Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Track’ Category

Coupeville track stars Jacob Smith (left) and Danny Conlisk made sure the whole state learned their names. (Dawnelle Conlisk photo)

Sometimes, I can be a real idiot.

But, sometimes, my being a real idiot actually works out in the end. Hopefully.

As I induct people into the Coupeville Sports Hall of Fame, the biggest stumbling block is I’m a one-man crew, in charge of nominating, voting (there are some fierce battles…), and writing the stories.

Which is my way of sort of explaining why sometimes a slam-dunk inductee doesn’t go in as quickly as they should.

Cause I’m an idiot, I get busy with other stuff, and I completely space on things.

A year ago, when he graduated from Coupeville High School after compiling one of the best track and field careers in school history, Jacob Smith should have been added to my lil’ digital hall o’ wonders.

Like immediately, don’t pass Go, don’t collect $200.

So, imagine my surprise this morning when I was scanning the list of inductees, and realized, to my growing horror, that he wasn’t there.

But, my complete and utter failure sort of works out, because now, when I induct him today, he can go in along with his running mate, Danny Conlisk, in a two-for-one special.

After this, you’ll find both of them at the top of the blog, under the Legends tab.

It’s appropriate they go in together, because the duo pushed each other on the oval, and exhibited many of the same qualities during their times in a Wolf uniform.

They were both fast to begin, but worked relentlessly, together and apart, to rise to new heights.

Calm, easy-going, low-key, quiet leaders, they let their fleet feet do the talking for them, and made the world at large stand up and notice.

Coupeville, a cow town on a rock in the middle of the water up in the middle of nowhere, doesn’t always get the same respect as King’s or Lynden Christian or a million other “legacy” schools do.

The Wolves have to earn it, and from Kyle and Tyler King to Makana Stone and on to Smith and Conlisk, track and field has been the one arena where other schools and fan bases have had to accept that CHS can get all up in their business.

And man, did Jacob and Danny make them sit up and take notice.

The duo combined to win 12 state meet medals – six apiece – shattered school records left and right, and were as dynamic on the oval as any pair in Wolf track history.

Smith is one of just two CHS athletes to win four medals at the same state meet, doing so during his senior season.

Finishing 2nd in both the 100 and 200, he also added a leg on 4 x 100 (7th) and 4 x 400 (5th) relay teams which battled down to the wire.

Toss in a 4th in the 200 as a sophomore, and a 3rd in the same event as a junior, and, despite having the most-common last name in America, everyone knew his name down in Cheney by the time he was finished.

An explosive runner who chased down rivals as mom Deb out-shouted the rooting sections of entire schools by herself, Jacob made every race a must-see moment.

His fellow inductee, to be honest, was not someone I originally would have seen going into the Hall o’ Fame.

I have vague memories of Conlisk competing in middle school – a quiet, skinny kid loping around the track.

Did I think he would one day be a two-time state champion, hold school records in the 100, 200, and 400, and qualify for the national Junior Olympics twice?

Not a chance.

Cause I’m an idiot. Or at least a really-bad talent scout.

Once Danny found his groove, though, he became the ultimate make-good story.

What we couldn’t see, at least at first, was how powerful his work ethic was going to be, and how huge his heart was.

Whether running cross country or track, Conlisk just kept getting better and better, ending his prep career by breaking an eight-year state title dry spell for CHS.

This spring, he roared to wins in the 200 and 400 at the 1A state meet, and finished half a step from making it three titles in three races, finishing 2nd in the 100.

It was the first time since 2010 that a Wolf had stood atop the podium, with Conlisk becoming just the ninth individual CHS athlete in 119 years to earn the title of state champ.

Toss in two medals from his junior season — a 2nd in the 400 and a 5th in the 4 x 400 — and one more from his sophomore campaign (5th in the 400), and he and Smith finish tied with Natasha Bamberger and Chad Gale for the fifth-most state meet medals in school history.

But while the medals stand as a testament to their achievement, both Jacob and Danny will be remembered for far more than their hardware.

They are proof, to every current and future Wolf, that hard work and utter commitment can carry you to the mountain top, and that once there, you don’t have to back down just because someone else has a fancy uniform from a “name” school.

You can rep Coupeville and be the best, and Smith and Conlisk are living proof of that.

Read Full Post »

With 11 state track meet medals to his credit, Tyler King is still tops in Wolf Nation. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Two medals were twice as nice in 2013 for Madison Tisa McPhee. (Photo courtesy Mad Dawg Productions)

The Hack siblings did it first, the King boys did it the most.

Going through track and field state meet records, I’ve found 71 Coupeville High School athletes who have brought home a medal from the big dance in the modern era.

That’s 1974-2019 for girls, and 1963-2019 for boys, if you’re wondering, which is as far back as http://new.washingtontrack.com/wordpress/ goes.

During that time period, the number of medals handed out in each event has grown from four to its current eight, while the awards themselves have remained the ultimate symbol of excellence.

For Coupeville, the first to grab one was Kevin Hack, who stormed from behind to claim 3rd in the 880 – an event which doesn’t exist anymore.

But while that moment was a beginning for CHS track, it was also an end for the young man who accomplished the individual feat by surging from 5th to 3rd.

“Passed them both in one more step,” Hack said. “Never ran after that; went to work full time in Alaska, November ’73, and haven’t stopped yet!”

A year after his race, Hack’s sister, Joy, finished 3rd in the long jump, and the medal race was on for the Wolves.

Some fast facts:

Most state titles in a career – five, by Kyle King, with four individual wins and a relay title.

While Natasha Bamberger also has five titles, all in individual events, one of hers came in cross country.

Most state titles in one season – three, by Jon Chittim, who stood atop the podium in the 200, 400, and 4 x 400 in 2006.

Chittim and Jacob Smith are the only Wolves to win four medals at the same meet.

Most medals in a career – 11, by Tyler King, which included two state titles (he won a third in cross country) and five second-place finishes, including three at one meet.

Most members of the same family with a medal – three.

That honor falls to the Kings (Brianne, Kyle, Tyler), the Toomey-Stouts (Cameron, Maya, Sean), and the Hoskins (Jai’Lysa, Ja’Tarya, Ja’Kenya).

The Hacks join the Kings and Toomey-Stouts as the only families to have brothers and sisters medal, while four other CHS families offer unique connections.

The Beplers (Mark and Ariah) are the only father/son combo to medal.

The Roberts (Jay and Lindsey) are the only uncle/niece duo, while the Fords (Tony and Jordan) rep the uncle/nephew connection.

And the Wilsons (Rich and Yashmeen (née Knox) are the only Wolf track medalists to have married another medalist.

So far.

Coupeville’s most successful events? The 3200 and 1600, which have produced 11 of Coupeville’s 17 state track titles.

The breakdown:

3200 – eight titles/four different champs
1600 – three titles/three different champs
200 – two titles/two different champs
400 – two titles /two different champs
800 – one title
4 x 400 Relay – one title

All told, nine Wolves have ruled the state:

Kyle King (5)
Natasha Bamberger
(4) *also has XC title*
Jon Chittim
(3)
Danny Conlisk
(2)
Tyler King
(2) *also has XC title*
Jeff Fielding
(1)
Chris Hutchinson
(1)
Steven McDonald
(1)
Amy Mouw
(1)

As you may have noticed, all of Coupeville’s state titles have come in running events, as the Wolves have yet to claim a field title, either in a throwing or jumping category.

They’ve come close, with Dalton Martin notching three throwing medals during the 2016 meet, including finishing 2nd in the discus behind a guy who shattered the state record for all classifications.

Pete Rosenkranz finished 2nd in the shot put in back-to-back seasons in the ’80s, while Kyra Ilyankoff (javelin), Jennie Cross (discus), and Ed Cook (Pole Vault) were also state runner-ups in field events.

Where CHS stands in the medal count:

100 – (11 medals)
200 – (10)
400 – (10)
800 – (6)
880 – (1)
1600 – (15)
3200 – (15)
100 Hurdles – (6)
110 Hurdles – (3)
300 Hurdles – (1)
4 x 100 Relay – (7)
4 x 200 Relay – (5)
4 x 400 Relay – (3)
Shot Put – (8)
Discus – (8)
Javelin – (7)
High Jump – (8)
Pole Vault – (2)
Long Jump – (6)
Triple Jump – (3)

One last positive note – the Wolves are currently on a 15-year streak, having claimed at least one medal every year since 2005.

That trounces their previous best of nine years, set between 1983-1991.

The full run, broken down by year:

 

1973:

Kevin Hack – 880 – 3rd – 2:00.3

 

1974:

Joy Hack – Long Jump – 3rd – 16-09

 

1977:

Jeff Fielding – 3200 – 5th – 9:53.5
Bob McClement – 1600 – 3rd – 4:30

 

1978:

Fielding – 1600 – 5th – 4:31.7

 

1979:

Fielding – 1600 – 2nd – 4:32.5
Fielding – 3200 – STATE CHAMP – 9:47.5

 

1981:

Larry Howard – Long Jump – 5th – 20-6.75

 

1983:

Natasha Bamberger – 3200 – 3rd – 11:23.2

 

1984:

Bamberger – 1600 – STATE CHAMP – 5:13.7
Bamberger – 3200 – STATE CHAMP – 11:24.6
Jana Engle – Shot Put – 5th – 32-09
Judy Marti – High Jump – 6th – 4-06
Pete Rosenkranz – Shot Put – 3rd – 43-10

 

1985:

Bamberger – 3200 – STATE CHAMP – 11:44.5
Rosenkranz – Shot Put – 2nd – 46-04

 

1986:

Bamberger – 1600 – 2nd – 5:18.7
Bamberger – 3200 – STATE CHAMP – 11:42.6
Mark Bepler – Discus – 4th – 139-04
Bill Carstensen – 100 – 4th – 11.2
Carstensen – 200 – 6th – 23.9
Chad Gale – 110 Hurdles – 2nd – 15.9
Rosenkranz – Shot Put – 2nd – 50-03
4 x 100 Relay – Carstensen, Tony Killgo, Jay Roberts, Rick Alexander – 3rd – 44.7

 

1987:

Tina Barker – 800 – 4th – 2:24.7
Carstensen – 100 – 4th – 11.2
Gale – 110 Hurdles – 3rd – 15.3
4 x 100 Relay – Gale, Carstensen, Alan Weddell, J. Roberts – 4th – 44.9

 

1988:

Gale – 110 Hurdles – 3rd – 15.1
Gale – Long Jump – 3rd – 21-02.25
Gale – Triple Jump – 6th – 40-06
Joe Tessaro – Discus – 6th – 139-11

 

1989:

Sally Biskovich – High Jump – 4th – 5-00
Ed Cook – 300 Hurdles – 6th – 42.4
Cook – Pole Vault – 2nd – 11-06
Jennie Cross – Discus – 6th – 111-04
4 x 100 Relay – Tony Ford, Devin Hopkins, Brandy Ambrose, Cook – 5th – 46.1

 

1990:

Cross – Discus – 2nd – 120-02

 

1991:

Todd Smith – Shot Put – 6th – 45-08

 

1993:

Kit Manzanares – 100 – 8th – 11.7
Manzanares – Long Jump – 8th – 20-04

 

1997:

Allyson Barker – Triple Jump – 8th – 34-11.25

 

1998:

Yashmeen Knox – Javelin – 8th – 99-00

 

1999:

Knox – Javelin – 4th – 100-03
Knox – High Jump – 6th – 4-10
Jess Roundy – 100 Hurdles – 6th – 16.82

 

2000:

Joe Donnellon – 1600 – 2nd – 4:31.22
Donnellon – 3200 – 2nd – 10:01.24
Matt Frost – 800 – 8th – 2:11.64
Brianne King – 1600 – 6th – 5:59.47
Rich Wilson – High Jump – 4th – 6-02

 

2001:

Knox – 100 – 7th – 13.77
Knox – High Jump – 4th – 5-00

 

2002:

Amy Mouw – 800 – 2nd – 2:22.76

 

2003:

Mouw – 400 – 8th – 1:02.67
Mouw – 800 – STATE CHAMP – 2:21.54

 

2005:

Jon Chittim – 400 – 2nd – 50.77
Corinne Gaddis – Long Jump – 8th – 15-08.25
Janiece Jenkins – 100 – 5th – 13.35
Jenkins – 200 – 8th – 28.20
Kyle King – 1600 – 6th – 4:36.30
K. King – 3200 – 5th – 10:01.61
Andrew Moon – 100 – 3rd – 11.72
Moon – 200 – 5th – 23.38
4 x 100 Relay – Gaddis, Jenkins, Alicia Heinen, Kim Kisch – 6th – 52.55

 

2006:

Chittim – 100 – 7th – 11.8
Chittim – 200 – STATE CHAMP – 23.02
Chittim – 400 – STATE CHAMP – 49.93
K. King – 1600 – 2nd – 4:24.89
K. King – 3200 – STATE CHAMP – 9:36.6
Brian Miller – High Jump – 3rd – 6-00
4 x 400 Relay — Chris Hutchinson, Chittim, K. King, Steven McDonald – STATE CHAMP – 3:28.11

 

2007:

K. King – 1600 – STATE CHAMP – 4:21.51
K. King – 3200 – STATE CHAMP – 9:42.04

 

2008:

Erin Hickey – Discus – 5th – 102-06
Kyra Ilyankoff – Javelin – 2nd – 127-03
K. King – 1600 – 2nd – 4:23.10
K. King – 3200 – STATE CHAMP – 9:43.24
Tyler King – 1600 – 8th – 4:32
T. King – 3200 – 6th – 10:05
Miller – High Jump – 6th – 5-10
Miller – Javelin – 5th – 172-06
4 x 400 Relay – McDonald, T. King, K. King, Miller – 4th – 3:33.18

 

2009:

Ilyankoff – Javelin – 3rd – 122-04
T. King – 1600 – 4th – 4:26.45
T. King – 3200 – 2nd – 9:52

 

2010:

Hunter Hammer – Shot Put – 8th – 47-08
T. King – 800 – 2nd – 1:59.05
T. King – 1600 – STATE CHAMP – 4:24.34
T. King – 3200 – STATE CHAMP – 9:46.92

 

2011:

Hammer – Shot Put – 6th – 50-05
Hammer – Discus – 8th – 150-02
Ilyankoff – Javelin – 4th -128-04
T. King – 800 – 2nd – 1:57.14
T. King – 1600 – 2nd – 4:19.98
T. King – 3200 – 2nd – 9:38.42
Madison Tisa McPhee – 100 Hurdles – 8th – 16.64

 

2012:

Mitch Pelroy – 200 – 8th – 23.34

 

2013:

Tisa McPhee – 100 Hurdles – 3rd – 16.23
4 x 200 Relay – Tisa McPhee, Jai’Lysa Hoskins, Sylvia Hurlburt, Makana Stone – 5th – 1:47.65

 

2014:

Stone – 400 – 2nd – 58.65

 

2015:

Dalton Martin – Discus – 5th – 147-00
Stone – 400 – 4th – 59.01
4 x 200 Relay – Lauren Grove, Marisa Etzell, Hurlburt, Stone – 3rd – 1:47.13

 

2016:

Jordan Ford – Pole Vault – 8th – 12-06
Martin – Shot Put – 8th – 23-06
Martin – Discus – 2nd – 160-06
Martin – Javelin – 8th – 149-03
Lindsey Roberts – 100 Hurdles – 4th – 16.39
Jacob Smith – 200 – 4th – 23.06
Stone – 400 – 2nd – 58.74
4 x 100 Relay – Grove, L. Roberts, Stone, Hurlburt – 6th – 50.98
4 x 200 Relay – Grove, L. Roberts, Hurlburt, Stone – 3rd – 1:46.42

 

2017:

Mitchell Carroll – Triple Jump – 5th – 43.11.75
Danny Conlisk – 400 – 5th – 50.59
Smith – 200 – 3rd – 22.41
4 x 200 Relay – L. Roberts, Grove, Mallory Kortuem, Maya Toomey-Stout – 5th – 1:46.58

 

2018:

Ariah Bepler – High Jump – 5th – 6-02
Conlisk – 400 – 2nd – 49.70
Cassidy Moody – Long Jump – 8th – 16-02.75
L. Roberts – 100 Hurdles – 2nd – 15.38
Smith – 100 – 2nd – 11.64
Smith – 200 – 2nd – 22.75
4 x 100 Relay – Cameron Toomey-Stout, Smith, Sean Toomey-Stout, Jean Lund-Olsen – 7th – 45.16
4 x 400 Relay – Smith, Henry Wynn, S. Toomey-Stout, Conlisk – 5th – 3:31.00

 

2019:

Conlisk – 100 – 2nd – 11.25
Conlisk – 200 – STATE CHAMP – 21.99
Conlisk – 400 – STATE CHAMP – 49.14
Kortuem – 400 – 2nd – 58.02
Lund-Olsen – 100 – 4th – 11.37
Lund-Olsen – 200 – 7th – 22.82
L. Roberts – 100 Hurdles – 3rd – 15.38
4 x 100 Relay – M. Toomey-Stout, Ja’Tarya Hoskins, Kortuem, L. Roberts – 5th – 50.54
4 x 200 Relay – L. Roberts, Ja’Kenya Hoskins, Kortuem, M. Toomey-Stout – 3rd – 1:46.61

 

And the all-time individual state medal standings:

Tyler King (11) – Two state titles, five 2nd, two 4th, one 6th, one 8th
Kyle King (10) – Five state titles, two 2nd, one 4th, one 5th, one 6th
Lindsey Roberts (8) – One 2nd, three 3rd, one 4th, two 5th, one 6th
Makana Stone (7) – Two 2nd, two 3rd, one 4th, one 5th, one 6th
Natasha Bamberger (6) – Four state titles, one 2nd, one 3rd
Danny Conlisk (6) – Two state titles, two 2nd, two 5th
Chad Gale (6) – One 2nd, three 3rd, one 4th, one 6th
Jacob Smith (6) – Two 2nd, one 3rd, one 4th, one 5th, one 7th
Bill Carstensen (5) – One 3rd, three 4th, one 6th
Jon Chittim (5) – Three state titles, one 2nd, one 7th
Yashmeen Knox (5) – One 4th, one 6th, two 7th, one 8th
Jeff Fielding (4) – One state title, one 2nd, two 5th
Lauren Grove (4) – Two 3rd, one 5th, one 6th
Sylvia Hurlburt (4) – Two 3rd, one 5th, one 6th
Mallory Kortuem (4) — One 2nd, one 3rd, two 5th **ACTIVE**
Dalton Martin (4) – One 2nd, one 5th, two 8th
Brian Miller (4) – One 3rd, one 4th, one 5th, one 6th
Ed Cook (3) – One 2nd, one 5th, one 6th
Hunter Hammer (3) – One 6th, two 8th
Kyra Ilyankoff (3) – One 2nd, one 3rd, one 4th
Janiece Jenkins (3) – One 5th, one 6th, one 8th
Jean Lund-Olsen (3) – One 4th, two 7th **ACTIVE**
Amy Mouw (3) – One state title, one 2nd, one 8th
Pete Rosenkranz (3) – Two 2nd, one 3rd
Madison Tisa McPhee (3) – One 3rd, one 5th, one 8th
Maya Toomey-Stout (3) – One 3rd, two 5th *ACTIVE*
Jennie Cross (2) – One 2nd, one 6th
Joe Donnellon (2) – Two 2nd
Corrine Gaddis (2) – One 6th, one 8th
Kit Manzanares (2) – Two 8th
Steven McDonald (2) – One state title, one 4th
Andrew Moon (2) – One 3rd, one 5th
Jay Roberts (2) – One 3rd, one 4th
Sean Toomey-Stout (2) – One 5th, one 7th *ACTIVE*
Rick Alexander (1) – One 3rd
Brandy Ambrose (1) – One 5th
Allyson Barker (1) – One 8th
Tina Barker (1) – One 4th
Ariah Bepler (1) – One 5th
Mark Bepler (1) – One 4th
Sally Biskovich (1) – One 4th
Mitchell Carroll (1) – One 5th
Jana Engle (1) – One 5th
Marisa Etzell (1) – One 3rd
Jordan Ford (1) – One 8th
Tony Ford (1) – One 5th
Matt Frost (1) – One 8th
Joy Hack (1) – One 3rd
Kevin Hack (1) – One 3rd
Alicia Heinen (1) – One 6th
Erin Hickey (1) – One 5th
Devin Hopkins (1) – One 5th
Jai’Lysa Hoskins (1) – One 5th
Ja’Kenya Hoskins (1) – One 3rd *ACTIVE*
Ja’Tarya Hoskins (1) – One 5th *ACTIVE*
Larry Howard (1) – One 5th
Chris Hutchinson (1) – One state title
Tony Killgo (1) – One 3rd
Brianne King (1) – One 6th
Kim Kisch (1) – One 6th
Judy Marti (1) – One 6th
Bob McClement (1) – One 3rd
Cassidy Moody (1) – One 8th
Mitch Pelroy (1) – One 8th
Jess Roundy (1) – One 6th
Todd Smith (1) – One 6th
Joe Tessaro (1) – One 6th
Cameron Toomey-Stout (1) – One 7th
Alan Wedell (1) – One 4th
Rich Wilson (1) – One 4th
Henry Wynn (1) – One 5th

Read Full Post »

Coupeville’s Danny Conlisk (second from left) and his Kitsap Fliers 4 x 400 teammates, caught in a rare slow moment. (Dawnelle Conlisk photos)

Conlisk and Co. show off their medal haul from this weekend’s USATF Region 13 Junior Olympics track and field meet.

A trio of college-bound speed demons.

It was a finale, but not THE finale.

Coupeville grad Danny Conlisk officially closed his high school track and field career Sunday, running for the third-straight day at the USATF Region 13 Junior Olympic Championships.

Fighting through a nasty summer cold, the two-time state champ claimed a pair of 7th place finishes in the 200 and 4 x 400 relay.

Conlisk hit the line in 22.58 in the 200, while he and his Kitsap Fliers teammates combined to put up a time of 3:34.12 in the meet-ending relay.

The top five finishers in each event advanced to the national meet, which is scheduled for July 22-28 in Sacramento.

And while he earned a ticket to the big dance in the 400 earlier at regionals, Conlisk will pass on making the trip to California.

It would have been his second-straight appearance at nationals, but the combination of the chest cold, and getting ready for college, factored into the decision.

Conlisk is headed to the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, where he will run on scholarship for the NCAA D-II school.

Read Full Post »

Coupeville’s Danny Conlisk (left) qualified for the national Junior Olympics in the 400. (Dawnelle Conlisk photo)

His middle name is “Never Quit.”

Despite battling a nasty summer cold, Coupeville track supernova Danny Conlisk roared from behind Saturday to pull off a major gut-check.

Sitting in dead last at the halfway point of his 400 heat at the USATF Region 13 Junior Olympic Championships in Tacoma, he surged big-time down the stretch.

Hitting the line in 50.15 seconds, Conlisk earned 5th place, which qualifies him for nationals.

That meet goes down July 22-28 in Sacramento.

The middle day of the three-day regional event at Mount Tahoma High School was bittersweet for Conlisk and his Kitsap Fliers teammates.

They got off to a great start in the 4 x 100 relay, only to have a bad hand-off on the first exchange disqualify them.

Conlisk, a two-time state champ during his senior season at Coupeville High School, has two more finals Sunday.

He’s scheduled to run in the 200 and 4 x 400 relay, and a top-five finish in either event would punch another ticket to the year’s biggest event.

This is the second-straight season Conlisk has run with the Fliers during the summer, and also the second-straight year he’s qualified for nationals.

Last year, he advanced in the 400.

Read Full Post »

Emma Smith, part of one of the prairie’s most-successful sports families, follows her grandfather and aunt into the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Smith was a league, district, and bi-district champ in the shot put.

On the volleyball court, a Valkyrie unleashed.

Emma Smith was born to be good, but she made herself great.

Her grandfather, Steve, was one of the most physically-impressive athletes Coupeville has ever seen, and her aunt, Joli, remains, to this day, one of the most talented Wolves I have covered on a regular basis.

Toss in Emma’s parents, her sisters, her uncles, and her many, many relatives, and there is no question the Smith family can stand up there with the all-time success stories of prairie athletics.

So, she could have coasted. Could have let strong genes carry her to a certain point, and let it be.

But she didn’t.

Emma pushed beyond that, put in the work, year after year, practice after practice, camp after camp, road trip after road trip, and became a top-tier athlete.

She was often majestic on the volleyball court, rising up to the heavens to smash the ball, sending her rivals scrambling for cover and finding none.

Then, when spring came, you would find Emma off to the edges, lofting the shot put and letting the discus fly far away, content to bust PR’s in the relative quiet of field events.

Her track career ended, appropriately, with an especially-strong senior season, a campaign in which she torched the joint three weeks running.

Wins in the shot put at the league, district, and bi-district meet assured Emma of a trip to state (she also advanced in the discus), and gave her 10 first-place finishes during her high school days.

To that you can add five wins during her middle school career — three of those came in relays, proving she had speed to go with the upper-body strength — and you have a portrait of a track star who used her time and opportunities well.

But when we think of Emma, an intelligent, graceful young woman, what Wolf fans will remember most is her time on the volleyball court.

She is blessed with height, with reach, and with quick reflexes, and, to that, she added passion, heart, and fire.

On a volleyball court, Emma burned to be brilliant.

You could see it in how she carried herself, how she prepared, how she played.

During her junior season, Emma was an integral part of a Wolf squad which made it to the state tourney, the first CHS spiker unit to make the trek in 13 years.

Scan the stats for the past four seasons — she was the lone freshman listed on the full-time varsity roster back in 2015 — and her impact is obvious.

Playing alongside fellow big hitters like Katrina McGranahan and Maya Toomey-Stout, she rained down spikes, drilled winners, made the ball slash a chunk out of the court, then skid far, far away from the opposing team.

But while she could, and often did, fill up a stat sheet, Emma was someone you needed to see play in person to fully appreciate how good she was, and is.

She was an effective, often-dangerous, server, and someone who sold out time and again, fighting alongside long-time running mate and co-captain Ashley Menges, refusing to let plays die or big-name schools skate by on reputation alone.

The enduring image of Emma, though, will be of her elevating skyward, right arm swinging down to smash the air out of the volleyball, rival players scattering before a force of nature unleashed.

Well, that and her holding her niece after games while the lil’ girl beamed like 1,000 lights had all clicked on at once.

Emma is obviously a great aunt, and that image will endure, as well.

But, while the president of her fan club was being restrained in the stands, the image which transfixed Wolf fans, and rival coaches, who voted her as one of the league’s best, was of Emma going full-on Valkyrie.

No team felt the pain as much as South Whidbey, and the prairie terminator saved her greatest high school sports moment for the night of her 18th birthday — Sept. 25, 2018.

It was Armageddon, but bigger, with two high-flying teams going as toe-to-toe as you possibly can.

A look at the stat sheet afterwards showed the Wolves and Falcons virtually identical in every single category across five torrid sets.

The difference? Emma, having the sort of night every athlete should get at least once in their career.

I could recap it here, or you could go one better, bounce to https://coupevillesports.com/2018/09/26/there-can-only-be-one/, and marinate in the whole hyperventilating, hyperbole-filled article I wrote while the buzz of the gym was still reverberating in my ears.

It starts with “18 years to the day she was born, Emma Smith committed cold-blooded murder. And her mom loved every freakin’ second of it,” and then just keeps going bigger and bigger from there.

I like to think it’s a fitting testament to a young woman who is a great athlete, and a better person. Or, at least I hope so.

This article, the one you’re currently reading, is, probably quite obviously, a build-up to inducting Emma into the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame, the third entry from her immediate family.

After this you’ll find her at the top of the blog, under the Legends tab, right where she belongs, having earned her spot based on her play, her work, and her attitude.

I hope, as she goes forward and kills it in real life, she will occasionally look back and remember her prep sports days and nights.

I hope the good memories never fade for her, and that she will always take happiness in knowing how highly she was thought of by Wolf Nation.

And, one day, maybe when her own daughter takes the volleyball court for the first time, I hope Emma leans forward and whispers, “It’s going to be great. Your mom was a freakin’ Valkyrie, and you will be, too.”

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »