Archive for the ‘Middle School’ Category

Dylan Robinett was one of 13 Coupeville Middle School athletes to participate in an intramural cross country season. (Jackie Saia photo)

Ayden Wyman slashes through the woods. (Teagan Calkins photo)

Solomon Rudat is ready to run. (Saia photo)

Cross country is booming in Coupeville.

And a large part of that success comes from having a go-get-’em coach running things.

Right before segueing into her new job running the CHS harrier program, Elizabeth Bitting wrapped up an intramural season for Wolf middle school athletes.

While the pandemic is preventing CMS from competing against other rivals this school year, that hasn’t stopped Bitting from preaching the love of getting off your duff and moving those legs.

Under her tutelage, 13 CMS runners participated in part or all of a race series she set up.

The goal was to count the best three times for each athlete over the course of four races.

The race circuit, dubbed “Kemmer’s Course,” started near the CHS baseball field parking lot, then wound its way down the Kettles trail, before finishing its 1.4-mile length over by the football field scoreboard.

Nine of 13 Wolves ran in the final race, with six of them setting PR’s.

Whether they ran in one race, or all four, all 13 Wolves drew praise from their coach.

“Thank you all for participating during this intramural cross-country season,” Bitting said. “It wasn’t ideal, but you sure did make the best of it!

“I am so proud of each and every one of you. The support, encouragement and unity you gave one another showed so much maturity.

“I hope you all continue to participate in sports with the enthusiasm and passion you’ve shown during this time.”


Wolves who completed the series:
(First time is for series, second time for final race; * = PR)


1st – Ayden Wyman – 35:48 (11:36*)
2nd – Gabby Gebhard – 36:02
3rd – Bryley Gilbert – 40:13 (12:43*)
4th – Ivy Rudat – 46:33


1st – Carson Field – 30:04 (9:12*)
2nd – Nic Wasik – 30:59 (10:15)
3rd – Thomas Strelow – 32:47 (10:09*)
4th – Solomon Rudat – 35:57
5th – Dylan Robinett – 40:33 (14:38)


Others who ran in the final race:

Jack Porter – 9:56*
Johnny Porter – 10:33*
Matthew Gilbert – 14:48


Savina Wells also participated, but due to an injury could not complete the series or final race.

Her best time was 12:50, an improvement of 46 seconds from her first race.

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Ivy Rudat leads off a collection of Coupeville Middle School cross country photos. (Portraits by Jackie Saia, action shots by Teagan Calkins)

Cross country is booming in Cow Town.

Year three of the comeback is starting off strongly for Coupeville’s harrier programs, both at the high school and middle school levels.

While the pandemic is preventing CMS runners from competing this school year against rivals from other towns, the young Wolves are still putting in miles and burning up trails in intramural action.

The photos above and below are courtesy Jackie Saia, who shot the portraits, and Teagan Calkins, who lurked in the woods to capture the action shots.

Dylan Robinett

Bryley Gilbert

Solomon Rudat

Thomas Strelow

Ayden Wyman

Savina Wells

Johnny Porter

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CMS spikers such as Mia Farris won’t get to play matches against other schools this school year, but they can still play. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Hope is not lost.

While it appears most Coupeville Middle School sports programs will remain shut down through the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year, volleyball players are being offered an outlet.

Wolves currently in grades 6-8 at CMS can participate in intramurals from March 2 to April 1, at no cost.

The CHS/CMS coaching staff, led by head coach Cory Whitmore, will hold practice/game nights Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday each week.

Each session is from 4-6 PM in the high school and middle school gym.

Coupeville schools are not charging any fees for athletics or activities this school year, but state health department guidelines require all participants wear a mask.

To sign-up, pop over to:

CMS Volleyball – 2021 Registration (google.com)

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There won’t be any league basketball games for Coupeville Middle School students like Lyla Stuurmans this school year. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

It will likely be a lost year.

While Coupeville High School sports teams continue to work towards a possible return to play during the COVID-19 pandemic, it appears that middle school athletes won’t have the same chances.

CHS/CMS Athletic Director Willie Smith announced Wednesday that he and other league officials have agreed to “make the difficult decision to postpone any official league games this year except for a possible track and field season later in the year.”

During a normal school year — which this is certainly not — CMS athletes would also compete in volleyball, girls and boys cross country, girls and boys basketball, and boys soccer.

Smith said there were many factors considered before the decision to cancel was made.

“The spread of our league schools in counties makes it difficult for any consistent plan in creating equitable playing opportunities,” he said.

“We are split into two separate regions and if half can play and others can’t, is that equitable, and we decided it was not.”

With regions across the state in vastly different places in terms of number of COVID cases and hospitalizations, plans to return students to in-person learning are often radically different from school to school.

Add on the crush of schools possibly trying to play shortened high school seasons, and it became too much.

“The differing plans for return to school for our middle school students is widely varied and transporting middle school students to and from practices, let alone games, would fall mainly upon our parents and we didn’t think that was feasible or equitable for all students,” Smith said.

“We were (also) concerned about field/gym/site availability, as well as a real concern about the availability of officials.”

While the news is certainly downbeat, there is some hope, however.

Smith has worked relentlessly to find ways to get his student athletes back in action, taking advantage of the state opening up the ability to practice.

He and the AD’s for the Oak Harbor and South Whidbey school districts are discussing the possibility of creating a three-team local league for the short term.

“It is very early in the planning stages,” Smith said. “Regardless of the outcome of this, I am also going to be working with our middle school coaches and administration to at least provide some intramural opportunities throughout the remainder of the year for our middle school students.”

With Coupeville moving from 1A to 2B this school year, the school is allowed to use CMS 8th graders to fill out high school teams.

But, Smith cautions this would only happen under certain circumstances.

“The short answer is no, we are not unless we need them to help salvage a program,” he said. “The intent of the rule and our philosophy of the league is that we will not bring up 8th grade students just for the sake of bringing them up, or because they are a good athlete.

“We will only bring them up if we don’t have enough high school students to create a team and participate during the season, and that is what we will do this year.”

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CMS athletes like Lyla Stuurmans could be back in action in January. (Corinn Parker photo)

Middle school sports have not been forgotten about.

As Washington state (and the world) deals with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, prep sports have been massively disrupted, with the loss of spring and summer seasons, and a push-back to any games during the upcoming school year.

Athletic directors, league officials, and the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association worked on creating opportunities for high school students first, but now they’ve turned their efforts to middle school as well.

As expected, middle school athletic programs will follow the lead of their high school counterparts, with no games until Jan., 2021, at the earliest.

Middle school athletes will not be totally sidelined until then, however.

The current plan offered by the WIAA will allow for an “open coaching season” from Sept. 28-Nov. 29, with this being available to middle and high school athletes.

Practices will be held after school (2:30-on), even if students are still in online learning and not in-person education, and will be posted on the Coupeville School District’s Tandem calendar.

High school sports are currently set to begin actual competition with basketball up first. Practice would begin the last week of December, with the opening games the first week of January.

With middle school sports, it’s still very much a work in progress, said CHS/CMS Athletic Director Willie Smith.

The hope is for CMS teams to also begin play in January, but no schedules have been drafted yet.

That’s largely because only two schools in the Cascade Middle School League — Coupeville and South Whidbey — are in counties which have reached Phase 3 in the state’s reopening plan.

Granite Falls, Sultan, King’s, Northshore Christian, and Lakewood all are in counties currently in Phase 2.

“This is why we aren’t publishing any schedules, because we don’t know where the majority of our league will be in January,” Smith said. “We are hopeful that all will be in at least Phase 3.”

Of the sports CMS plays, boys soccer, volleyball, track and field, and cross country are considered Phase 3 sports, while girls and boys basketball require Phase 4.

If some sports can be played, but it requires moving seasons around to do so, that opens up other questions for the league athletic directors.

“When planning the seasons, it’s important to note that we have to look at gender equity, facilities, transportation, and officials availability,” Smith said.

If and when middle school teams are allowed to play, the Cascade League plans to have each season be comprised of two weeks of practice, and three weeks of games.

The WIAA and the sports medicine group it works with plans to waive the practice requirements, but league AD’s don’t agree.

“We didn’t feel it would be in the athletes best interest, either on a safety or a mental/physical preparedness level to follow those guidelines,” Smith said.

Though current WIAA plans call for high school teams to compete through the end of June, the Cascade League wants to wrap middle school sports by the end of May.

“This aligns with the ability of our middle school students and families to be able to focus on the last month of school, rather than extend the sports year all the way to the end of June as high school is being proposed to do,” Smith said.

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