the extended closure.

Steve King
Superintendent Coupeville Schools


**The Coupeville Schools Facebook page indicates classes will be held on Mar. 16 for all grades.**

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You take 7.5 years and 7,641 articles and you distill it into one moment and it is this — the day Joltin’ Jae LeVine shocked the softball world and dethroned Klahowya. The biggest heart of any athlete I have written about. Flash4Ever.

When I was younger, we used to go visit my grandmother in Tillamook, a town on the Oregon coast where the cows outnumber the humans.

Or at least that was the PR spin offered by the local cheese factory.

It’s a cheese factory which makes a lot of cheddar, both of the edible variety and of the financial kind, so it’s working.

Tillamook has multiple beaches, and me, my sister, and our cousins, who lived there, frequented them all.

From the sand dunes which stretched out into eternity, to the far more wind-swept ones where you could imagine Poseidon rising up in front of you and sending the crews of wayward ships screaming to their death.

It was on one of those beaches, where, after I “accidentally fell” into the water after being told not to, for the 10,000th time, I first saw a row of small, nondescript rental huts.

They captivated me then, and continued to do so through countless visits.

I imagined leaving the world behind and going to live in one of those shacks, my only companions the howling winds and the flotsam and jetsam washed up on the beach, my unkempt, Poseidon-like beard scaring off the tourists.

Seeing how I was not quite a teen at the time, and all the hair on my head was still perched up top, with none having migrated down to my chin area, that last part was a bit of a stretch.

But, the idea of leaving the world behind burned then, and never really faded through the years.

Which is a long way to get around to this — even as you read this, I’m gone.

Not to Tillamook, but out to the woods on my sister’s 5.5 acre farm in Freeland.

I’ll still live in Coupeville, in my own version of a waterfront shack (though if Poseidon rears his head in the fairly tranquil waters of Penn Cove, it’s gonna freak out the mussels), but my days will largely be lived with the squirrels and the blackberry canes.

Those damn, dirty canes…

Yes, for the third time in a run which has encompassed 7.5 years, 7,641 stories, and 810,433 deleted spam comments (and that last number is real…), I’m stepping away from writing Coupeville Sports.

The first time I stepped back, I went for a couple days. The second time, a couple weeks.

This time, it’s going to be for a lot longer.

If I come back, and that’s an if, it will be six months or so from now, in the early fall, as a new school year starts and Coupeville High School moves into the Northwest 2B/1B League.

But that’s an if.

We’ll see how I feel, health-wise and head-wise, at that point.

Right now, I want to fix my health and turn the noise off.

I don’t have any Chinese viruses (that I know about), but I have been tearing down a path to full-blown adult onset diabetes, and I need to reverse that, now.

My mom didn’t, and the disease ate her alive, cost her the use of her legs, and ended her life prematurely.

So, armed with a pair of loppers and a Katana (chain saws are for cheaters), I will continue my previous work of opening up severely-overgrown woods, carving trails, and using an “outdoor gym” to work on losing weight.

There are a lot of factors involved in trying to arrest diabetes before it takes full control of my life, but this move hits at many of them – weight loss, better eating habits, less stress, better sleep, etc.

Plus, I need the quiet right now.

All social media does is make me mad, all the time, and if I’m not wrapped up in the 24/7/365 world of Coupeville Sports which I created for myself, I don’t need social media.

Which is why I vanished off Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Messenger moments before I hit publish on this article.

It’s time to rewire my brain and rework my health.

All while staying faithful to the tradition of Thoreau, and going into the woods, but not far enough away I can’t still get laundry service and a sandwich.

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Maddie Vondrak and fellow Wolf athletes are off to a new league next year. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Changes, changes.

What we know for sure – Coupeville High School athletic teams drop from 1A to 2B next year, and the Wolves will take up residence in the Northwest 2B/1B League.

That reignites old-school rivalries, while also meaning next year’s seniors will be in their third league in four years.

As freshmen, they witnessed Coupeville’s final go-round in the 1A Olympic League.

Now, after two years in the 1A North Sound Conference, Class of 2021 athletes lead their fellow Wolves into the new frontier.

But, as we head back, who awaits our arrival?

Orcas Island, for one, where Oprah Winfrey reportedly dropped 8.3 million on a 43-acre secluded compound.

And there’s Darrington, birthplace of longtime Price is Right host (and Happy Gilmore co-star) Bob Barker.

Toss in four other schools, and you have a party.



Classification in 2020-2021 — 1B (drops from 2B)

Mascot: Lions

Team state titles: football (1984, 1985); softball (2007)



Classification: 1B (drops from 2B)

Mascot: Loggers

Team state titles: boys basketball (1955, 1957, 2003); baseball (1981)


Friday Harbor:

Classification: 2B

Mascot: Wolverines

Team state titles: volleyball (1986) 


La Conner:

Classification: 2B

Mascot: Braves

Team state titles: volleyball (2002, 2006, 2007, 2018)


Mount Vernon Christian:

Classification: 1B

Mascot: Hurricanes

Team state titles: None


Orcas Island:

Classification: 1B (drops from 2B)

Mascot: Vikings

Team state titles: girls soccer (2009)


With the move from 1A to 2B, boys soccer bounces from the spring to the fall, as 2B plays both girls and boys soccer in the same season.

That shifts Coupeville from having five sports in the fall, two in the winter, and five in the spring to a set-up of six-two-four.

The Wolves don’t currently wrestle or play golf like many of their new league mates do, while some of those schools opt of sports in which CHS fields teams.

The outlook, at least at the moment:





All six teams play, but not everyone plays like La Conner.

The Braves are the defending 2B state champs, and open the 2019 big dance Thursday against Willapa Valley.

La Conner is 16-0 this season, 20-0 last year, and has won 37 straight matches dating back to the final consolation match of the 2017 state tourney.

In Northwest League play, they have at least nine straight undefeated campaigns.

I say “at least” because the league’s website only goes back as far as 2011, with La Conner rolling to 10-0, 10-0, 10-0, 12-0, 7-0, 6-0, 7-0, 7-0, and 10-0 marks in that time.

Mount Vernon Christian couldn’t beat the Braves this year, but they are also at state, and open the 1B tourney Thursday against Klickitat-Glenwood



Friday Harbor, Concrete, and La Conner play, while Orcas and MVC don’t. Darrington has been playing eight-man football in a separate 1B league.

La Conner won the league title in 2016, the last year Orcas fielded a team, then has been stuck in rebuilding mode.

Concrete won in 2017, the last year Darrington played 11-man ball, then shared the title in 2018 with Friday Harbor.

That ’17 Lions title team was coached by Marcus Carr, who left Concrete after that season to take over the Coupeville football program.

Friday Harbor rolled to the title in convincing fashion this fall, and opens the state tourney Nov. 16 at Lake Roosevelt.


Cross Country:

Only MVC and Orcas field teams, with the Hurricane boys finishing 16th in the team standings at the 1B state meet this fall.


Boys Tennis:

Only Friday Harbor fields a team.

There were several years where Coupeville and Friday formed a two-team mini-league, though the Wolves have spent the past two seasons joining South Whidbey and playing in the private school-dominated 1A Emerald City League.


Girls Soccer:

MVC, La Conner, Orcas, and Friday Harbor play, while Concrete and Darrington don’t.

The Hurricanes (15-1-1) and Wolverines (8-7) both play Saturday in the quarterfinals of the state tourney, which combines 1B and 2B teams.

The league has been a competitive one in recent years, with La Conner winning conference titles in 2016 and 2017, before Friday Harbor came out on top in 2018, and MVC this fall.


Boys Soccer:

Orcas, MVC, Friday Harbor, and La Conner play, while Darrington and Concrete don’t.

The four NWL teams are joined by Providence Christian, Grace Academy, and Lopez for this sport.

League champ Orcas (14-1) and runner-up Friday Harbor (14-4) both play Saturday in the quarterfinals of the 1B/2B state tourney.

The Vikings have won back-to-back league crowns, after Providence Christian (2017) and MVC (2016) claimed the previous two regular-season titles.




Girls Basketball:

Everyone plays, and almost everyone chases La Conner.

The Braves have won five straight league titles, sharing the crown with Friday Harbor in 2015-2016 and claiming the other four crowns outright.

Darrington was the last team to hold off La Conner, ruling the league in 2013-2014.


Boys Basketball:

Everyone plays, with Friday Harbor winning the last two, and three of the last five titles.

In between, Orcas claimed the crown in 2016-2017, and La Conner was king in 2015-2016.





Everyone except MVC plays.

Friday Harbor has been the big baddie, but it would be a shame if someone came along to blow up the league.

While the Wolverines have won five straight titles dating back to 2014-2015, they have gone 1-4 in non-conference games against Coupeville in that time.

After losing 7-6 in 2015, CHS has won 11-1, 9-4, 13-4, and 18-17 the past four seasons.

The two teams, who both advanced to state and won games there last season, meet Mar. 17 on Friday Harbor in a final non-conference tilt.

The following spring, the true battle begins.



Everyone plays, with Friday Harbor, which got knocked out in the state quarterfinals last spring, having won four straight titles.

The last three have been outright, while the Wolverines shared the 2015-2016 crown with La Conner, who won outright the season before.


Girls Tennis:

Only Friday Harbor fields a team, and the Coupeville female netters, unlike their male counterparts, played inside the North Sound Conference.

A two team mini-league with a lot of non-conference matches? Some kind of hook-up with another league for just one sport? Your guess is as good as mine at this point.


Track and Field:

La Conner, MVC, Concrete, and Friday Harbor field teams, while Darrington and Orcas don’t.

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It’s official. Coupeville athletes like Chelsea Prescott and Heidi Meyers (in grey) are headed to the Northwest 2B/1B League next school year. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Times have changed and times are strange.

Here I come, but I ain’t the same.

Mama, I’m coming home.

Echoing the words of Ozzy Osbourne, Coupeville High School athletics are going back to their old stomping grounds.


After years of being forced to play against bigger schools, CHS returns to its true classification, and its old league, starting with next school year.

When the 2020-2021 school year kicks into gear next August, the Wolves will be a member of the Northwest 2B/1B League, with the 1A North Sound Conference disintegrating in their rear-view mirror.

The change comes after the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association changed directions, and decided to no longer attempt to keep the classifications (4A, 3A, 2A, 1A, 2B, 1B) balanced.

In previous classification counts, that meant Coupeville, despite having a 2B-sized student body, was routinely shoved up to 1A, where it existed as one of the smallest schools.

Beginning with the 2020 classification count (the next one is in 2024), the state has opted to go with hard count numbers. You land between two numbers, you’re in that class.

If one division is noticeably bigger or smaller than others, the number of teams advancing to state tournaments will be adjusted accordingly.

Once it became obvious Coupeville’s current numbers would land it firmly in 2B for at least the next four years, CHS Athletic Director Willie Smith reached out to the Northwest League, where the Wolves played for many decades.

He was welcomed with open arms, then things got weird for a bit (more on that in a second), then everything went back to being full-on hunky-dory.

With some current schools in the league also dropping down a rung in the new counts, the new-look league will feature three 2B schools (Coupeville, Friday Harbor, La Conner) and four 1B schools (Orcas Island, Concrete, Darrington, Mount Vernon Christian).

The move to 2B should be hugely beneficial to Coupeville, as it levels the playing field.

Gone are posh private schools, with the Wolves returning to competing against similarly-sized (or smaller) schools, with the majority being rural public schools like CHS.

There will be some wrinkles to adjust to going forward, such as boys soccer moving from the spring to the fall, as 2B plays both girls and boys soccer in the same season.

But, it could have been a lot wilder.

With Coupeville leaving the North Sound Conference, private schools King’s and Cedar Park Christian announced their intentions to jump ship, as well.

That left South Whidbey, Granite Falls, and Sultan in limbo, and the public schools reached out to the Northwest Conference to talk about forming a 1A/2B/1B league next year.

Meanwhile, the ultra-posh Emerald City League, which is comprised mostly of Seattle-based private schools, contacted the North Sound Conference and raised the idea of forming a “super league.”

That would have brought together 12-14 schools, with some sports broken into divisions based on level of play, which nicely addresses “competitive equity.”

As talks progressed on both fronts, the classification numbers were fine-tuned.

While five of the six Northwest Conference schools are currently 2B, with just Mount Vernon Christian at 1B, that was going to change, with Concrete, Darrington, and Orcas dropping down.

La Conner and Friday Harbor, which will both remain at 2B, then proposed a third option, in which the two schools would unite with Coupeville, South Whidbey, Sultan, and Granite Falls in a 1A/2B league.

Confused yet?

Imagine the never-ending chain of conversations Willie Smith was involved in.

In the end, a compromise was found.

South Whidbey, Granite Falls, King’s, CPC, and Sultan are opting to stay together, and have begun the process to move from District 1 to District 2.

Once there, they will unite with the Emerald City League schools and form a new conference – the Emerald Sound League.

Meanwhile, Coupeville remains in District 1, and comes home to the Northwest Conference.

“We are very excited to be in this league,” Willie Smith said. “It’s a strong group of AD’s which we have maintained relationships with over the years in non-league contests.

“The level of competition will be strong, requiring us to continue to work to develop our programs, and it also allows all of our programs the opportunity to have success on a nightly basis and compete for league championships throughout.

“Obviously, there are challenges, but we always have challenges, which is what makes our programs stronger.”

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