Archive for the ‘Wolves in college’ Category

Makana Stone (in headband) chases down a loose ball. (Photo property Loughborough University)

She made a very-good first impression.

And then a great second, third, fourth, and fifth impression.

Coupeville grad Makana Stone has played five basketball games for England’s Loughborough University, throwing down five double-doubles.

Now, after amassing 20 points and 21 rebounds Saturday, including hitting a game-winning bank shot with four seconds to play to upend undefeated Ipswich, the former Wolf is once again raking in honors.

Stone was tabbed Monday as the Women’s National Basketball League Player of the Week, the second time she’s snagged that award this season.

Ipswich is the defending league champ and looked like it would keep its record perfect after a three-ball staked it to a late 76-75 lead.

Enter Loughborough’s American assassin, who pulled down an entry pass, used and abused her defender — Gonzaga-bound Esther Little — then softly banked home the game’s final bucket while hanging in the air.

With the win, the Riders improved to 4-2 on the season, 4-1 with Stone in uniform, while sending Ipswich to 6-1.

Coupeville’s progeny, who had a torrid four-year run of academic and athletic success at Whitman College before heading overseas, is among the league leaders in multiple categories.

Stone is tied for #1 in rebounds (16.4 a night), #4 in efficiency (133.0), #5 in scoring (17.0), and #8 in free throw percentage (79.2%).

Loughborough has one game left before winter break, with a matchup against Nottingham this coming Saturday, December 19.

That game will pit Stone against three-ball gunner Mady Burnett, her running mate at Whitman for four seasons.

Together, the duo led the Blues to 94 wins, the most by a graduating class in program history.

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Makana Stone continues to reel in awards. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

She’s still in the game.

Even though Coupeville’s Makana Stone graduated from Whitman College earlier this spring, her name keeps popping up every time an award is announced.

Earlier, the former Wolf was tabbed as the Northwest Conference women’s basketball MVP, won Whitman’s Mignon Borleske Award — the school’s highest athletic honor for a female athlete — and landed on the NWC All-Academic First Team.

Now, Stone has been nominated by Whitman for the big-time NCAA Woman of the Year Award.

She’s one of seven senior student/athletes across all sports honored by NWC officials.

The league’s senior female administrators will pare that list of seven down to one athlete, and announce their pick Tuesday, June 14.

Whether it’s Stone or a fellow athlete, the NWC selection enters the national competition, where the NCAA Woman of the Year selection committee picks a top 30, with 10 athletes apiece from D1, D2, and D3.

The committee then selects a top three for each division, with one athlete eventually emerging as the ultimate winner.

Angela Mercurio, a triple jumper from the University of Nebraska, won the award in 2019, while Canisius College distance runner Mary Beth Riley claimed the inaugural honor back in 1991.

Two basketball players (Rebecca Lobo – University of Connecticut – 1995, and Nkolika Anosike – University of Tennessee – 2008) have previously won the award.

The NCAA Woman of the Year recognizes “graduating female student-athletes who have exhausted their eligibility and distinguished themselves in academics, athletics, service, and leadership throughout their collegiate careers.”

Stone finished her four-year run at Whitman having made the most starts of any female basketball player to ever attend the Walla Walla school.

She and her fellow Blues seniors went to the NCAA tourney three times in four seasons, won a league title, and captured more wins than any group in program history.

When Stone wasn’t flying down the court, slapping layups high off the glass or rejecting rival shots, she was a standout in the classroom and the community.

Coupeville’s progeny was part of the Whitman College mentor program, an ACE representative, and a member of the Whitman Elementary School Science Night Committee.

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Ja’Tarya Hoskins went to the state meet in both cheer and track during her time at Coupeville High School. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Hoskins teamed with (left to right) Maya Toomey-Stout, Mallory Kortuem, and Lindsey Roberts to smash the CHS record in the 4 x 100.

Brilliant and talented, Ja’Tarya Hoskins can clear any hurdle you throw at her.

The recent Coupeville High School grad, a standout for Wolf cheer and track teams, will head off the Island in the fall to continue her academic and athletic pursuits.

Hoskins plans to attend Saint Martin’s University in Lacey, and will balance studying pre-law with competing for the school’s track team.

The plan is to have her run the 60 meter hurdles during the indoor season, then move on to the 100 hurdles and possibly 400 hurdles when the outdoor season begins.

With a goal of attending law school after she finishes her undergraduate degree, Hoskins chose her new school after careful deliberation.

“I selected Saint Martin’s University because it’s a smaller school kinda like Coupeville,” she said.

“I haven’t visited the campus but looking at the photos it feels like home.”

Saint Martin’s is a private liberal arts school founded in 1895 by monks from the Benedictine Order.

Started as an all-boys boarding school, it first welcomed female students in 1965.

Hoskins joins a track and field team which vies in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference, the same league her fellow CHS Class of 2020 grad and relay teammate Mallory Kortuem will call home while running in the 400 at Western Washington University.

Saint Martin’s athletic programs compete at the NCAA D-II level.

During her time in Coupeville, Hoskins advanced to the highest level of competition in both of her sports.

As a junior, she was a key part of a CHS cheer squad which claimed 3rd place at the state meet.

That was especially notable, as the Wolves abandoned competition cheer after the 2011 season, working as just a sideline squad for six years before returning to the blue mats in 2018.

Buoyed by their immediate success, Hoskins and her teammates went on to qualify for nationals during her senior season.

In the track world, Ja’Tarya, part of a family of successful Wolf track stars which includes older siblings Will and Jai’Lysa, and younger sister Ja’Kenya, competed in almost every event on the list.

The COVID-19 pandemic denied her a senior track season, but as a junior she teamed with Kortuem, Maya Toomey-Stout, and Lindsey Roberts to place 5th at state in the 4 x 100 relay.

The quartet hit the tape in 50.54 seconds, and they currently sit on the big board in the CHS gym as school record-holders.

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Coupeville grad Mica Shipley will be an NCAA D-1 cheerleader at Eastern Washington University this fall. (Photos courtesy Tammy Akard and BreAnna Boon)

She’s in the game for life.

Mica Shipley broke into cheerleading at a young age, and her love of the sport has never faded.

On all-star teams by age six, it was all uphill from there.

Already a star at a young age.

The 2020 Coupeville High School grad rose through the ranks, capping her time in Cow Town as a team captain for a resurgent Wolf cheer program.

With Shipley flying high, CHS returned to competitive cheer during her junior season, and immediately made an impact, claiming 3rd at the state tourney.

She and her Wolf teammates followed that up by making it to nationals during her senior campaign.

Shipley also was chosen to model for Glitter Starz, an Illinois-based company which is a national leader in custom all-star uniforms, warm-ups, and other cheer essentials.

But, as much as she accomplished during her high school days, that won’t be the end of her cheer career.

Shipley, who will be attending Eastern Washington University to study nursing, with plans to become an OBGYN, has been picked for the school’s cheer squad.

EWU, whose alumni include NFL wide receiver Cooper Kupp, legendary comic book artist Todd McFarlane, and Olympic gold medal shooter Launi Meili, competes as an NCAA D-1 school.

When selecting her new school, Shipley was looking for a comfortable fit, and she found it in Cheney.

“I chose EWU because it gave me that hometown feel without it being super small like Coupeville,” she said. “And it’s also not too far away from home.”

To earn her spot on the Eagles cheer roster, Shipley had to go through several levels of tryouts, all adjusted to deal with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“I had to do an online tryout video. They sent me a dance, fight song, and some cheers,” Shipley said.

“I also had to send in videos of me stunting and tumbling.”

After making the first cut, it was time for interviews with the coaches.

“They asked me how I would describe myself and how my relationships were with my past teammates and coaches,” Shipley said. “We mostly all just got to know each other.”

The official announcement came Thursday, and CHS cheer coach BreAnna Boon immortalized the moment by sneaking down to Shipley’s job and decorating her car.

Shipley’s car gets some love.

“Eastern Washington is incredibly lucky to have her be a part of the team,” Boon said.

“They don’t know it yet, but she is the perfect addition and I’m planning to catch her live at a game!”

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Coupeville’s Sebastian Wurzainer, here with sister Tia, is a valedictorian at Dartmouth. (Lisa Wurzrainer photo)

The kid’s alright.

Back in his Coupeville High School days, Sebastian Wurzrainer worked at the family restaurant, Christopher’s on Whidbey, while also finding time to be the world’s hardest-working soccer manager.

On game days, he would perch up in the old, bee-infested CHS press box, calling out plays and celebrating goals as the PA announcer.

Once or twice, his joy in honoring those who put the ball in the back of the net, regardless of whether they wore a Wolf uniform or not, got him some good-natured blowback from his classmates.

Sebastian … you can’t celebrate for the other team!!”

“Yes, yes, I’ll remember that next time,” Wurzrainer would respond, and then the next time the opposing team scored, he would bellow out “GOOOOOOAAAALLLL” once again, slight smile on his face.

Sebastian has never done anything halfway, and that’s a big reason he would land on any list of the smartest students to ever walk the hallways in Cow Town.

If you need any proof of that, just look to today’s graduation at Dartmouth College, where Wurzrainer was one of six valedictorians for the Class of 2020.

This ain’t no community college in Palookaville we’re talking about here.

It’s freakin’ Dartmouth, the cream of the Ivy League, the ninth-oldest institution of higher education in the USA (thanks Wikipedia!), and a place where all the students are too smart to even think about using the word ain’t.

And now Wurzainer is walking out the door with a 4.0 career GPA, a degree in Film and Media Studies, and the goal of obtaining his Ph.D. and becoming a professor and researcher.

The guy who I once talked movies with in that bee-infested press box is bound for the MA program in Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Southern California, which is about as big-time as you can get in the field.

Sebastian came to Dartmouth with a plan to write and direct films professionally, but took a different route after a first-term film history course.

“I immediately found myself engrossed in the theoretical and historical aspects of film studies,” he wrote in his graduation note.

“In the intervening years, I have become increasingly interested in the way that films simultaneously reflect and shape the ideology and psychology of the cultures that produce and receive them.

“I had the opportunity to explore these ideas in depth in a senior thesis that examined how the human brain makes sense of editing in classical Hollywood films.”

Reading that takes me back to those press box days with him.

I was a video store lifer with no more video stores to live in, content to ramble on about cheesy, oddball musicals like Bugsy Malone and Shock Treatment.

Sebastian, at 16, was in a different world however, already breaking down serious cinema like Schindler’s List in a way which would have blown away film scholars.

One of us was content to flick dead bees out the open-air press box window, trying to hit the fans sitting below, while the other one of us was getting ready to take the Ivy League by storm.

Proud of you, Mr. Wurzrainer.

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