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Archive for the ‘Hall o’ Fame’ Category

Hannah Davidson joins her friends in the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Her destiny was always to be a Wolf.

A family move to California pulled Hannah Davidson away for a bit.

But then, like a Valkyrie arriving on the battle field, she returned to Whidbey and reunited with her childhood friends and teammates.

After accomplishing great things with her Coupeville pack — Scout Smith, Maya Toomey-Stout, Emma Mathusek, Avalon Renninger, and many more — Hannah is killing it in college, but always connected to Cow Town through our memories.

And today, she rejoins her friends, inducted into the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame, forever immortalized for her play and her heart.

When you bounce up to the top of the blog, you’ll find Hannah hanging out under the Legends tab, a worthy spot for a very-talented young woman.

She made her first big impact (on the local sports scene at least) as a key member of a Central Whidbey Little League Juniors softball squad which battered foes while winning a league title and compiling a 13-3 record.

Younger versions of (left to right) Emma Mathusek, Scout Smith, Davidson, and Maya Toomey-Stout. (Charlotte Young photo)

Those young Wolves, featuring a 10-woman roster pulled together at the very last second, were a run-scoring machine, outgunning their rivals 185-85.

Hannah swung a big bat for that squad, while also playing nimble defense at first base, as showcased in the season finale.

Facing off with Anacortes, its arch-nemesis, Central Whidbey clung to a late lead when a throw to first, with runners on base, went wayward.

Not letting the play end there, Hannah alertly whirled, as the base coach behind her lurched backwards, lost control and did an awkward, but very entertaining, half-cartwheel.

Snagging the skittering ball as it ricocheted back up off the edge of the dirt, she spun and pegged a flawless throw to second base.

Staying low and blocking the bag in anticipation, Mathusek was exactly where she needed to be, slapping the tag on one very surprised incoming runner to end the inning.

That calmness under pressure and ability to pull off top-notch plays while fitting her skill-set into her team’s needs benefited Hannah greatly during her high school days.

She was an All-Conference player in two sports as a senior during the 2019-2020 school year, helping CHS volleyball and basketball teams achieve great success.

On the volleyball court, Hannah was a masher with an often surprisingly light touch around the net.

Hannah and Emma rejoice in a volleyball win. (Brian Vick photo)

She could come in hot and wail the ball off the back line, or off a rival girl’s shoulder, but she was also deadly with her tips.

Bouncing on her toes, ready to go in either direction, then finish with power or precision, Hannah was a boon to her teammates, and a danger to opposing defenses.

As a senior, she helped lead the Wolf spikers to one of the best seasons in program history.

Coupeville capped Cory Whitmore’s fourth season as coach by opening 7-0.

Losing only to state powerhouse King’s during the regular season, the Wolves finished 14-5, tying the program record for wins and narrowly missing a trip to state.

Jump forward to basketball season, and Hannah was a player who could give you something different each night, depending on the opponent and what would benefit the Wolves most.

First she sucks in the defense, then she beats it with a crisp pass. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

She used her natural height and strength to pound the boards, pulling down rebounds on both ends of the floor, was a strong passer, and was never shy when it came to sacrificing herself on defense.

With the ball, Hannah was a complementary scorer, one who raised her season scoring totals in each of her three campaigns on the CHS varsity.

Playing alongside sharpshooters such as Chelsea Prescott and Ema Smith, bulldog creators like Scout Smith, and open floor weapons in Mikayla Elfrank and Lindsey Roberts, she still finished as the #88 scorer in program history.

Not bad, considering Wolf girls have played hoops since 1974.

While Hannah never played softball in high school, she did put in a season of track and field as a sophomore, tossing the discus and javelin.

She had six top-four finishes, including a 1st place performance in the javelin at a home meet, and successfully advanced to the postseason in both events.

Through it all, regardless of the sport, Hannah embraced her teammates, and seemed to deeply enjoy her time as an athlete competing with her tight-knit group of friends.

I’m sure she would have done well in Cali, if that had been her destiny, but it’s especially nice that she got the opportunity to return to Coupeville and be with her sisters from other misters.

Smart and strong, confident and caring, Hannah has been a visible inspiration to her brothers, two of whom are already following her trail as Wolf athletes.

As she pursues her college studies in Boise, the milestones will keep coming.

Athletically, academically, and in real life, Hannah is a bright, shining example of a young woman striving to be the best she can be, in every way.

Once a Wolf, always a Wolf.

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Zoe Trujillo, the newest member of the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

She made it look effortless.

Even if I know it wasn’t.

I know she worked hard behind the scenes, just like her sister. Her family has always embraced hard work, sacrifice, and commitment.

But when Zoe Trujillo played, she made it look effortless.

Sporting killer socks, a young Zoe eyeballs her rivals on the basketball court.

It’s not always easy to be the younger sister, to follow the path laid down by an older sibling, especially if that person was a one-of-a-kind athlete and human being.

But Zoe Trujillo, like big sis Valen, always rose to the moment.

Put her next to a volleyball net, place her on a tennis court, or drop her into the world of track and field, and the little sister crafted her own highlight reel, made her own memories.

Zoe was lethal when unleashed, gracefully twirling into the air, pausing for a second or two in mid-flight to survey the scene on the other side of the net, then ripping off a laser of a spike.

She was a big hitter and a big part of the success of a Coupeville High School volleyball program which never finished lower than second-place in league during her four years on campus.

Her senior season in the fall of 2019 was a particular highlight, for the Wolves and for Zoe.

Led by an eight-pack of seniors, including the younger of the Trujillo sisters, CHS opened 7-0, went 13-2 in the regular season (losing only to state power King’s) and finished 14-5.

Narrowly missing out on a trip to state, those Wolves tied the program’s record for wins.

Some of the biggest moments, the ones which provided the most bang for the ticket buyer’s buck, came when Zoe elevated and smashed.

Zoe and Maddie Vondrak get down with their bad selves.

It was there, in those displays of crackling power and shimmering intensity, where she made the gym walls rock and mom Amy bounce happily in her seat.

Dad Craig spent a lot of his time toeing a line down on the floor, and, as a properly impartial linesman, had to pretend to be impassive when his younger daughter whistled a winner past his shoe.

It was only after the set or the match was complete, and he had returned to dad status up in the bleachers, that he beamed like a lightbulb powering up, glowing with the pride which his daughters brought out in him.

Zoe played a different position than Valen on the volleyball floor, the former an outside hitter, the latter a libero.

But both always carried themselves with a quiet grace, filled with a burning intensity, but always calm, composed, and attentive to the words of their coaches and the feelings of their teammates.

That carried over to the tennis court, where Zoe swatted her shots in a manner which, and stop me if you’ve heard this before — often looked effortless.

Zoe flicks a winner on a rainy spring afternoon.

She was a nimble player, mixing power with a nice touch, and advanced to districts as a young doubles player, before stepping away from the sport.

There was also a stint with the CHS track team as a sophomore, where she threw the javelin, competed in the long jump and triple jump, and ran in both the 200 and 4 x 100 relay.

While she never played basketball in high school, much like her older sister, Zoe showed promise on the hardwood during her middle school days.

But it was volleyball which lured her in, captivated her, and let her express herself best across six seasons in a Wolf uniform.

Through some of the biggest wins and toughest losses in program history, Zoe soared and delighted.

When she left the floor after her final prep match, she was taller, stronger, more confident, more polished than she had been when she first pulled on a Coupeville uniform.

But, from the earliest days as a middle school athlete to her senior swan song, one thing remained the same — Zoe was always, without fail, a class act.

Today, we’re revisiting her days as a Wolf, because we’re about to welcome her into the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame.

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

Inducted for her talent, her temperament, her grace, her humility, and for her heart, Zoe joins Valen in our digital shrine — two sisters who worked their own magic, in their own way.

Each chose a path, accomplished great things along the way, and are now off to top those school-day achievements with success in the adult world.

Zoe never coasted on the value of her last name or on the talent she was born with.

She worked for everything, and she earned everything.

Even if she did made it look effortless.

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Raven (left) and Willow Vick – bright, shining superstars. (Maria Reyes photo)

Kindness matters.

Long after the memories of their high school athletic achievements fade, Willow and Raven Vick will be remembered for the grace they showed others.

Through their schools days in Coupeville, from little tots to whip-smart high school grads, the twins amazed and dazzled.

As they grew up, they each found their own path, forged their own personalities, reached their own goals.

But, together or apart, they have one thing very much in common — the way they treat those around them, in good times and bad.

Willow and Raven benefit from having great parents, and Brian and Maria have much to be proud of when they watch their daughters.

That extends to the community which has helped shape them, and been shaped, in a very positive way, by the duo.

As they have followed their path through Cow Town, the Vick sisters have excelled in the classroom, in the music world, and on the sports field.

Always up for a photo shoot with dad. (Brian Vick photo)

They both played volleyball, finishing their prep careers as part of a highly-successful Wolf team which tied the program record for wins a year ago.

Coupeville started 12-1, won 14 matches in all, and claimed its fourth-straight top-two league finish and 10+ win season.

Along the way, the Wolves benefited from Raven’s crackling serves and Willow’s hustle and heart.

While the Vicks were denied a senior track and field season by the COVID-19 shutdown, they both took advantage of their time at the oval in previous seasons.

Raven celebrates after a successful track meet. (Brian Vick photo)

As a junior, Raven threw the shot put, discus, and javelin, competing in the league championships in all three events, and making it to bi-districts in the latter event.

Willow rounded out what would turn out to be her final track season by vying in the discus and javelin as well, along with performances in the 1600 and long jump.

And, like her sister, she qualified for the North Sound Conference Championships in three events.

Earlier in her track career, Willow, who also played for a Central Whidbey Little League juniors softball squad which went 13-3, made a splash.

As a freshman, she bounded past the competition to claim the title in the high jump at the Olympic League JV Championships.

Willow, ready to crank it. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

So, there’s ribbons, and memories, and moments which mattered to Willow and Raven, and to their family, and to their fans.

Add in all the high points in the classroom and with a musical instrument in hand, and you have a pair of young women who exemplify a lot of really great attributes.

They’re strong, they’re committed, they’re smart, they carry themselves with a sense of grace.

But, and in a world where things are out of sorts and 10,000 different versions of suck, Willow and Raven are kind.

Not because they have to be, but because they want to be.

I have seen it in public, with how they interact with their teammates on the court and around the track oval, and I have seen it in private, while sharing a car with them while driving back from volleyball postseason tournaments.

They are the same serene spirits when people are watching, and when they aren’t, and that goes a long way to why I have been so impressed with the twins.

So today, as the duo jointly celebrate their 19th birthday, I want to give back at least a little to them by inducting them into the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame.

After this, if you pop up to the top of the blog, under the Legends tab, you’ll find them there.

Our Hall of Fame, since it’s picked by one person, has no set rules for who gets through the doors.

Sometimes, selection is for awe-inspiring play and big stats. Other times, it’s for being the absolute best you can be, in whatever way you can be.

Willow and Raven make Coupeville a better place. It’s as simple as that.

Through their actions over the years, the twins have soared as high as any prep athletes I have written about, and I know, without a doubt, their accomplishments in the future will likely be extraordinary.

So, Miss Vick, and Miss Vick, thank you.

Thank you for choosing to reach for greatness, and for always being the best of what Coupeville has to offer.

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Emma Puharic (right), with aunt Beth Tristao.

Always be humble and kind.

And passionate, and committed, and hard-working, and brave, and smart, and an overall truly lovely human being.

In short, be like Emma Puharic.

The Coupeville High School grad, who was a four-year player for the Wolf softball program before heading out into the adult world, is a bright, shining example of the best of what Cow Town can offer.

I worked with Emma for several years at Christopher’s on Whidbey, and knew her from before through my days at Videoville.

Waitressing in a high-volume, sometimes high-stress restaurant environment is one of the tougher jobs you will find.

With Christopher’s smack-dab in the heart of festival land, be it mussels, water, or arts ‘n crafts being celebrated, Emma was on the front line.

What is remarkable is she never bent, never broke, the rare person who could still be humming to herself, smile intact, after brutal shifts.

If people were kind to her, she was kind back to them.

But, if they were rude to her, she was … kind back to them.

Regardless of age, attitude, or the size of the possible tip, Emma listened, she had a kind word for all, and she hustled her rear off, never letting them see her sweat (or get pissed in public).

Almost universally, even the toughest customer left the restaurant with a smile after encountering her.

Then, after closing, when most of her coworkers would sit around and (rightfully) complain about the indignities of restaurant life, Emma would flash the ol’ megawatt smile, say “See you tomorrow,” and head out with a bounce in her step.

She had things to do, and places to be, and marinating in self-pity was never high on her list.

It is an attitude which has carried her far in her 28+ years on the planet.

Beloved by her CHS classmates, Wolf teammates, and anyone who ever worked with her, Emma has gone on to spread joy to every place she visits.

Her greatest impact may be on the students she taught while working in the Federal Way school system.

Back in 2016, Emma popped this up on Facebook and it remains one of the best posts to ever grace that social network:

I just got through to the toughest kid at my school, who every teacher and administrator dreads.

He now knows division and LIKES it.

I’d say today is a success.

Emma Puharic, changing lives and putting a smile on the face of the world since 1992.

That’s carried over to all aspects of her life, where she has been one of the most deeply-committed former Wolves when it comes to fighting for the equality of all.

Now, this is a sports blog (mostly), so when we induct Emma into the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame today, it will officially be as a softball player.

Puharic, fourth from left in back row, during her senior season at CHS. (Shelli Trumbull photo)

She was an outfielder, one who brought a good bat and mitt to the game, but, more importantly, a great attitude.

Emma enjoyed her four years in the red and black, something captured when I interviewed her a few years after graduation for a “where are they now?” story she insisted didn’t really need to be written.

She agreed only after I told her the story was mainly for her former teammates, the young women who she played with, and held dear.

“I enjoyed being around my friends and getting the chance to get off-Island and travel with my teammates,” she said at the time. “I also liked meeting the younger girls each season that I am still friends with today.

“I’ve learned that it’s important to remember the friendships you’ve made through sports and high school.

“I still talk to most of my friends that I had in school and I’m so glad that we are all still close.”

As I mentioned above, Emma enters our Hall of Fame today, inducted as a softball player, but really for being a remarkable human being who just happened to play some ball back in the day.

After this, you’ll find her hanging around up at the top of the blog under the Legends tab.

Emma deserves far more — all the positive recognition in the world — and I hope she gets it every day from those around her.

For the moment, though, let’s be at the front of the line when it comes to telling her how awesome she is in our eyes.

Thank you, Emma, for being bold, for protecting others, for always looking for the positive in a flawed world.

You make the universe a better place.

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Jack McFadyen with his children, Jason and Aleshia. (All photos courtesy McFadyen family)

He was a decent man.

In a world where so many are not, I can think of no better way to describe Jack McFadyen.

The Navy brought him to Whidbey Island, along with wife Carmen, the spice to his sugar, and the couple spent decades helping make Coupeville a better place.

I arrived on The Rock in ’89 and first came to know of the duo during my early newspaper freelance days.

Later, in the fall of ’94, I walked into Videoville, and vowed to never leave my movie cocoon again.

Well, made it to 2006, which is a good run.

During those 12 years, my appreciation for the McFadyen family and the man who stood at the center of things, grew by leaps and bounds.

Pops with the grandkids a few years back.

Jack was a frequent visitor, with family and alone, sometimes to get movies, and sometimes just to hang out and class the joint up.

He was a rarity, a man who could softly needle you, then, with a huge smile, make the person he was talking to know he loved them.

And I mean that last part.

Some people are friendly, are easy-going, brighten the day of everyone they meet.

Jack went beyond that.

When he left the store, there would be a moment when you realized he really, truly loved others.

His family meant everything to him, but friend or stranger, Jack welcomed all with an embrace, whether physical or in words, which elevated all who were touched by it.

You had to be a pretty big ass for Jack to not like you.

Thankfully, as far as I know, I always stayed on his good side — even if he hated a movie I recommended — and, for that, I am grateful.

In the time between the days when he cheered his kids, Aleshia and Jason, as they wore the red and black of CHS, to my entrance into video store life, Jack was diagnosed with laryngeal cancer.

That meant he lost his larynx and used a “voice box” to speak.

It can’t have been easy, but Jack, every time I saw him, used that as a positive.

He thought it was hilarious to come up behind people at the video store counter, especially young children, and then speak with his “robot voice.”

The kids would have to be scraped off the ceiling, and then, after a great bout of chuckling, Jack would use the opportunity to tell the whippersnappers why they shouldn’t follow his path as a smoker.

His words, given with love, had a measurable impact.

The eyes of the children widened (and more than a few parents suddenly discovered someone in the store was chopping onions) and you knew this was a lesson few would forget.

Now, no one is perfect, and Jack was a deeply-committed Husky football fan, when we know Cougars rule, and the U-Dub drools.

But we’ll overlook that fact.

He was a kind and loving man, one concerned with the lives and well-being of all around him.

He served his country with great honor and distinction.

He was, and always will be, a treasured part of my Videoville memories.

Today, he joins the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame, inducted as a Contributor, remembered for his enduring passion as a Wolf fan and supporter, and as an integral part of our community.

After this, when you wander past the Legends tab at the top of the blog, you’ll find him hanging out, along with son Jason and a whole lot of people who would agree with the final sentence of this story.

Love you, Jack.

Carmen and Jack.

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