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Lauren Marrs basks in the glow of helping her basketball team win a SWISH championship. (Emili Marrs photo)

Lauren Marrs is the type of player every coach appreciates.

She can control a game by herself, seems to have little fear on the hardwood or pitch, and is already quite-polished for an athlete headed into her freshman year of high school.

But as talented as Marrs has been while playing with middle school and select squads, it is the way she embraces being part of something bigger which truly sets her apart.

She can be a star, if that’s what you need, but she can also be part of an ensemble, if that’s what you require.

All while displaying the same passion and positive attitude, regardless of her role.

For Marrs, that just comes naturally.

“I enjoy everything about being an athlete,” she said. “I love being a part of a team.

“I just want to keep working hard and learning,” Marrs added. “I want to keep improving in all areas of the sports I play.”

In her middle school days, the younger sister of former Wolf standout Jaden Marrs played sports year-round, with volleyball, basketball (school and SWISH), and select soccer on her resume.

As she makes the jump to Coupeville High School, Lauren plans to fine-tune her focus, putting an emphasis on basketball, where she’s a deadly shooter and fluid ballhandler, and soccer, which is her burning passion.

“My favorite sport is soccer,” Marrs said. “I have been playing for 10 years, select for the last six.”

On the pitch, she’s a lock-down enforcer in net, playing goaltender for the SW Reign the past three seasons.

“I love the position I play and I would like to continue on playing it throughout high school and college,” Marrs said.

She plans to play both sports all four years of high school, and pledges, “I want us to work hard and win.”

Off the field, Marrs enjoys her health and PE classes, is a big fan of The Goonies and the Indiana Jones movies, and finds numerous ways to stay busy.

“I like to spend my time playing and watching sports,” she said. “I also like to swim, hike, play b-ball, go to the beach, and spend time with my friends and my family.”

Whether she’s knifing big, bad King’s on the hardwood, nailing a three-ball from somewhere out in the parking lot as mom Emili high-fives everyone within a five-mile radius, or pulling off a sweet shutout on the soccer pitch, Lauren keep things simple.

“I look up to my parents and listen to and respect what my coaches say.”

Sounds like a star to me.

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A vibrant star on the soccer pitch and basketball court, Mia Littlejohn is our newest inductee into the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

You bought a ticket, she put on a show.

Across two years of middle school athletics, and three years of high school action in Coupeville, with heapin’ helpins’ of travel ball tossed in, Mia Littlejohn never failed to entertain.

She was feisty, she played at times like she had a chip on her shoulder and at other times like she had wandered in off of a playground in Jersey, and she brought the heat to all of her sports.

On the soccer field, she was a goal-scoring dervish who also could step back and set up her teammates with precision passes.

On the basketball hardwood, she was a run ‘n gun floor leader, a point guard who slashed away, charging right at the heart of the defense.

Come up on her, and she’d wheal and deal, peppering passes to all directions.

Back off, even for a split second, and Mia would turn her defender’s legs into jelly, putting some shake and bake on her moves as she filled the basket up herself.

She has an older brother, Zepher Loesch, who played with the same wild abandon, and a lil’ sis, Kalia Littlejohn, who often matched her in making the flashbulbs pop with electrifying play.

Mia never finished her run in Coupeville, opting to transfer to Oak Harbor for her senior year, where she graduated in purple and gold, instead of red and black.

But, while the move denied her the chance to add to her CHS stats, wandering up the Island should do nothing to diminish the impact she had while playing for the Wolves.

It’s why we welcome her today to the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame, acknowledging Mia’s skill, her passion, and her style of play – a freewheeling, pedal-through-the-metal flow which few have matched.

After this, if you look up at the top of the blog, under the Legends tab, you’ll find Miss Littlejohn rightfully perched where she should be.

Mia was already drawing “oohs” and “ahs” long before she hit the hallways of CHS.

She grabbed attention for her exploits as a middle school hoops sensation, a travel ball soccer ace, and, for a hot moment, as a key player on a Central Whidbey Little League softball squad which went undefeated and advanced to the state tourney.

Once in high school, she never slowed down, landing on the varsity soccer and basketball squads from day one.

On the pitch, she spent her freshman and sophomore seasons as a pass-first player, rolling up assists in great gobs, while still finding time to hammer home eight goals across the two campaigns.

Mia holds the single-season and career CHS girls soccer scoring records.

Mia’s junior season was something else, though, as she went on a goal-scoring blitz like none ever seen at CHS.

By the time she was done, and off packing ice on her scoring leg to get it to cool down at least a little, she had found the back of the net an astonishing 27 times.

That stands as the school single-season record, girl or boy, and is 12 more goals than any other Wolf girl has ever notched during a single year.

Selected as the Olympic League co-MVP, Mia finished her junior season with 35 career goals, a total which endures as the CHS girls top mark.

As good as she could be on the soccer pitch, I personally think basketball was her best sport.

On the hardwood, she always played with a little something extra.

Some will say it’s because basketball is my favorite sport, while soccer … isn’t.

But put her on the hardwood and Mia could be truly special at times.

She ran the point with precision, while also scoring a fair amount, finishing with 317 points in three seasons, putting her #35 on the Wolf girls all-time career scoring chart.

Not bad, considering Mia’s prep career coincided with those of the program’s #3 (Makana Stone), #19 (Lindsey Roberts) and #30 (Kailey Kellner) scorers, putting a premium on getting buckets.

Mia got her points in a variety of ways, spinning and popping jumpers while on the move, dashing into the paint to dare the big girls to try and catch her, or converting breakaways.

She was an opportunistic defender, and lived to bat balls away, to slide up behind a rival and pick their pocket, or just to jump down their throat as they came up-court, arms waving, screaming like a banshee.

That was where the Jersey in her game came to the forefront, as she made rival players crack, then danced away, big grin on her face.

Mia was always talented, but, most of all, she was entertaining, all day, every day.

When you pulled up a seat to watch her play, in any sport, there was never a doubt you were going to get your money’s worth.

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Kyle Nelson is stepping down as CHS boys soccer coach, but will continue to coach the Wolf girls squad. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Everything is in flux.

When Coupeville High School drops classifications, moving from 1A to 2B starting with the 2020-2021 school year, soccer will be in transition.

At the 1A level, girls soccer plays in the fall, and the boys take the field in the spring.

That’s not true at 2B, however, where all soccer is played in the fall.

With the teams now sharing a season, Kyle Nelson, who previously coached both CHS squads, has decided to step away from the boys program.

He will remain as the Wolf girls coach as the team joins the Northwest 2B/1B League, while the school will hire a new boys head coach.

“We looked at the schedule and we both thought that it just wouldn’t be fair to either program to have him try to coach both at the same time,” said CHS Athletic Director Willie Smith.

There were several dates on the schedule where both the Wolf boys and girls had games, with one squad on the road and one at home.

Add in the crush of running practices for two programs at the same time, and doing a twofer in the same season is a lot to ask of anyone.

Kyle is really excited about the girls program and wants to build it,” Smith said. “Obviously, he was very disappointed in not being able to finish this (boys) season (because of COVID-19), as he was very excited and optimistic about the team this year.

“Both he and I felt that this boys team would have competed at a very high level within the league and could have made some definite headway into the playoffs.”

Nelson started as an assistant coach with the CHS boys program, then moved up to head coach in 2014 after Paul Mendes retired.

He added the girls head coaching job in 2017.

“It’s been amazing having Kyle coach both programs over the past few years,” Smith said. “I couldn’t have asked for a more steady, level-headed, character-driven coach who has a passion for teaching his teams to play the correct way.”

Once he got done blushing, Nelson chimed in, offering his perspective on the change.

“There was just no way to continue to do both with games on different days and different places; there really is no choice but to have two head coaches,” he said. “That meant I had to make the “choice”.

“I have enjoyed my time coaching the boys fully. I originally went into coaching soccer to be involved in the program with my two sons (Loren and William) as they went through high school,” Nelson added.

“I was lucky enough to start by being an assistant with Coach Mendes, who I was able to learn so much from.

“So, at this point nine years later, I feel I have run my course with the boys program and they are ready for a new coach.

“The girls, on the other hand, I have only had three years with.

“I feel like we are just getting started, and I am looking forward to continuing our work.”

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Rain or shine, the Central Whidbey Soccer Club hits the pitch, as shown in the photos which follow. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Soccer balls as far as the eye (and camera) can see.

Wanderin’ paparazzi John Fisken slid by a rainy, muddy Fort Nugent Saturday and captured the pics seen above, which show the Central Whidbey Soccer Club hard at work.

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Snow is still falling in some areas, but spring soccer is on the horizon. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Want to be the next great soccer star in Coupeville?

If so, it’s time to kick-start your parents into signing you up for Central Whidbey Soccer Club’s spring season.

Registration, which just opened, closes Mar. 22.

First practices are Mar. 25, with games beginning Apr. 13.

The club offers teams at five age levels – U6, U8, U10, U12, and U15.

For more info on things such as how you tell where the cutoff for age groups is, or to register, bounce over to:

https://www.centralwhidbeysoccer.com

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