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Archive for the ‘Girls Tennis’ Category

This spring was to be the 30th season for Coupeville High School tennis coach Ken Stange. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic closed schools, erased spring sports, and prevented Senior Nights.

With that in mind, we’ve been giving Whidbey Island students and coaches a chance to offer those farewells online instead of in person.

Today, Coupeville High School girls tennis guru Ken Stange swings by to offer some heartfelt words.

 

In tennis, and in life, there are times when one just knows … knows how things are going to turn out.

Certainty. Well, almost certainty.

After 15 years at the helm of the CHS tennis program (that’s 30 seasons, if you count both the boys and girls), I’ve gotten to the point where I know if someone, or a doubles pair, is a serious threat to earn a state berth.

I knew it with Julia Sierra Castano, the Spanish Assassin.

I knew it with Aaron Curtin and Ben Etzell, and again when Aaron went to state in singles.

I knew it with Payton Aparicio and Sage Renninger.

Like I said, sometimes you just know.

Some seasons, you know it’s a rebuild. Other seasons, you know there’s a deep but inexperienced team.

This year? I knew.

I knew that we had a group of new players that would learn the game from their captains, Avalon (Renninger) and Tia (Wurzrainer).

I knew we were returning all three of our doubles teams.

Jaimee (Masters), Emily (Fiedler), Eryn (Wood), and Abby (Mulholland) were primed to win buckets of matches.

I knew that all three doubles teams were pretty damn good last season, and that this season, our team would challenge for a league title.

I knew we would have competitive matches with our Island rivals, South Whidbey.

I knew that we had a doubles team, in Avalon and Tia, that would challenge for an elusive state berth.

Avalon Renninger swats a lethal left-handed shot.

This was to be our team’s return to the top.

We were going to do it with hard work and style.

It was the 2020 season, and our team was going to be the focus.

Alas, bigger problems took center stage, and our season was over almost as fast as it started.

I know that public health wins over tennis, every time, and I know that we all made our sacrifices, for the greater good.

That said, I’m still mad as hell. I’m very sad, too.

I feel badly for the ladies that were gearing up for a fun and successful season.

I feel bad for the parents, who love to come out in support of their kids, school, and community.

There are two individuals who, in my opinion, lost a little more than everyone else associated with the program.

Avalon and Tia were the heart and soul of CHS tennis.

Tia Wurzrainer keeps the rally alive.

They were two talented and caring players who continued the proud tradition of the CHS ladies’ tennis team.

They worked their butts off.

As sophomores, they were within a couple of points from clinching a state berth.

As juniors, they ran into a few buzzsaws from Seattle, prematurely ending their season.

Going into the senior campaign, they got to work.

My spine was recovered enough so I could actually hit hard balls at them, and they had Drake Borden, who was basically their personal hitting partner.

With the help from Drake and I, along with Av and Tia’s high levels of talent and work ethic, we are well on our way to a successful season.

I just knew.

Knowing that a potentially successful campaign, and a run to state for Avalon and Tia, has been lost, I’m very sad.

I love it when we have a dominant team. It’s always more fun when winning!

What hurts most about the lost season is not that we lost a chance to be dominant.

What hurts most is that my seniors, Avalon and Tia, were two of the classiest players ever to grace the courts at CHS.

They were fierce competitors and best of friends.

They mentored other players and kept their teammates accountable. They were serious about tennis while maintaining a lighthearted attitude.

Classy, pure and simple.

I’d hoped that they would place themselves at or near the top of my all-time best doubles teams, with a solid senior season and a state berth.

They are still at or near the top of my list, though.

As a pair, they were a force to be reckoned with.

As individuals, they were two of my absolute favorites who led their team with grace, class, and fun.

Tia … calm, cool, and collected.

She would probably argue with me, but I think Tia is perfect.

Kind, intelligent, intuitive, and hard working. I don’t think I ever heard a single negative word pass through her lips.

Her work ethic was second to none. Anyone would be happy to have her as a partner, me included.

Avalon … she holds a special place in my heart because she wears her heart on her sleeve. I can relate to that.

It’s completely honest.

She’s cried, she’s celebrated, and she’s worked her tail off to always improve.

Together, they made a lethal doubles combo.

Each knew how to handle the other. They had a fantastic yin and yang.

Av and Tia grew up with my daughter, Oliana. I’ve known them since they were tots.

Watching them grow and evolve from tots to adults has been a treat.

Having them as part of the tennis program has been an honor.

The competition, the conversations, the post-match meals, the road trips…all made better because of Av and Tia.

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Coupeville High School will honor spring athletes such as Raven Vick (left) and Megan Behan next week. (Brian Vick photo)

Coupeville High School will award letters to many of its spring athletes, even though the COVID-19 pandemic erased the season.

That was the word Wednesday from Wolf Athletic Director Willie Smith, as he laid out a plan to honor those who would have been playing.

All seniors, and all returning underclassmen letter winners will letter, while all other CHS athletes will receive certificates of participation.

“Our coaches, whom I believe have huge hearts for kids, had a very good discussion about how we can honor our spring athletes as well as honor our goals of making lettering mean something,” Smith said.

The decision was made after reviewing what other schools and districts were doing to address the situation.

“Our logic behind this decision was to honor our seniors because they, of all the athletes participating, lost the most with the cancellation of the spring season,” Smith said.

“We didn’t feel it minimized the lettering process but did reward our seniors for something that was out of all our control and was the least we could do to help alleviate at least a small part of the disappointment.

“Secondly, rather than have our coaches try to determine who would or wouldn’t letter this year, we felt using last year as a barometer for lettering our underclassman was the most fair way to do this.

“We understand there is no perfect way to do this but we felt that we could honor our athletes this way, give our seniors a little positive out of all of this, and also allow those that lettered last year to be able to do it this year.

“Again, not perfect, not ideal, but we felt it was right for our kids and programs.”

Smith has set up a schedule for May 26-29 for athletes to come to the CHS gym lobby to return uniforms, pick up team pictures, and receive their letters or certificates.

 

Girls Tennis — Tuesday, May 26 @ 2:00
Boys Soccer — Wednesday, May 27 @ 3:00
Track and Field — Wednesday, May 27 @ 3:00
Softball — Thursday, May 28 @ 3:00
Baseball — Friday, May 29 @ 1:00

 

If athletes or parents have questions, they’re asked to contact their head coaches:

Baseball — Chris Smith — csmith@coupeville.k12.wa.us
Boys Soccer — Kyle Nelson — knelson@coupeville.k12.wa.us
Girls Tennis — Ken Stange — kstange@coupeville.k12.wa.us
Softball — Kevin McGranahan — kmcgranahan@coupeville.k12.wa.us
Track and Field — Randy King — rking@coupeville.k12.wa.us

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Mary Milnes plays for the love of the game. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Eryn Wood swats a shot while holding court last spring.

The courts were alive with the sound of tennis balls being whacked by rackets.

And then, silence.

The COVID-19 pandemic brought a brutally-quick ending to the spring sports season, preventing Coupeville High School teams from playing any contests against rival schools.

For a Wolf tennis team which offered a mix of returning veterans and bright-eyed newcomers, that’s a shame.

But even if their season ended too soon, we can still take a moment to recognize the netters and their coaches.

The 2020 CHS girls tennis team would have been…

 

Alita Blouin
Cecilia Camarena
Kim Castro
Monica Clark
Noelle Daigneault
Emily Fiedler
Hayley Fiedler
Cassidy Holmes
Jaimee Masters
Katelin McCormick
Mary Milnes
Abby Mulholland
Avalon Renninger
Marie Roberts
Cypress Socha
Helen Strelow
Lucy Tenore
Eryn Wood
Tia Wurzrainer

Ken Stange (Head Coach)
Drake Borden (Assistant Coach)

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If Coupeville track stars like Raven Vick (left) and Ja’Tarya Hoskins get the chance to compete this spring, they will face a shortened season. (Brian Vick photo)

If there is a spring high school sports season, teams can play shortened games in an effort to complete as much of the schedule as possible in a very short time.

That recommendation was offered Wednesday by the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association.

Currently, all schools in the state are shut down through April 24 on the orders of Governor Jay Inslee, as the fight to blunt the spread of coronavirus continues.

If students return to school at the end of the six-week shutdown, with the first classes April 27, they will have to put in 10 practices and then can begin games.

The WIAA previously announced it would offer a waiver, allowing schools to conduct 10 practices in five days time.

It also stated state championships will not be played later than Saturday, May 30, so as not to conflict with graduations in June.

That means if the six-week shutdown is lengthened at all, spring sports could be in jeopardy.

If Washington goes the route of states such as Kansas and cancels classes through the end of the 2019-2020 school year, there would definitely be no spring athletic season.

But, under a best-case scenario, with schools reopening April 27, games could begin as early as May 2.

The WIAA has directed each league and district to determine its own means of qualifying teams for the postseason, and has said it will allow teams which are not in the playoffs to continue regular season games through May 30.

While it’s highly-doubtful schools could play, say, an entire 20-game baseball season in four weeks time, shortened games and multiple contests on the same day will be allowed.

WIAA guidelines for each sport Coupeville High School plays:

 

Baseball:

*Pitch count, which is a daily limit and not a game limit, will still be enforced.

“Care should be taken to insure that pitchers are not exceeding their arm strength and conditioning during this shortened season,” the WIAA said. “Coaches have an obligation to take care of their pitchers.”

*Teams will be allowed to play shortened games, with five innings being a complete game.

*May 19 is the final day for teams to qualify for regionals, with state championships May 29-30.

 

Boys Soccer:

*Teams will be allowed to play shortened games, with one half of play constituting a complete game.

*May 19 is the final day for teams to qualify for state. The tourney will be played May 23, 26, 29, and 30.

 

Girls Tennis:

*Athletes will be allowed to play multiple matches in the same day, but can not exceed nine sets per day.

*May 24 is the final day for individuals to qualify for state.

 

Softball:

*Teams will be allowed to play shortened games, with five innings constituting a complete game.

*May 24 is the final day for teams to qualify for state.

 

Track and Field:

*If an athlete competes on their own at an invitational during the shut down, their marks don’t count toward automatic qualifying standards for state. These standards must be met during school-sponsored meets.

*Athletes will still be restricted to competing in a maximum of four events during school-sponsored meets.

*May 24 is the final day for qualifier meets, with the state meet set for May 28-30.

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CHS varsity softball leads off a group of pics shot earlier this spring. (Photos by JohnPhotos.net)

Wolf track and field fills up the bleachers.

Varsity soccer takes the field.

Baseball claims the diamond.

JV softball, ready to pile up the runs.

JV soccer defends its net.

Tennis is on point.

The season is on hiatus, but the photos have been snapped.

With the coronavirus pandemic having forced the closure of Washington state schools, Coupeville athletes sit and wait to see if they will get to chase their spring dreams.

But back before the shutdown, wanderin’ paparazzi John Fisken bounced from field to field and captured the team pics seen above.

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