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Archive for the ‘Tennis’ Category

Veteran CHS tennis coach Ken Stange is recovering from spinal fusion surgery after a nasty fall. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Ken Stange has fallen, but you can help him get back up.

The longtime Coupeville High School tennis coach is recovering from spinal fusion surgery to repair an L1 vertebrae fracture suffered in a nasty fall off a ladder.

The good news is doctors tell Stange he can eventually be back on the tennis court, both as a coach and player.

The bad news is during much of his recovery, he won’t be able to work.

After many years as a teacher, Stange purchased Bailey’s Corner Store in Clinton in 2015.

One of Whidbey’s top tennis players, he has taken the lessons learned from his own on-court action and used them to guide the Wolf netters.

With 27 seasons in the book (14 years with the CHS boys and headed for year #14 with the girls this spring), he is the second longest-tenured active head coach in Coupeville.

Stange trails just Randy King, who put in 20 seasons with Wolf boys basketball and is headed towards a 14th year of running CHS track.

To offer a helping hand to Coupeville’s net guru, pop over to:

https://www.gofundme.com/ken039s-fusion-fund

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Coupeville grad Joey Lippo is off to play college tennis in Kentucky. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Tennis it is.

Joey Lippo was a three-sport star during his days at Coupeville High School, anchoring Wolf teams in tennis, basketball and baseball.

He was also the rare male athlete who could do a mean dance as well, often joining twin sister Skyy in her world of ballet, when he performed in productions of The Nutcracker.

But now Lippo, a 2018 CHS grad, will devote himself solely to the racket arts, after agreeing to play tennis for Midway University in Kentucky.

The liberal arts school competes athletically in the River States Conference, and is part of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics.

Most NAIA schools offer athletic scholarships, and Midway has pledged to pick up a substantial portion of Lippo’s college costs, making his parents hearts sing with great joy.

In addition to playing tennis, Lippo will study environmental science. School begins Jan. 7, with tennis starting in Feb.

He’s joining an Eagles program which is still in its infancy, as Midway was an all-girls school until just recently.

Founded in 1847, the school was originally known as the Kentucky Female Orphan School and admitted its first male undergraduates in time for the fall 2017 semester.

Midway University sits smack-dab on a 200-acre working farm in the Bluegrass region of Kentucky, and the oldest building on campus, Pinkerton Hall, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.

While the school has been around for a long time, Lippo is one of the pioneers for male sports at the institution.

The men’s tennis program is in just its second season, with coach Joe Reyes, a highly-accomplished former college player, quickly building a strong roster.

The Eagles currently lay claim to players from Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama and Texas, plus four foreign netters, one from Spain and three from Columbia.

And now you can add Washington state to the list.

“The tennis coach found me somehow and told me to come visit the school,” Lippo said. “I got to play with the team and I loved that environment and everyone was so welcoming.

“It’s a small school and reminds me a lot of Coupeville.”

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   Coupeville’s days as a tennis power will likely take a hit when the Olympic League combines 1A and 2A programs in the sport next school year. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

The path to an Olympic League tennis title has always gone through Coupeville.

Starting next school year, however, that path is going to get a lot rockier.

The Wolf boys have won two crowns in four seasons since joining the newly-created 1A division of the league in 2014, while the CHS girls are a perfect 3-for-3 heading into next spring.

In fact, the Coupeville girls have never lost a match to rivals Klahowya and Chimacum/Port Townsend, and will carry a 15-0 mark in league tilts onto the court in 2018.

While the pursuit of title #4 will remain the same, the chase for title #5 may take a substantial detour.

When the 2018-2019 school year arrives, the 1A division of the Olympic League will merge with the 2A side of things for tennis, creating a 10-team conference for the sport.

That means just one league champ, and not the current two.

The new format only covers the regular season, as 1A and 2A schools will go their own way once the postseason arrives.

All other sports will remain separated between 1A and 2A.

While Coupeville has been playing most of the Olympic League’s 2A schools in non-conference tennis matches, the new format means they would have to upend much-larger schools to retain their title-winning ways.

Instead of just thumping on the Eagles and Cowboys, the Wolves will have to also vie with North Kitsap, Sequim, North Mason, Olympic, Kingston, Bremerton and Port Angeles.

Those schools have student bodies of 527-876 students, which means Coupeville (227 in the last classification count) will experience some deja vu, harkening back to its former days competing in the 1A/2A Cascade Conference.

In the new format North Kitsap (810 students) will overwhelmingly be the team to beat.

On the boys side the Vikings are currently operating on a 41-match winning streak, dating back to a loss to Sequim in Oct. 2014.

The NK girls have lost more recently, but that’s not a common occurrence, as they are still a very-tidy 51-3 over the past four seasons.

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   Coming off a league title, high-flying Mikayla Elfrank and CHS volleyball want more success. (John Fisken photos)

   Joey Lippo will team with William Nelson to form Coupeville’s #1 tennis doubles duo.

Claire Mietus returns for her senior season of cheer, ready to be a leader.

Dawson Houston and Wolf football want to break a postseason drought.

Anticipation.

It lingers over the land, as the start of a new high school year, and a new fall sports season, approaches.

Football enters day four of practice today, while everyone else — volleyball, cross country, tennis, cheer and soccer — is on deck, ready to officially begin Monday.

Two of Coupeville’s fall teams, volleyball and boys tennis, are defending Olympic League champs, but everyone has their heart set on making the start of the 2017-2018 school year a success.

Thoughts from the front lines, presented in alphabetic order:

Hunter Downes (senior/football):

I’m just here so I don’t get fined.

Mikayla Elfrank (senior/volleyball):

Volleyball will make it to state.

Dawson Houston (sophomore/football):

We are getting in work and hoping for an 11th game. It’s also a struggle for some that haven’t been putting in the work over break. But we will get better and stronger.

Kyra Ilyankoff (2011 grad who remains on CHS track and volleyball record boards):

That I would pass as a high schooler and come back to kill it in volleyball!

Joey Lippo (senior/tennis):

Tennis is going to win league this year.

Janie McClarin (former tennis mom):

For the first time in about eight years we won’t have a kiddo involved in Coupeville sports. Definitely bittersweet. Looking forward to your fall tennis coverage.

Claire Mietus (senior/cheer):

The cheer team is going to stop being influenced by the stereotype that “We’re Coupeville.” We want to have pride in our squad as well as ourselves and not have our actions defined by others’ expectations.

Ben Smith (freshman/football):

We want to attempt to at least have an 11th game, though some haven’t been able to attend to put in work. But we do hope that this year is better then ever.

Ken Stange (boys tennis coach):

We’re going to break in our newly repaired and resurfaced courts.

The tennis team will compete for and hopefully win our third straight league title.

The #1 doubles duo of Joey Lippo and William Nelson will play difficult, non-league opponents, sharpening their skills, hopefully leading them to the state tourney.

Last year’s singles players, Nick Etzell, Jakobi Baumann and Mason Grove, will come on strong, relying on last season’s experience to propel the team to many wins.

One, two, or all three will advance to districts, where they will make waves.

Jacob Zettle (senior/current free agent):

With the start of a new season brings one of two things, hope or discouragement.

Most likely it will bring hope, the hope of a good season. Then, after that, it’s up to the team on how hard they are going to work.

But if your season is started with that discouragement, all I have to say is good luck because you’re going to need it!

And if you wanted any advice in your story from a former player I have two things, don’t get knocked out, and give your season to the Lord because you can’t do it in your own strength.

He will provide the strength you need.

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Jimmy Myers (John Fisken photos)

   Jimmy Myers took home Most Inspirational among his three awards Thursday night. (John Fisken photos)

Grey Rische

   Grey Rische matched his doubles partner with three honors of his own, including a Coaches Award.

They shared the court all season, so it’s only fitting they shared their team’s biggest award.

Junior netters William Nelson and Joey Lippo both took home MVP honors Thursday night as the Coupeville High School boys’ tennis team capped its season.

The duo, who finished third at districts after winning the 1A Olympic League tourney title, led off a string of winners.

Jimmy Myers took home Most Inspirational, Mason Grove and Jakobi Baumann shared Most Improved and Joseph Wedekind, John McClarin and Grey Rische received the Coaches Award.

Seniors Wedekind, McClarin, Myers and Rische were honored as captains while also receiving 4-Year Awards along with Aiden Crimmins.

The entire 16-man Wolf team all nabbed varsity letters from coach Ken Stange.

Letter winners:

Jakobi Baumann
Jaschon Baumann
Aiden Crimmins
Nick Etzell
Zach Ginnings
Mason Grove
Elliot Johnson
Tiger Johnson
Joey Lippo
Nile Lockwood
John McClarin
Jimmy Myers
William Nelson
Grey Rische
Koby Schreiber
Joseph Wedekind

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