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Archive for the ‘Happy birthday’ Category

"What do you mean no more birthday stories?!?!" (John Fisken photo)

“What do you mean no more birthday stories?!?!” (John Fisken photo)

Hey, you still get cake, and that’s all that matters, am I right?

Effective today, I’m tapping out on one small part of Coupeville Sports, and that’s writing up birthday stories for Wolf athletes.

It’s not personal, just the opposite.

What started as a one-time thing for a kid who I’ve known all their life turned into a regular part of the blog, and I’m glad I did it.

But, after much thought, I have to take a break.

For two reasons.

One, birthdays and the Hall of Fame are the two side projects which take the most time and effort from me, and I’m choosing to put the focus on the inductions right now.

Secondly, and this is the bigger reason, it’s become harder to make sure every Wolf athlete gets their just due.

I use Facebook to keep me alerted on birthdays, but not every CHS athlete is on the site, and, if they are, I’m not connected to each and every one of them.

Which means people are being missed, and, while I personally know they weren’t intentionally frozen out, it would be easy, and understandable, for the athlete whose birthday goes unmentioned to feel that way.

Driving by CHS and seeing someone’s birthday plastered on the rock outside the gym, realizing that birthday was three days before, and knowing I never wrote a story (cause I had no clue) is a little dispiriting.

That kid is working just as hard, or harder, than the athletes who have gotten stories and if they feel like they got ignored or slighted, I wouldn’t argue the point.

So, as of today, no more birthday stories here on Coupeville Sports.

I will certainly wish you happy birthday on Facebook or Twitter (and probably go a little further for those who I actually have some history with) or say something in person.

It just won’t happen here on the blog itself.

Which will free me up a bit to do more feature stories about the very same athletes, focus on the Hall and watch old episodes of Top Chef when I should be writing.

OK, mostly watch Top Chef

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Chelsea Prescott (John Fisken photo)

Chelsea Prescott will terminate you. (John Fisken photo)

She is the future, and the future looks pretty dang impressive.

When you look at middle school athletes and try and forecast how they will do at the high school level, it’s always a bit tricky.

A million little things can change, and the kid who was a star at one level never hits it as big at the next, or the kid you never saw coming grows into a superstar.

But let me say this — I’m betting the farm on Chelsea Prescott.

The Coupeville Middle School 8th grader, who hits the big 1-4 today, reminds me a lot of Lindsey Roberts, who, as a CHS sophomore, is currently on target to earn the maximum 12 athletic letters.

Having watched Chelsea play volleyball and basketball at CMS, and both baseball and softball with Central Whidbey Little League, she’s the real deal.

As a spiker, she lashed one serve that (literally) exploded a rival player’s face, sending blood spraying and ensuring no one on the other team will ever want to come back to Coupeville.

Fear the Wolf. That’s a good thing, I say.

On the hard wood, Prescott is a scoring machine who already has a confidence rare at the middle school level, and on the diamond, she’s the complete package, whether pitching or playing short stop.

Chelsea has power, speed, hits with a rare aggression and, again, possesses quiet confidence.

And that is why I think she will be successful at whatever sports she plays at the next level, because she is confident, yet not egotistical, plays to win and is quick to work with her teammates and even quicker to listen to her coaches.

She’s also 14 years old, and I don’t want to put too much pressure on her.

I hope she has a phenomenal prep career (makes for better stories for me) but I hope, more importantly, that Chelsea continues to enjoy herself.

That she gets out of sports what she wants, but that she is also successful in every other part of her life.

From the stands, she comes across as a low-key, friendly young woman, one with a strong, supportive family. I think that bodes well for her future, as an athlete, a student, and a person.

As she celebrates her birthday today, I just want to chime in with my own well wishes.

It has been a treat to watch you play so far, and I look forward to watching your future successes unfold, whether they be on or off the athletic stage.

Happy birthday, Miss Prescott.

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Maddy Hilkey (John Fisken photos)

   Maddy Hilkey lines up a free throw during basketball practice. (John Fisken photo)

(Konni Smith photo)

   Hilkey hangs out with volleyball buddies (l to r) Emma Smith, Kailey Kellner and Ashley Menges. (Konni Smith photo)

Lindsey and Maddy (John Fisken photos)

Huggin’ it out with Lindsey Roberts. (Fisken photo)

You can tell a lot about a person by how they treat their friends.

In my time covering her middle school and high school sports events, Maddy Hilkey’s actions have spoken loudly.

She has a tight-knit bunch of super-close friends, another couple of layers of really good friends, and a bunch of other people she interacts with while playing volleyball and basketball for the Wolves.

To those of us in the stands, Maddy has always come across as a genuinely warm, likable young woman, and that is evident every day in how she treats those friends.

I have rarely seen a photo (and she pops up in a lot of sports photos) where she is not smiling, especially when she is interacting with her teammates.

Hilkey is a talented athlete, a very strong volleyball player who will be a key for CHS the next two years, and a scrappy ball-hawk on the hard court who delights her coaches with every new bruise she proudly wears.

But it is Maddy the person, the strong, smart, confident young woman who treats her friends with kindness and love, that is ultimately more important than Maddy the athlete.

We pull for her more, cheer for her accomplishments more, feel greater happiness for her successes because she is a wonderful young woman in every aspect of her life.

Her parents, Emrie and Travis, should be very proud of who she is, and who she is becoming.

A great older sister, a strong student, and someone who brightens the day of those both in her inner circle and those out on the edge.

Maddy is celebrating her 16th birthday tonight by playing in a basketball game.

It would be nice to say it was a home game, but the Coupeville girls are enduring the schedule from Hell, and she will, instead, be at North Mason as the Wolves play their eighth straight road game.

While that’s not ideal, knowing her coaches, they will do something for Maddy.

And that will be kind of fitting, celebrating her arrival in the world with her teammates and friends.

As she does so, we all want to say happy birthday, Miss Hilkey.

May your special day be as amazing as you are.

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Hope "The Surgeon" Lodell, getting ready to carve up anyone who dares step to her. (John Fisken photos)

   Hope “The Surgeon” Lodell, getting ready to carve up anyone who dares step to her. (John Fisken photo)

Lodell, at work and rest.

Lodell, at work and rest. (Fisken and Lodell family photos)

Like Heath Ledger in "A Knight's Tale," Lodell will rock you. (Mike Lodell photo)

Like Heath Ledger in “A Knight’s Tale,” she will rock you. (Mike Lodell photo)

Put on your hip waders, because I’m about to gush.

There is no finer athlete at Coupeville High School right now than Hope Lodell, both in raw physical skill and character.

Miss Lodell, who turns 17 today, is the rare Wolf athlete who I have literally known since the moment they popped into the world.

I knew her parents, Mike and Rebecca, as well as her older brother, Noah, long before Hope showed up on Jan. 10, 2000, and I have been lucky enough to have seen her grow up into a truly remarkable young woman.

Toss out the sports (we’ll come back to them in a few moments) and this is an extraordinary human being, in every way.

Hope is a walking, talking ray of sunshine every day, one of the warmest, friendliest, most outgoing people you will ever know.

She shows compassion and love to all those around her, and it is returned.

Brainy, driven, a young woman with a laser focus who wants to become a surgeon one day, she excels in the classroom and out of it.

When I say she has extraordinary raw physical skills, it extends far beyond the playing field.

Lodell is the kind of person who will do a headstand and walk around on her hands for long periods of time, or fire off a string of pull-ups on the CHS softball dugout to pass the time during a rain delay.

Put her in a uniform and she is a fireball.

Personally, I miss watching her rampage around the basketball court, causing havoc, but she’s strong-willed and if she’s chosen volleyball and softball as her art forms these days, who am I argue?

On the diamond, she is a slap-hitting artiste who can also pull the bat back and unleash holy heck on opposing hurlers, blasting epic home runs with a flick of her mighty, mighty biceps.

A speed demon who runs the bases extremely well, she essentially plays all three outfield spots for Coupeville, even though she starts in center field.

More than once (like two or three hundred times) I’ve witnessed Hope chase down balls deep in left or right field — without breaking a sweat — or come crashing in to spear a ball over an infielder’s head.

Put her on a volleyball court, and she has worked her way into being a truly deadly weapon.

This fall, she was a crucial part of a Wolf squad that put together the program’s best season in a decade-plus, and Lodell attacked from all angles.

A big hitter up front, when played there, she teamed up with Valen Trujillo to anchor Coupeville’s serve return game, and when she served herself, it was (violent) poetry in motion.

Not only did she set a single-season record for aces, her mark eclipsed what had been the previous Wolf CAREER record.

Jumping, twisting, hopping, unleashing rockets that were rarely returned (and then generally straight into the net or out of play), Hope was like a gunfighter, stalking main street, every serve being put up at high noon.

As she celebrates her birthday today, Lodell is pure class, a young woman who lights up this world in her own unique fashion.

Hopey, you are as good as it gets, and everyone that has been blessed to know you and see your life unfold so far thinks the world of you.

I have no doubt this is but the very tip of all you will do with your skill and passion.

One day, after the entire world has come to realize just how truly awesome you are, as an athlete, as a braniac, as a kind, caring woman, those of us who were here at the start will just nod and say, “Yep, told you so.”

I hope you know how much we all think of you, how much we respect you, how thrilled we are to see you taking over the world.

Happy birthday to my favorite Wolf.

May you never stop finding new arenas to conquer, Hope.

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Kiara Burdge

Kiara Burdge

Kiara Burdge is popular. Very popular.

The Coupeville High School senior, cheer captain, Homecoming Queen and all-around force of nature was the single most searched person on my blog in 2016.

And it wasn’t even close.

When you top Makana Stone and Hunter Smith, combined, people apparently are very, very interested in you.

And why not?

Kiara, who celebrates her birthday today, her final one as a high school student/athlete, has been one of the most impressive young women I have covered in my time pounding the keyboard here at Coupeville Sports.

Like her older sister, Kylie, she was seemingly born to be a cheerleader.

School spirit flows from her, Kiara can seemingly control an overflowing crowd with a single arch of an eyebrow, and she has every attribute you would want to see in a captain.

She leads by example, but she is also quick to reach out to her fellow cheerleaders, offering a quiet word or a smile of encouragement.

Away from the cheer world, Miss Burdge has always been one of the friendliest people in Wolf Nation, a kind, warm young woman who excels in the classroom and the real world.

Kiara comes from a large family — she has three siblings and parents Aaron and Trina — and she seems utterly devoted to each and every one of her relatives.

The Burdges are deeply committed to their Mormon faith, something they all reflect in their daily lives, and part of my respect for Kiara is seeing, from a distance, how she lives in her faith.

Everything I have seen, everything I have heard, over the past four years, reflects well on her, and I say, with a great deal of confidence, that she is truly one of the classiest athletes we have ever had in Coupeville.

She’s a few months away from graduation, so this is the final birthday article I’ll be writing for her.

Before she goes I just want to take a moment to wish her the best, today and every day.

Your future is as bright as it could be, Kiara, and I have no doubt whatsoever you will continue to impress all around you in the years to come.

I hope that you know, on the good days and the bad, that you are blessed, being part of a large, loving family — at home, at school and in your church.

That you have given so much of yourself, to your school, your team and your community, is admirable.

Thank you for being you, from all of us.

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