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Archive for the ‘Girls Tennis’ 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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Tia Wurzrainer: three sports, 1000% effort. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Numbers don’t always tell the full story.

And that’s why, to fully appreciate what Tia Wurzrainer brought to Coupeville High School athletics the past four years, you needed to see her play in person.

From a distance, she didn’t score a staggering amount of goals on the soccer field, and didn’t net a record-busting number of baskets on the hardwood.

But watch Tia play in person, whether it was soccer, basketball, or tennis season, and you would quickly gain an appreciation of why she was so valued by coaches, and so beloved by her teammates.

The young girl who once sat quietly eating her sandwich back in a corner at her family’s restaurant, Christopher’s on Whidbey, emerged as one of the hardest-working, far-tougher-than-expected athletes to ever pull on a Wolf jersey.

Tia did the dirty work, and then asked for more, always with a smile.

On the soccer field, she sacrificed her body game after game, a defender who seemingly feared no scoring ace, and wasn’t gonna take no crap from no one, no matter how fancy the rival school might be.

She protected her side of the field with a burning intensity, slamming into frays, chasing down breakaways, fighting for every 50/50 ball, making life considerably easier for the CHS goalkeepers who camped out behind her.

Give her a chance to score, and she could, but Tia made her name holding down the backline, where she netted All-Conference honors and earned mad respect from anyone foolish enough to challenge her.

As fall faded into winter, she would move from the pitch to the basketball court, but her persona as a quietly tough-as-nails roustabout never changed.

Tia slices to the hoop for a bucket in a big win over arch-rival South Whidbey.

The kind of “glue” player every coach needs, she was that rare teen athlete who not only accepted her role, but openly embraced it.

Need a lock-down defender?

A hustler and a scrapper?

A pass-first player who could help keep her team flowing under big-time pressure?

A staunch supporter of each and every one of her teammates?

Tia was the answer for all those needs, and she always seemed to play with the same intensity and effort regardless of whether she was starting or coming off the bench.

Proving she was a true three-sport star, she never skipped a season, joining Avalon Renninger to form a deadly doubles duo on the tennis court each spring.

Always a deadly assassin on the tennis court.

The pair meshed almost flawlessly, both in playing style, and with the grace and drive they exhibited match after match.

Team leaders, captains, and stellar competitors, the duo were on the fast track to make it to the state tourney, only to see their senior season derailed by COVID-19.

While Tia and Avalon didn’t get the chance to make a run at glory in Eastern Washington, that shouldn’t detract in the slightest from what they accomplished when given a chance to play.

While reflecting on their net careers, CHS tennis guru Ken Stange marveled at what Wurzrainer had brought to his program.

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.”

Some athletes get a chance to put up big numbers, making it easy for people in far-off states or other countries to have at least a loose idea of what they accomplished.

But it’s those like Tia, the ones you need to be camped out in the bleachers, or on the bench, or out there on the floor with her, to really appreciate, who make an impact which can’t be matched.

If you know, you know.

And, if you don’t know, you really, truly missed out.

Today, we swing open the doors at the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame and welcome Tia to our hallowed digital hideaway, where she is reunited with Avalon, her tennis doubles partner.

After this, you’ll find them at the top of the blog, hanging out under the Legends tab.

All in all, a very appropriate choice of words to describe two of the best, as athletes and as people, to ever emerge from Coupeville.

Wurzrainer and Renninger? They were kind of a big deal.

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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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