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Skylar Parker, seen last spring, is part of a hard-playing Coupeville SWISH basketball squad. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Weather the storm, build for the future.

Playing without its starting point guard, the Coupeville 7th/8th grade SWISH girls basketball team faced tough competition Saturday, but held up well.

The Wolves dropped a close one to “a very good Monroe team,” falling 30-25, before tiredness became a factor in a 22-10 loss to Mount Vernon.

While the losses leave Coupeville at 0-4 on the season, coach Fred Farris remains impressed by how his young, very-inexperienced team continues to show growth.

“The girls played their tails off,” he said. “It’s remarkable how far these girls have come in such a short time, especially considering all but four of the girls have essentially no experience.

“Couldn’t be prouder of their effort.”

The Wolves were without Lauren Marrs, their primary ball handler and a potent scorer, who is battling through a back injury.

Even without her talent as a distributor, Coupeville battled back from 10 down against Monroe to pull within 26-25.

Savina Wells, who paced the Wolves in scoring in both contests Saturday, had “a good look rim out” with two minutes to play, while a follow up put-back from Jada Heaton refused to stay in the bucket, going in, then popping back out.

Without Marrs in the lineup, “Mia (Farris) and Lyla (Stuurmans) were thrust into ball-handling duties and did an admirable job.”

Fred Farris also praised Madison McMillan, who “was everywhere, on the boards and on defense, and scored two big baskets during the comeback.”

Savina was her usual reliable self,” he added. “It felt like she had 2000 rebounds in the two games and really took charge when we needed her to.”

Coupeville had to bounce right back after its narrow opening loss, playing Mount Vernon less than 10 minutes after the first game ended.

“The girls were clearly gassed and Mount Vernon’s “packed in” 2-3 zone made it tough for us to get to the basket and we struggled to hit outside shots,” Fred Farris said.

“The refs let the game get too physical on both sides, and that, with a very slippery La Venture Middle School gym floor made for a very chippy second half.”

Wells paced the Wolves, dropping 12 points in the opener and another seven in the nightcap, while Brionna Blouin went for five and three.

McMillan (4), Stuurmans (3), and Mia Farris (1) also scored against Monroe.

Big Hurt takes a bow

Nick Streubel hangs out with family on Central Washington University football Senior Night. (Photos courtesy Nanette Streubel and Amanda Jones)

“I taught the boy everything he knows about football, just saying…”

Uncle Nick, the gentle gridiron giant.

“The Big Hurt” went out by delivering a … really big hurt.

Coupeville High School grad Nick Streubel celebrated Senior Night Saturday by leading his Central Washington University football team to a 72-17 win over Missouri’s Southwest Baptist University.

The non-conference rout was the fifth-straight win for the streaking Wildcats, who sit at 6-4 with one game left on the regular season schedule.

Central, which is 4-1 in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference, travels to Canada next Saturday, Nov. 16 to play Simon Fraser University (1-4, 1-8).

With a win, the Wildcats clinch half the GNAC title, which they will share with Western Oregon (5-1, 7-3).

The two teams split this season, with the Wolves coming out on top 36-26 in late September, before Central rebounded for a 42-41 overtime win in mid-October.

If Streubel and Co. win out and lay claim to their share of the title, it will be the third-straight year CWU has done so.

While he and his teammates are hopeful of landing a spot in the NCAA D-II playoffs, the former Wolf is nearing the end of what has been a rock-solid college career.

Thanks to two red-shirt seasons, one as a freshman, then a second due to a hand injury, Streubel spent six seasons in the Wildcat program.

A team captain and the face of CWU football this season, the anchor of the offensive line has already graduated but returned for one final go-round on the gridiron.

During his time as a ‘Cat, Streubel has been named to All-League and All-Region teams, while having ESPN announcers hype him as a guy worthy of a look from the NFL.

Way back when he was still a growing man mountain, and not yet the carved-from-granite physical specimen he has become, “The Big Hurt” was a three-sport standout at CHS.

Football, basketball, and track kept him busy, but his greatest moment came after a season-ending gridiron clash against Chimacum his junior year.

The stadium in Port Townsend had been used the night before the Wolves and Cowboys played, and the field was ripped up, mushy, and stinky.

After a game in the trenches, Streubel was given a rushing attempt as a reward for years of work, and he promptly carried at least seven screaming, sobbing Cowboys on his back, crashing forward for yardage, ending the play in the middle of a giant mud puddle.

The Wolves had to high-tail it to catch the last ferry out of town after the game, which gave no one a chance to clean up.

At the dock, Streubel, all 6-foot-3 and 300 pounds of him, coated from head to toe in mud, chased after his coaches, eventually snagging one and wrapping them in a grimy embrace.

So, basically, it’s great to see Nick do so well in college and all.

But, that said, I already witnessed him at his finest on that dock.

The man was a freakin’ legend at 17, and just keeps getting better with time.

Coupeville junior Catherine Lhamon got faster as the cross country season progressed, running her best time Saturday at the 1A state meet. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Lhamon and Wolf coach Luke Samford celebrate in Pasco. (Helene Lhamon photo)

Her junior season ended much better than her sophomore campaign.

A year ago, Coupeville’s Catherine Lhamon was the top female runner for a reborn Coupeville High School cross country program.

Peaking at just the right time, she was running wild on the trails, until late-season leg injuries sent her to the sidelines, unable to run in the postseason.

Jump forward a year, and the Wolf harrier program has exploded in the number of athletes participating, with Lhamon back at the front of the pack.

This time, she avoided injuries, allowing her fleet feet to carry her all the way to Pasco, where she ran in the 1A state meet Saturday.

And not only did Lhamon break from the line at the big dance, but she also finished with a bang.

Passing runners down the backstretch, the Wolf junior recorded a season-best time, and the second-fastest mark she’s ever had in a 5,000 meter race.

Her time of 21 minutes, 44.70 seconds was 18.5 seconds faster than her previous top mark this season, and placed her 92nd in a field of 149 runners.

Lhamon was the only CHS athlete to qualify for state this fall, in any sport, and becomes just the third Wolf, and only female, to make it to high school cross country’s biggest race this decade.

She joins Danny Conlisk, who ran at Pasco in 2017, and Tyler King, who won the 1A state title in 2010.

King trained and traveled with Oak Harbor, Conlisk with South Whidbey, as Coupeville’s own cross country program lay dormant for two decades.

It returned in 2018, led by Lhamon, Conlisk and coach Natasha Bamberger, who won the 1985 state title while attending CHS.

Work commitments led to Bamberger stepping away from the program before this season, and she was replaced by college coach Luke Samford.

Coupeville jumped from two girls in 2018 to five this year, while the boys drew a double-digit turnout in year two.

The increased numbers allowed the Wolves to compete in the team standings at meets this season, another huge step as the program rebuilds.

A prime example of what CHS would like to be sits just up the road in Langley, where South Whidbey has a cross country program which sits in the WIAA Hall of Fame.

Saturday, the Falcons sent both boys and girls teams to Pasco, claiming fourth and eighth in the team standings, respectively.

The top individual finisher for South Whidbey was junior Kaia Swegler Richmond, who claimed 6th place.

The 1A girls race got super-dramatic, as defending state champ Naomi Smith of King’s and top contender Alaina Stone of Colville dueled, separated by a single second at the two-mile mark.

Smith, who is one of the fastest high school harriers in the nation, suffered a late fall, however, allowing Stone to run away with a title in the final prep match-up between the speedy seniors.

Adam Briejer of Charles Wright Academy won the boys race, with the Deer Park girls and Lakeside (Nine Mile Falls) boys claiming team titles.

Yesterday once more

Chelsea Prescott floats like a butterfly, stings like a bee. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Maddie Vondrak (left) and Scout Smith get pumped-up during pregame introductions.

Hannah Davidson plays Tip War with a feisty rival.

Zoe Trujillo administers a no-fly zone for incoming volleyballs.

Why yes, since you asked, Lucy Sandahl did bring enough candy for everyone.

Ignoring the pain of a black eye, Smith prepares to launch a blistering attack.

Emma Mathusek rolls out, ready to be amazing.

Maya Toomey-Stout warms up her spike-happy hands by gettin’ some love from her teammates.

The action ends, but the photos never do.

The Coupeville High School volleyball season wrapped a few days back, but I continue to work through a backlog of pics.

So, here’s another batch dedicated to a Wolf varsity squad which tied the program’s all-time single-season win record, rolling up 14 victories this fall.

Alas, no splash

Denny Zylstra, planning some shenanigans.

Denny Zylstra is one of the true big-timers in the history of Coupeville athletics.

His runs as an athlete, coach, and die-hard supporter have been well-documented, and he has been a member of the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame for some time.

Today, though, thanks to Charlie Burrow, we have a story about a young Denny which I hadn’t previously heard.

One day in the spring of 1958, the Coupeville High School baseball team was returning from a game in Port Townsend aboard the PT-Keystone ferry.

The players were still in uniform because the county stadium where we played in downtown PT didn’t have showers – the team suited up at the Coupeville school, then went by bus to Keystone and walked aboard the ferry.

At that time the PT ferry dock was further north than the current dock and only about a block from the stadium, so CHS saved having to pay the fare for the bus by having the team walk aboard.

Anyway, at some point after we departed PT, someone dared Denny Zylstra (CHS ’58), the team’s leading pitcher, and prankster, to jump off the ferry while it was underway.

He said he’d do it for $35.

So, when enough pledges were raised from players and supporters to meet his price, he began to strip off his uniform preparatory to making the plunge.

But, unfortunately (or, fortunately for Denny) a member of the ferry crew who’d gotten wind of the proceedings intervened and warned us that if he jumped, they’d be calling the sheriff and Denny would be arrested when we arrived at Keystone.

So much for that idea.

PS — Don’t remember who won the ball game.