Archive for the ‘Year in Review’ Category

Freshman Jada Heaton is one of 23 Wolves to play three sports during the 2021-2022 school year. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Dominic Coffman bounced from football to basketball to track.

“Everyone plays, no one quits.”

Coupeville High School has the smallest student body of Whidbey Island’s three high schools, but the Wolves are committed.

Coming out of the darkest days of the pandemic (knock on wood), it’s been interesting to see how prep sports are booming.

Given a chance to take the field or court again, Coupeville’s student/athletes have responded, with what feels like huge numbers this spring.

Baseball and softball have enough players to field JV squads in addition to varsity teams, which is very rare at the 2B level.

The Wolf track and field roster goes deep, and girls tennis?

Longtime net guru Ken Stange has an astonishing 23 girls out there, smacking the crud out of fuzzy yellow balls.

As CHS Athletic Director Willie Smith and his coaches have both kept the spark lit and continued to build their programs, the steel in Coupeville’s spine has been the students who have committed to playing year-round.

If my numbers are correct, there are 23 Wolves — 12 boys and 11 girls — who are wrapping up the school year as three-sport athletes.

That number ties the best single-year mark during the 10-year run of Coupeville Sports and is especially nice to see at a small school where every body in a uniform matters.

The core of the group are freshmen, who account for 11 of the 23 three-sport athletes.

The junior and sophomore classes have five iron men/women apiece, with only two seniors — Audrianna Shaw and Xavier Murdy — on the list.

There are others who might have made the list, but injuries, or jobs, or life, or an unwillingness to play basketball — Coupeville’s lone winter sport — leaves them out of this discussion.

No slander to those who didn’t, or couldn’t, make it all the way to the finish line this school year.

Just respect to those who did.


Coupeville’s three-sport athletes for 2021-2022, with grade and sports: 

Edie Bittner – 9 – cross country, basketball, softball
Dominic Coffman — 11 — football, basketball, track
Mia Farris — 9 — volleyball, basketball, softball
Carson Field — 9 — cross country, basketball, track
Nick Guay — 10 — soccer, basketball, track
Gwen Gustafson — 11 — volleyball, basketball, softball
Jada Heaton — 9 — volleyball, basketball, softball
Carolyn Lhamon — 11 — soccer, basketball, track
Katie Marti — 9 — volleyball, basketball, softball
Madison McMillan — 9 — volleyball, basketball, softball
Alex Murdy — 11 — soccer, basketball, baseball
Xavier Murdy — 12 — soccer, basketball, baseball
Zane Oldenstadt — 10 — football, basketball, baseball
Jack Porter — 9 — football, basketball, baseball
Johnny Porter — 9 — football, basketball, baseball
Landon Roberts — 9 — cross country, basketball, baseball
Mikey Robinett — 10 — football, basketball, track
Audrianna Shaw — 12 — soccer, basketball, softball
Lyla Stuurmans — 9 — volleyball, basketball, track
Jonathan Valenzuela — 11 — football, basketball, baseball
Savina Wells — 9 — volleyball, basketball, softball
Cole White — 10 — cross country, basketball, baseball
Reese Wilkinson — 10 — soccer, basketball, track

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Mason Grove rises up to deny a shoeless rival. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

I’m a writer, not a photographer.

So, it’s a good thing I have a whole ton of people willing to snap pics for me.

Looking back, here’s my choice for 20 of my favorite photos from the 2019-2020 school year.

They’re in no particular order, and not every sport is represented, but these are the photos which caught my eye today, a mix of action and reaction.

And, most of all, emotion.

Avery Parker (and her artwork) come out to support big sister Skylar. (Corinn Parker photo)

Maya Toomey-Stout gets medieval on the volleyball. (Brian Vick photo)

Maddie Georges slices to the hoop. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Ben Smith (in hat) and Sean Toomey-Stout share a final moment on the gridiron. (Deb Smith photo)

Avalon Renninger hangs out with her fan club. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Zoe Trujillo (front) and Maddie Vondrak get down with their bad selves. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Lyla Stuurmans brings the heat. “Oh, they’re gonna need that first aid kit when I get done with them!!” (Corinn Parker photo)

Emily Fiedler celebrates winning a cheer camp competition. (BreAnna Boon photo)

I said, “Sit down!” (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Brynn Parker gets congrats from cross country guru Elizabeth Bitting. (Morgan White photo)

Kai Wong claims the turnover belt after recovering a fumble. (Photo property CHS football)

A mid-match black eye won’t stop Scout Smith. (Charlotte Young photo)

Jada Heaton enjoys her time on the hardwood. (Corinn Parker photo)

Mica Shipley, cheer champ. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Middle school hoops stars show some love to high school hotshot Hawthorne Wolfe. (Morgan White photo)

Emma Mathusek is pumped up. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Natalie Hollrigel pies Shipley during a fundraiser. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Ty Hamilton splashes home a bucket. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

The bright future of Wolf sports. (Sherine Wenzel photo)

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   Mikayla Elfrank spent last spring thumping home runs, including one which dented a carnival ride in Sequim. (Photo by Jordan Ford)

   Jacob Smith and McKenzie Meyer both set school records during track season. (Deb Smith photo)

   Maya “The Gazelle” Toomey-Stout, here with brother Cameron, AKA “Camtastic,” advanced to the state track meet in four events. (Beth Stout photo)

   Spikers (l to r) Emma Smith, Ashley Menges and Toomey-Stout celebrate after CHS punches its ticket to state for the first time since 2004. (Konni Smith photo)

Departures, arrivals, births of new stars and coronations of established ones.

The sports year that was 2017 contained a little bit of everything.

And, while Coupeville High School is still seeking that elusive first team state title, there was plenty to discuss and reminisce about.

In somewhat random order, the 17 stories which defined prairie sports in 2017:

Bye, Bye, Bye” — On to the next adventure, as CHS Athletic Director Willie Smith announces the school is ending a four-year partnership and leaving the 1A Olympic League at the end of the 2017-2018 school year.

Will the Wolves revert to 2B and return to their old stomping grounds in the Northwest Conference or stay 1A and join South Whidbey in launching a new league born out of the steaming carcass of the Cascade Conference?

Check back at the end of Jan. for that answer.

Home, sweet home” — After two years of using temporary stands, CHS has a shiny new covered grandstand for football, track and soccer.

It was finished a couple of days AFTER football’s final home game, and that press box needs some window work, but still a big step.

Girls rule!” — Coupeville’s best teams were powered by a strong core of female athletes.

Basketball capped a third-straight 9-0 run through league play last winter, softball won 19 games and came within a strike  of advancing to state, tennis captured a third-straight league title and volleyball didn’t drop a set in winning a second-straight league crown.

The spikers made it to the big dance in Yakima, as well, the first time the Wolf volleyball program had gone to state since 2004.

Run to glory” — Coupeville junior Danny Conlisk, after training and traveling with South Whidbey, became the first Wolf cross country runner to punch a ticket to state since Tyler King won the boy’s title in 2010.

A new outlook” — Chris Smith took the reigns of the CHS baseball team in mid-season, while Brad Sherman (boys basketball), Kyle Nelson (girls soccer), Kimberly Bepler and Sarah Lyngra (middle school volleyball), Dante Mitchell (middle school boys basketball) and Emily Stevens (cheer) stepped into new head coaching positions.

Stop hurting yourself” — After a strong start, Coupeville’s football season took hit after hit, as a rash of injuries decimated the Wolves.

Top play-makers Hunter Smith, Sean Toomey-Stout, Matt Hilborn, Chris Battaglia and Andrew Martin were just the tip of the iceberg, with CHS finishing the season with more players in street clothes than at any time in recent memory.

Records are made to be broken” — While they were still upright, the Wolf football players rewrote the record-books.

Senior quarterback Hunter Downes broke Sherman’s record for career touchdown passes, while Smith, even missing the final five games of his final season, departs with at least a share of seven game, season or career marks.

Let it rain” — Wolf sophomore Mason Grove kicked off the 2017-2018 basketball season with a performance for the ages.

Playing against Port Townsend in a JV game, he nailed 10 three-balls (the school’s varsity record is seven), recording 34 points.

The only reason Grove hasn’t re-broken the record? He’s now playing varsity minutes as well, which limits his JV floor time.

The alumni are alright” — Former Wolf stars took their games to the next stage, with Makana Stone playing a major role as a freshman on a Whitman College women’s basketball squad which came within a play or two of the NCAA D-III Final Four.

She’s leading the Blues in scoring as a sophomore, while former classmate Nick Streubel, a red-shirt sophomore at Central Washington University, was a First-Team All-Conference offensive lineman on a Wildcat football team which went 11-1 and won a league title.

Toss in Ben Etzell, an All-Conference baseball pitcher at Saint John’s (Minnesota), Kailey Kellner, playing hoops at D’Youville College, and several others, and the Wolves are well-represented on the college sports scene.

Mitch is a pro” — Having finished a strong college career at Montana Western, former Wolf Mitch Pelroy was drafted by the Atlantic Sharks of the Rivals Professional Football League. He starts his new journey of being paid to play Feb. 1.

MVP, MVP, MVP!!” — Coupeville senior Hope Lodell capped a record-busting run as a volleyball player by being tabbed as the Olympic League’s most valuable player in season-ending voting by coaches.

Having moved over to replace Valen Trujillo at libero, Lodell, who owns the CHS season and career service ace records, was the glue which held the Wolves together during a 13-win season.

Last spring, Katrina McGranahan, a two-way terror in the pitcher’s circle and at the plate, was named softball MVP by league coaches. That capped an extraordinary junior year, as she was also league MVP in volleyball.

She’s a beast” — Mikayla Elfrank is one of the most electrifying athletes in Wolf Nation and she lights up the volleyball and basketball courts, as well as the softball diamond.

Last spring, she outdid even herself, though, smashing out-of-the-park home runs on consecutive pitches against Sequim, in games eight days apart in different towns.

After launching a moon shot in Coupeville, right before lightning ended play, Elfrank picked things right back up on the road.

Jumping on the very first pitch she saw, the Wolf slugger launched a ball over the center field fence in Sequim, denting a carnival ride being set up behind the fence, and earning free ice cream from the rival coach in the process.

We’re back” — After losing their grip on the title last year, Coupeville’s Red Pride, an alumni basketball team featuring a who’s-who of late ’90s stars, stormed back to reclaim honors at the Roehl Roundball Classic.

While 2016 saw an Oak Harbor squad abscond with the trophy, 2017 was an all-Wolf affair, as the championship match featured Red Pride out-dueling the Coupeville Cows, whose players mainly hail from the early 2000’s.

Our bucket (remix)” — Coupeville football, playing at full-strength, opened the 2017 campaign by drilling South Whidbey 18-0 in Langley.

It marked the first time the Wolves had beaten the Falcons in back-to-back years since the two schools started playing for The Bucket — a somewhat-battered, but deeply-valued, trophy presented to the victor of the Island rivalry clash.

New oval, same old dominance” — CHS debuted its new track and field facilities, then its athletes went out and tore up the record books.

Among the record-busters was Jacob Smith, who finished 3rd at state in the 200, topping his own record-setting time from a season before.

Lindsey Roberts (100 hurdles) and Mitchell Carroll (triple jump) went a little further back, shattering school-best marks which had stood since 1999 and 1994, respectively.

And, while she didn’t bust any school record times (yet), freshman Maya Toomey-Stout became the first Wolf girl to advance to state in four events (100, 200, 4 x 100, 4 x 200) in the same season.

Joltin’ Jae is here to save the day” — One of the defining wins of 2017 came when Coupeville softball knocked off Klahowya, a particular thorn in its side. The Wolves ended up sweeping three games from the Eagles, but the first one was the dazzler.

A home run from Tiffany Briscoe and big hits from Veronica Crownover and Sarah Wright put the Wolves up 5-0 at home, but KSS roared back to take a 6-5 lead late in the game.

Enter senior second baseman Jae LeVine, AKA the woman of a thousand nicknames (The Mighty Mite, Flash, Joltin’ Jae) and the biggest heart in the game.

Delivering her third, and biggest hit of the afternoon, she ripped a game-winning RBI double in the bottom of the sixth inning, then danced atop the bag, flashing thumbs-up at her fan section.

Don’t call it a comeback … OK, you can call it a comeback” — The kind of win which can make a season.

Facing defending league champ Port Townsend at home Dec. 12, the Coupeville boys basketball team overcame a 12-point fourth-quarter deficit, survived a wild finish, then won in overtime.

For a senior-dominated squad which has endured some rough times getting here, exiting 2017 on top of the league standings has to be especially sweet.

Now, it’s time for all the Wolves to jump feet-first in to 2018 and write a new year’s worth of success stories.

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