Archive for the ‘Girls Tennis’ Category

Marina Slowik crushes a shot on the links. (Photo courtesy Gina Slowik)

One island, two state champs.

While Coupeville celebrates Alex Murdy’s triumph in the long jump, South Whidbey also had a chance to see one of its track athletes ascend the podium at the state championships.

Falcon junior Naomi Atwood hit the tape first in the 800, wearing the crown at the 1A meet.

Fleet-footed Falcon Naomi Atwood dashes to a state title. (Emmy Atwood photo)

That victory headlines our look at how Coupeville’s league rivals, past and present, and its next-door neighbors did during the final week of the spring sports season.



Mount Vernon Christian, which shared the Northwest 2B/1B League crown with Coupeville, won two of three games at state, falling 4-2 to Naselle in the 1B title game.

The Hurricanes bounced Sunnyside Christian 4-1 and Liberty Christian 9-4 to get to the finale, which, thanks to weird Eastern Washington weather, was played at two different locations.

The game started in Ephrata, before being moved to Wenatchee after rain and lightning arrived.

After a four-plus-hour break, Naselle bounced back from an early 1-0 deficit to win its second straight title.

Over in 2B, second-seeded Toutle Lake, which eliminated Coupeville in the quarterfinals, was bit by the upset bug, as was #1 Brewster.

Instead, #4 Tri-Cities Prep claimed the title, beating #11 Adna 5-4 in a game that was, wait for it, started in one location, and finished in another thanks to weather.

Others winning titles include former Coupeville Olympic League rival Klahowya in 1A, and my alma mater Tumwater in 2A.

The T-Birds have gone back-to-back with former Major League Baseball star Lyle Overbay as coach, and the winning hit came off the bat of Brayden Oram, who I assume is the son of Jon Oram, a freshman when I was a senior at THS.

The biggest bang came in 4A, however, as Eastlake rolled to a title under the direction of coach Frank Smith.

He’s an Oak Harbor grad who played high school baseball for Hall of Fame coach Jim Waller in the early ’90s.

Eastlake baseball celebrates a state title. (Photo courtesy Frank Smith)


Girls Tennis:

Coupeville’s Helen Strelow played three matches at the 2B tourney, advancing to day #2 before bowing out, but I’ve already written full stories about her.

One other note of local interest was South Whidbey sending its doubles duo of Pearl Buck and Mikaela Nelson to the 1A tourney, where they fought hard before falling 6-4, 6-3 to a pair from The Bush School.



Coupeville hasn’t had any duffers since Austin and Christine Fields graduated, but the other Whidbey schools operate full programs, and both sent players to the big dance.

South Whidbey’s Ryder Mulcahy finished 19th in the 1A boys battle, while teammate Henry Olsen and Falcon female ace Parker Forsyth both failed to make the cut after day one.

Oak Harbor’s Tobias Wood placed 31st in the 3A boys’ tourney, while Addison Nations finished 34th in the girl’s rumble.

The Wildcats qualified their entire girls’ team, with Reagan Syring, Hailey Jenzen, Scarlett Nations, Marina Slowik, and Annalise Wesley competing on day #1.

While all of the OHHS golfers contributed to a strong season, one has a Coupeville connection and gets extra props.

Slowik’s mom, Gina (Dozier) Slowik, was a Videoville employee way back in the day.

When I got hired to start my 12-year run of mainlining Reese’s Pieces and VHS tapes, it was because she was headed off to college, opening up a spot behind the counter.

Marina’s aunt, softball sensation Laura “L-Train” (Crandall) Dozier worked for Miriam’s Espresso, as well, when that business shared a storefront, and owner, with Videoville.

And Laura’s future husband, legendary Coupeville basketball hype man Steven “Cash Money” Dozier, who is also Gina’s brother and Marina’s uncle?

During his high school days, he drank so much Italian soda syrup at Miriam’s, his blood once tested out at 98.3% sugar.

True story.



Darrington, which finished 3rd in the Northwest 2B/1B League, was the lone conference school to make it to state, going two and out in the 1B tourney.

The Loggers fell 10-0 to eventual state champ Liberty Christian and 11-8 to Almira/Coulee/Hartline.

Friday Harbor, which edged Coupeville by a single run for the league title and the region’s only 2B playoff berth, lost 9-5 to Raymond in the District 1/4 crossover game, a win shy of punching its ticket to the big dance.

Forks, which features Wolf coaching legend Ron Bagby’s niece, Chloe Gaydeski, claimed a program-best 2nd place finish, falling to powerhouse Adna in the 2B title game.

The Spartan fab frosh smashed a two-run homer in the title game and pitched her team to a win in the semifinals, flinging strikes on 38 of 48 pitches.

And may I just say, maybe it’s time Ron Bagby’s whole family parts ways with always-damp Forks and decamps for frequently windswept Coupeville.

It would make family reunions super-easy; it would give the ol’ ball coach something to do with his spare time if he could watch all of his niece’s games in person, and Coupeville Sports would add to its roster of headline-worthy athletes.

It’s a win-win, if you ask me.

Not that anyone is…


Track and Field:

Alex Murdy’s state title was one of five won by NWL athletes, with La Conner and Mount Vernon Christian each picking up two.

The Hurricane girls finished 3rd in the 1B team standings — matching Coupeville’s girls, who did the same in 2B — with a pair of relay wins sparking things.

MVC hit the tape first in the 4 x 200 and 4 x 400, with Ruthie Rozema, Isabel Dowrey, and Avery McCullough running on both teams.

Caitlin VanderKooy (4 x 2) and Josephine Swinburnson (4 x 4) rounded out the roster for the private school powerhouse.

Back in the 2B tilt, La Conner’s Tommy Murdock swept the 110 and 300 hurdles, as the Braves finished 9th in the team standings to Coupeville’s 5th place finish.

One Whidbey, kickin’ fanny and takin’ names. (Emmy Atwood photo)

Over in 1A, Naomi Atwood, as mentioned above, won the 800, while also finishing 3rd in the 1600.

Other Falcons to medal included Sierra Muller (3rd in the pole vault), Cole Tschetter (3rd in the 300 hurdles), and Cody Redford, who went 3rd in the high jump and 6th in the long jump.

Finally, the 3A meet saw Oak Harbor snag three medals.

The Wildcats put Noah Turner (2nd in the discus), Karen Salinger (7th in the long jump) and its girls 4 x 2 team on the podium.

That relay unit, which finished 5th, was comprised of Tessa Hughes, Addisen Boyer, Audrey Hart, and Salinger.

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Helen Strelow closed out her stellar CHS tennis career with a strong run at the state tourney. (Jackie Saia photo)

Class and competitive fire.

Coupeville High School senior netter Helen Strelow has both traits, and so does her coach, Ken Stange.

So, it’s sort of fitting the two concluded their prep tennis careers at the same time, putting a bow on things at the 1B/2B state championships in Yakima.

Strelow battled hard in her third match of the tourney before falling 6-2, 6-3 to Gwen Gilliam of Goldendale in a loser-out match Saturday morning.

The Wolf ace, who split a pair of bouts Friday, finishes her final campaign with an 11-3 record.

Gilliam advanced to the 3rd/4th place match, where she lost 6-0, 6-4 to Liberty Linklater of Okanogan.

That was a reversal of fortune for both, as Gilliam beat Linklater in the first round of the two-day tournament.

The championship match was a family affair, with Avi Sahota of Jenkins (Chewelah), last year’s runner-up, knocking off lil’ sis Simi 6-2, 6-3 to claim the title.

For Strelow and Stange, the van ride back to Whidbey Island caps their time with the CHS tennis program.

The former graduates in a few days, while the latter is retiring after a nearly two-decade run coaching Wolf girls’ and boys’ tennis.

Ken Stange is retiring after coaching Wolf tennis since 2005. (Jackie Saia photo)

As he exited Yakima, Stange paused for a moment to praise Strelow, who provided him with the sixth, and final, trip to state during his coaching tenure.

“She is an amazing person,” he said. “Artist, scholar, athlete, and one of the kindest people anyone could ever know.

“She improved from week to week, day to day, on a consistent basis,” Stange added.

“She certainly has a spot on my all-time CHS team!”

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Helen Strelow is alive and kicking heading into day #2 of the state championships. (Photos courtesy Brian Strelow)

She’s sticking around.

Having traveled all the way to Yakima for the 1B/2B state tennis championships, Coupeville’s Helen Strelow is giving the school van time to cool down before the trip home.

The Wolf senior split a pair of matches Friday and returns to action Saturday with a chance to finish as high as 3rd.

Strelow fell 6-1, 6-1 to Simi Sahota of Jenkins (Chewelah) in her opener, then bounced back to whack Amy Dorman of Lake Roosevelt 6-1, 6-3 in the afternoon.

With the split, the Wolf ace, now 11-2 on the season, earns a matchup with Gwen Gilliam of Goldendale.

That slugfest is a loser-out affair, with the victor squaring off later Saturday in the 3rd/4th place matchup against either Maddie Castro of Cle Elum or Liberty Linklater of Okanogan.

The top four finishers claim awards, with Simi Sahota scheduled to play older sister Avi Sahota in the championship match.

Strelow smacks a return at the swanky Yakima Tennis Club.

This is Strelow’s third appearance at a state championship event, but her first as a netter.

She twice advanced to the final run of the season in cross country, qualifying for state as both a junior and senior.

During her final campaign on the trails, Strelow was a captain as the Wolf girls made it to state as a complete team for the first time since the ’80s.


League rivals eliminated:

Friday Harbor’s Megan Mellinger and Kira Clark, who won the tri-district doubles title when Strelow won the singles crown, went two and out Friday in Yakima.

The Wolverines fell 6-2, 7-5 and 6-3, 6-0 to teams from St. George’s and Pateros, respectively.

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Your District 1/2/4 girls’ tennis champs hail from Coupeville. (Photo courtesy Nicole Strelow)

They’re the net queens of three districts.

Sparked by a singles title from Helen Strelow and a 2nd place performance from the doubles duo of Vivian Farris and Hayley Fiedler, the Coupeville High School girls’ tennis squad stood tall Friday in Seattle.

Holding off league rival Friday Harbor as well as Three Rivers Christian of Longview, the Wolves captured some hardware, bringing home the District 1/2/4 team title.

Now, Strelow and coach Ken Stange are off to the 1B/2B state tourney, which goes down May 26-27 at the Yakima Tennis Club.

For the Wolf net guru, who announced his retirement recently, it will be his sixth trip to the big dance since taking over the CHS tennis programs in 2005.

Strelow, a senior who twice ran at the state cross country meet, will be¬†joined by Friday Harbor’s Megan Mellinger and Kira Clark, who pulled out a three-set win to capture the doubles crown.

Tri-District action went down at the swanky Amy Yee Tennis Center, with each school sending two singles players and two doubles teams.

The tourney was a single-elimination event, with the top seeds (Strelow and Farris/Fiedler) given a first-round bye.

To win her singles title, Strelow faced off with a pair of new rivals, fending off players from Three Rivers Christian to run her season record to 10-1.

Her only loss this spring was to a rival from 3A Mount Vernon in a match added to the schedule at the last moment.

Farris and Fiedler, who split a pair of sets before being edged 12-10 in an epic third-set tiebreaker in the doubles championship, finished 7-4 on the season.

Five of Coupeville’s six players at Tri-Districts depart after this season, with foreign exchange student Djina Radenovic joining seniors Lucy Tenore, Farris, Fiedler, and Strelow.

Junior Skylar Parker, who teamed with Tenore to capture a first-round win Friday, can return.


Friday results:


Helen Strelow:

Beat Aurora Fortunati (Three Rivers Christian) 7-5, 4-6, 10-7
Beat Jenna Dennis (Three Rivers Christian) 6-4, 7-6(7-1)


Djina Radenovic:

Lost to Jenna Dennis (Three Rivers Christian) 6-2, 6-0


Hayley Fiedler/Vivian Farris:

Beat Ava Martin/Georgia Keune (Friday Harbor) 6-1, 6-3
Lost to Megan Mellinger/Kira Clark (Friday Harbor) 7-5, 4-6, 12-10


Lucy Tenore/Skylar Parker:

Beat Brynn Stephans/Gracie Cowan (Three Rivers Christian) 6-1, 6-2
Lost to Megan Mellinger/Kira Clark (Friday Harbor) 6-0, 6-2


Skylar Parker (left) and Lucy Tenore split a pair of matches while playing together for the final time. (Jackie Saia photo)

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Elizabeth Lo, net ace. (Jackie Saia photos)

Jackie Saia is on top of her game.

The Coupeville High School teacher and yearbook advisor was out and about recently, snapping pics as the Wolf netters closed out the regular season with a royal rumble against visiting Friday Harbor.

The glossy images seen above and below come to us courtesy of her and are just some of the many she and her students have been nice enough to share with Coupeville Sports readers this school year.

Brynn Parker (left) and Kaitlyn Leavell are the bright future of Wolf tennis.

Lucy Tenore (left) and Skylar Parker meet their rivals for the day.

Artwork mingles with the lobs and backhand volleys.

Vivian Farris watches another winner evade her foe’s racket.

Coupeville seniors bring out the shades for a rare sunny spring day on the prairie.

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