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Archive for the ‘Hall o’ Fame’ Category

Coupeville’s Jaimee Masters, a two-sport athlete who also possesses oodles of artistic talent. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Talent on the court, talent off the court.

A highly-accomplished artist and two-sport athlete, Jaimee Masters had a sizable impact during her days at Coupeville High School.

She followed in the footsteps of cousin Hope Lodell on the volleyball court, but carved out her own solid reputation.

A hard worker with a team-first attitude, Jaimee played all four seasons during high school, working her way into being a valuable role player for the Wolf varsity.

Masters played multiple positions on the court, but always gave her all.

As a senior, she played in 29 of 30 sets during a pandemic-shortened campaign, racking up a solid number of digs as a dependable back-row assassin for a CHS squad which claimed second-place in the Northwest 2B/1B League.

Her tenacity and solid work ethic greatly helped her on the tennis court, as well.

Playing both singles and doubles over the course of her hardcourt run, Jaimee ended her prep net career by teaming with Emily Fiedler to form Coupeville’s #1 doubles duo.

The seniors didn’t get to play as many matches as they might have liked — again with the Covid restrictions — but they took advantage of every opportunity presented.

“Prepare to die, Mr. Tennis Ball!”

Facing off with Friday Harbor in a six-match royal rumble, Coupeville went undefeated during Jaimee’s senior season.

As in truly undefeated, with a 6-0 mark in team matches, and a 30-0 record in individual rumbles.

Masters and Fiedler strolled to straight-sets wins in all six of their matches, winning them by a combined score of 72-11.

They were brutal, efficient, and remarkably kind to the rival players they were battering, showcasing their athletic skills, but also their compassion.

While sports accomplishments are the driving force behind this blog, it’s also worth noting that Jaimee’s talents go far beyond the athletic world.

During the early days of Covid lockdown, with no games to write about, I transitioned a bit and tried to highlight other skills.

One of those areas was artwork, and Jaimee was a particular standout there, showing off works of precise beauty and artistry.

That mixture of talent, hard work, and a caring soul helped her accomplish great things during her school days in Coupeville, and should serve her well as she charges out into the adult world.

Today, though, we’re bringing Jaimee back for a moment, as we induct her into the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame.

It’s a well-deserved honor for a remarkable young woman, and, after this, you can catch her hanging out at the top of the blog, up under the Legends tab.

Jaimee never asked for praise, but instead went out and earned it every step of the way.

The true mark of a great one.

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Emily Rose has followed up high school soccer success with impressive real-world achievement. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Work hard in silence. Let success be your noise.

Having done the former, Emily (May) Rose is hopefully enjoying the latter.

The 2017 Coupeville High School grad has gone from selling sweet, sweet soft serve at Oak Harbor’s Dairy Queen during her teen years, to rocking the world of big business.

Having earned a B.A. in Business Administration with a minor in applied advertising and strategic communications from Washington State University, Emily is now off to join the management trainee program with Enterprise.

That follows on the heels of raking in sales for Alta Marketing, as she juggled all the parts of her busy life with the same skill she once brought to the soccer pitch.

A perfect complementary player, Emily played at midfielder and forward for the Wolves, providing an often-potent scoring touch with a willingness to do whatever was necessary for the betterment of her team.

While she played alongside some of the biggest names in CHS girls soccer history, her impact was noticed by those down on the pitch.

“She was so overlooked by many, and yet she always worked hard,” said a former teammate, who bumped me in the direction of inducting Emily into the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame.

It was an easy decision, as I already had her on my master list of former Wolves worthy of being immortalized in our lil’ digital shrine.

But knowing others out there, and especially those who played alongside Emily, felt the same way, really tips the scales in her favor.

Ever alert and ready to pounce on a scoring opportunity. (Sylvia Hurlburt photo)

Emily’s four goals as a CHS booter — three as a junior and a final tally as a senior — ties her on the all-time CHS girls scoring list with Hayley Waterman and Erin Rosenkranz.

That’s a quality trio there, as both of those older-school Wolves are among the best to ever pull on a Coupeville uniform, while also being truly brilliant scholars who have been highly-successful in real life.

Like her counterparts in the four-goal club, Emily was never the focal point of her team’s offensive plan.

Instead, she put in the work, grinding and putting herself in the right places at the right time.

Emily could scramble and scrap and fight for 50/50 balls, and, given the chance, she had a nimble scoring touch.

Through it all, as her former teammate attested to, she never coasted, and should feel justifiably proud of her prep sports career.

Now, as she rapidly climbs the real-world business ladder of success, her work ethic, her commitment, her inner strength, are all being highlighted and recognized.

So I’m more than happy to induct Emily into the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame, and, after this, you’ll be able to find her hanging around under the Legends tab at the top of the blog.

Well, symbolically at least.

In real life, Emily is not the type to rest on her laurels or past glory.

Instead, she’s boldly achieving success and impressing folks with each new day, a high achiever who shines as brightly as her smile did when she stalked the prairie pitch.

A hard worker and high achiever, on and off the pitch. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

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Matt Hilborn pulls off a web gem. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Matt Hilborn often reminded me of Wiley Hesselgrave.

The pair crossed paths at Coupeville High School very briefly, with the former playing his freshman season of football as the latter wrapped up his senior campaign.

Other than that they weren’t on the same teams, as Hesselgrave played basketball, while Hilborn opted for baseball.

But both guys, the CHS Class of 2016 one — among the most highly-respected Wolf athletes of the modern era — and the Class of 2019 one, always struck me as being very similar in how they approached their time repping Cow Town.

They were old-school players putting in work during a new-school time frame, dudes who showed up to practice and games with lunchbox seemingly in hand, ready to work.

Neither wasted much time on social media, and neither wasted much time flexing between plays.

Hilborn, like Hesselgrave, let his actions speak louder than words, and will be fondly remembered by coaches, teammates, and fans long after moving on to post-high school pursuits.

The oldest of Scott and Wendi’s two sons, Matt was a true four-year star, making an impact on both the Wolf football and baseball programs from his debut to his Senior Night farewells.

A two-way warrior on the gridiron. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

On the gridiron, he had skills and pop.

Matt could lay a hurtin’ on rivals, flying into the scrum ready to break fools in half, and pop the football free for his squad to recover.

But he was also a huge asset on the offensive side of the ball, as a runner and receiver, or returning kicks.

Having sent an electric jolt through the assembled Wolf faithful, Matt, like Wiley before him, would pop back up, nod (ever so slightly), then move on to the next play.

He didn’t prance around and celebrate tackling a third-string runner late in a game where his team trailed by three touchdowns, like some.

Matt wasn’t big on theatrics, but he was huge on results.

That carried over to the diamond, where he landed on multiple all-league teams while putting in work on the pitching mound and patrolling the infield.

His bat had pop, his legs could generate some speed, and, above all, he was a smart, seemingly self-contained player.

Add in an arm which could rip off some nasty pitches, and the Wolves were blessed during his four-year run.

Hilborn and Mason Grove pose after the duo collided during a mad pursuit for a ball. (Chris Smith photo)

Matt stayed on an even keel, and his team benefited.

It’s possible his insides were churning the whole time, but, from the perspective of those in the stands, he always seemed composed and in control.

Make a huge pitch, deliver a crucial hit, or commit the rare error, and Matt remained in control, exactly what you want from a team leader.

During his time in a Wolf uniform, we exchanged a mere handful of words, most of them when he stopped by my duplex once to deliver food from his mom.

Which is good, since, like Wiley before him, that taciturn personality just added to his old-school legend.

Matt showed up, busted his tail, then tipped his hat and moved on with his life.

Much respect from the stands for that.

And, officially, as of today, Matt gets his rightful induction into the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame.

Which should have come earlier, but I am apparently forgetful.

Recently, as I scanned the list of names nestled under the Legends tab at the top of the blog, I was surprised not to see his name.

Could I have forgotten to give Matt his just due?

Or did I write a story and merely forget to add Matt’s name on the official list between … Wiley Hesselgrave … and Dawson Houston?

Oh, anything is possible, as anyone who has seen my brain misfire over the years can attest.

Today, that changes however.

A Hall o’ Fame story, either the first or the second, and this time, I absolutely, positively have added Hilborn to the roll call.

Putting Matt right where he has always belonged.

Senior Night with the parental units. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

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Kalia Littlejohn, ready to wreck you. (Sylvia Hurlburt photo)

I don’t pay to get into Coupeville High School athletic contests.

Various athletic directors over the years have given me free access to games, which has made the life of a low-paid sports reporter/blogger much easier.

That being said, there have been a handful of Wolf athletes who brought something truly special to the court, or field, or track oval, or soccer pitch.

If I had to pay, these select few Coupeville athletes would fall into the category of “They were worth the price of admission.”

Without a doubt, one of those premier stars is Kalia Littlejohn, who has always possessed an electricity and a style rarely seen in Cow Town.

She played three seasons of soccer, and parts of two campaigns on the basketball hardwood, before eventually graduating from another school, and she remains one of the truly special athletes to pass through the CHS hallways.

Through wins and losses, through good times and bad, Kalia was a firecracker, capable of bringing a stadium full of fans to its feet, or drop-kicking a pesky rival halfway across the field.

When she was on the basketball court, she was a ferocious ballhawk, constantly nipping, bobbing and weaving, and driving ballhandlers crazy with her quick hands, fast feet, and chippy on-court personality.

Kalia came to win, every day, and she was vocal about it, not backing down from anyone as she slapped her thighs and implored those around her to rise up with her.

That part of her personality carried over to the soccer pitch, where she lived and died for the game for many years.

Kalia spent a great deal of her young womanhood traveling back and forth across the state, and often much further away, as she and older sister Mia chased a 24/7/365 soccer life.

Mia and Kalia, a formidable sister duo. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Once free of the car, and unleashed on the field, she ran wild, golden leg drilling goals into all corners of the net, while often wielding her arms like weapons, clearing space and laying down the law.

“I wish a fool would…”

She might not have said it out loud, but Kalia played with a rare confidence, and a raging fire in her gut.

Off the pitch, she was a super-friendly, easy-going young woman, a smile almost always present as she bopped though life to her own funky tune.

But once she stepped between the lines, the beast emerged and it was often beautiful to behold.

The team on the other side of the pitch might have worn jerseys with big-city names on them, but frankly, Kalia couldn’t have cared less.

Or, at least that’s the impression I had.

She believed in her own talent, was more than willing to outwork, outhustle, and outmuscle anyone in her way, and earned the strut in her step.

Unleash the beast. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

While on the CHS pitch, Kalia rattled home 33 goals across three seasons, second-best in Wolf girls soccer history only to Mia’s 35 tallies.

The lil’ sis racked up numbers with remarkable consistency, leading the team in scoring as a freshman and junior.

The only Wolf girl to notch single-season double-digit scoring totals twice during their prep career (Mia and Genna Wright did it once each), Kalia rarely settled for pedestrian goals.

She would launch fireballs which blazed across the fading prairie sunlight.

Curl wicked sliders which dipped and dove around bodies before hitting pay-dirt.

And, sometimes, when the mood struck, Kalia would simply crush the ball with the intensity of someone genuinely trying to see if they could pop the darn thing.

She was feisty. Combative. Electrifying.

And, always … ALWAYS … worth the price of admission.

Today we welcome Kalia into the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame, where she joins several family members, and it’s an induction long overdue.

When you look under the Legends tab at the top of the blog after this, that’s where you’ll find her, most likely rippin’ up the joint and earning all the applause.

Kalia has always been much more than just an athlete, and remains a bright, blazing star as she navigates post-high school life.

With her drive, her commitment, and her strength, she will be a success at whatever path she chooses. Of that, I have no doubt.

But, while she’s always looking forward, the rest of us will pause for a moment and look back in awe and appreciation.

Thank you, Kalia. You were a ton of fun to watch, and write about.

Superstar. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

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Lauren Bayne, a Hall o’ Famer in every way. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

She is class, personified.

Owner of a big brain, a strong work ethic, and a killer instinct when engaged in athletic battle, Lauren Bayne never asked for the spotlight, never screamed for recognition.

She just went out, kicked some fanny (almost always while radiating great joy), then ambled off to support her teammates, friends, and classmates.

Lauren was a pro’s pro, and, like older brother Josh, let the results largely speak for themselves.

She carried herself with calmness, grace, a quiet strength … and great class, always.

Three years after Lauren’s graduation from Coupeville High School, a look back at her Wolf athletic career reveals she accomplished much.

As a middle schooler, she played volleyball and basketball with panache, while also competing in gymnastics.

Once she stepped through the doors of CHS, Lauren locked on to soccer and track, however, playing four years in both sports.

On the soccer pitch, she was a calming influence on her squad, rising to captain status, and earning that distinction multiple times over.

Bayne and fellow Wolf soccer captain Sage Renninger enjoy Senior Night festivities. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Lauren did the dirty work, and did it with a spring in her step, anchoring the Wolf defense — a unit which gelled around her.

She would not be pushed around on the field, fighting for every 50/50 ball, constantly encouraging her back line mates to fight with the same conviction she always showed.

Through it all, what lingered longest was the class she showed, as when she hailed her teammates in her Senior Night speech.

“Our little soccer family is the best, and I’m so glad to have become friends with everyone and to get to play with you,” Lauren said in the moment.

“Most of all, my defenders, we have worked our butts off and the new defensive line this year has been killer.

“So, kisses to my back line!”

Lauren’s strength, her inner fire, and her class were all on display during her days in Coupeville’s track and field program, as well.

Bayne and Danny Conlisk, state track meet veterans. (Dawnelle Conlisk photo)

Never afraid to try something new, she competed in 11 different events over the course of four seasons — jumping, throwing, and running with wild abandon.

There was little Lauren wouldn’t try, as she ran on relay teams, tried distance running, did a sprint or two, and hurled throwing implements into the great wide open.

And she was good, often really good, in whatever she tried.

During her CHS track career, Lauren registered wins in the high jump, 3200, triple jump, and 4 x 400.

Twice she qualified for state, making it to the big dance in the high jump as a junior, before making a return trip to Cheney as a javelin thrower during her senior season.

In her final moments as a high school athlete, Lauren went out with a bang, setting a PR in the javelin and putting an emphatic stamp on her prep days.

Her throw, which smashed down onto the Eastern Washington University turf after traveling 109 feet, two inches, was almost 10 feet better than the best throw by any other Wolf girl over the past decade.

The queen of the booster club’s crab feed fundraiser. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Then, she moved on, off to see what adventures awaited off-Island, ready to amaze and inspire while chasing real-life dreams.

Whatever path Lauren follows in her post-CHS days, I am confident she will find great success.

She is smart, kind, very strong, and always willing to put in the work. Plus super-classy, if we haven’t already mentioned that multiple times.

Back here in Cow Town Lauren will be remembered for all she accomplished, and the manner in which she reached her goals.

Today, she joins her brother, Josh, in the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame, welcomed into our lil’ digital shrine.

From now on, when you pop up to the top of the blog and look under the Legends tab, you’ll find her hanging out there.

A class act who deserves everything good which comes her way.

Always reaching for the stars. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

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