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Hank Milnes recorded the fastest time of any runner in Coupeville’s third virtual cross country meet. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

The open trail calls to runners of all ages. (Photos courtesy Porter and Ferrell families)

The official summer workout season is coming to a close for Coupeville cross country runners, but the Wolves continue to pile up the miles.

CMS coach Elizabeth Bitting, who is currently overseeing things for both high school and middle school harriers, has to step away, by WIAA rule, between August 17 and September 27.

With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the regular school cross country season has been moved from the fall to next March, as well.

None of that means the Wolves can’t keep up their summer activity on their own, however.

With Bitting still able to keep an eye on things, nine Coupeville runners teamed up to record 98.62 miles this past week, pushing the team summer total to 793.41 miles.

Included in that was the third of four virtual races, as the Wolves participated in the 2.89-mile “Don’t Get Lost in the Kettles Run.”

The official summer season wraps up this coming week with “The Pretty Pratt Run,” a 1.89-mile trek, which will take them up around the cemetery.

Runners have until next Saturday, Aug. 15 to record their best times and submit them to Bitting, who will release the results to the media the following day.

 

Results of the Kettles Run:

 

High School:

Hank Milnes (1st) 18:43
Reiley Araceley (2nd) 18:44

“Though the participants in the high school race were a smaller group this week what a great race I can envision in my mind!!!,” Bitting said.

“Running a race virtually is hard enough, but these runners had no idea how close they were to one another.

“Impressive race Hank and Reiley!!! Great job!!!! Woot! Woot!!”

 

Middle School:

Jack Porter (1st) 20:15
Nic Wasik (2nd) 21:47
Ayden Wyman (3rd) 23:53
Johnny Porter (4th) 24:30
Lillian Stanwood (5th) 25:18

The ever-irrepressible Ally Roberts is the seventh member of her extended family inducted into the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.com)

Also inducted today – older sister Madeline, a true one-of-a-kind star on the softball diamond.

At this rate, we might want to think about adding a Sandy Roberts wing to the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame.

The man himself is already well-established in our lil’ digital hall of wonders, inducted for his stellar work as both a Wolf athlete and coach.

Toss in two sons (Jon and Jay Roberts), a daughter-in-law (Sherry (Bonacci) Roberts) and, as of today, three grandchildren (Lindsey, Madeline, and Ally Roberts) also camping out there, and the family is well-represented.

While we wait for the construction of that wing, though, we have a bit of business to take care of, and that’s the induction of grandchildren #2 and #3, sisters Madeline and Ally.

They went their own ways when it came to choosing their athletic pursuits, but they were similar in always shining brightly in whatever arena they participated.

Madeline made her name on the softball field, a slap-hitting speedster who anchored the top of the lineup for the CHS softball squad.

A four-year letter winner, she was a First-Team All-League pick at shortstop during her senior season in 2014, a time when Coupeville faced off with big bads like Archbishop Thomas Murphy and Lakewood in the 1A/2A Cascade Conference.

That was the season the Wolves shocked folks by putting together a late-season run which carried them all the way to Eastern Washington for the state tournament, their first return trip to the big dance in a decade-plus.

In addition to All-League honors, Madeline ran away with the team award for Best Offense when Wolf coaches David and Amy King held their annual season-ending shindig.

Not content with merely being a high school standout, Mad Dog made the jump to college ball, as well, and with a twist.

She played two seasons on the diamond for Shoreline Community College, facing off a few times against former CHS teammate Hailey Hammer, who did her college time at Everett Community College.

But Madeline also surprised everyone when, after not playing basketball in high school, she opted to play a campaign with Shoreline’s hoops squad, acquitting herself quite nicely.

Her younger, but ultimately taller, sister was also a multi-sport athlete, juggling the equestrian world with volleyball.

On the court, Rally Ally was a ferocious hitter, ripping off knee-quaking spikes and flinging her body to the floor with wild abandon to save wayward shots.

Playing for the Wolves during a time of transition, when several coaches moved through the system, Ally saw her role change often, but she always adapted and never stopped fighting during every second she was given on the floor.

When she wasn’t in the gym, Lisa Edlin’s youngest daughter could usually be found astride a horse, winning medals and ribbons while tearing up the rodeo circuit.

It was a sport which carried Ally through both high school and college, where she was the captain of Western Washington University’s equestrian team.

She won a regional championship in Advanced Western Horsemanship in what turned out to be her final time in the saddle, before being denied a crack at nationals when COVID-19 shut down college sports.

That disappointment, while sad in the moment, will ultimately be just a small footnote for Ally, who like her big sis, has much more ahead of her left to accomplish.

As they move forward, they’ll also hang around, joining their family members under the Legends tab at the top of the blog.

They were stars during their school days — two bright, shining supernovas full of talent and skill who added bold new chapters to the tale of one of Coupeville’s most-successful athletic families.

Out in the real world, Madeline and Ally will be equally unstoppable. Of that, I have no doubt.

And when they do hit it big? We can say we knew them back when.

Cross country will join other traditional fall sports in moving to March during the 2020-2021 school year as Coupeville deals with COVID-19. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Don’t call it a cancellation, just a postponement.

Coupeville High School won’t field any athletic teams this fall, but, unlike last spring, it’s not a permanent erasure.

Hopefully.

As the world deals with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association has shuffled the athletic schedule for the 2020-2021 school year.

This time around, the plan is for four seasons, instead of the normal three.

But, at the same time, the WIAA made things flexible, allowing several “moderate risk” fall sports to be played in either Season 1 or Season 3.

For CHS, that’s cross country and boys tennis, and Wolf Athletic Director Willie Smith confirmed Friday he’s joining next-door neighbor South Whidbey in opting for the latter of the two choices.

“Obviously, we really want to get our kids and coaches going as we know how important physical activities can be, as well as the importance of building school culture that athletics can bring to our school,” Smith said.

“But, during these times, there are so many extraneous factors that continue to come into play: safety, phases of other schools/counties, opponent availability, etc. that our league and ourselves have made the decision that this is the best opportunity to get our student-athletes in the best possible scenario to get to have a season(s).

“We are hopeful and will continue to work towards workable solutions to provide our students with the most positive and successful experience we can but need to remind everyone that flexibility is going to have to be at the forefront of this school year.”

The plan now is for basketball to open the athletic year, with the first practices set for the final week of December, and games starting in January.

With seasons compressed, all sports will be allowed to play up to 70% of a normal regular-season schedule.

Playoffs and championship events are to be determined.

The proposed lineup:

 

Season 1:

No athletics offered at CHS

 

Season 2:

Boys/Girls Basketball

Practice starts: Dec. 28
Competition starts: Jan. 4
Postseason: Feb. 22-28
**Phase 4 for games**

 

Season 3:

Boys/Girls Soccer

Practice starts: Mar. 1
Competition starts: Mar. 8
Postseason: Apr. 26-May 1
**Phase 3 for games (with masks) or Phase 4 (no masks)**

 

Boys Tennis

Practice starts: Mar. 1
Competition starts: Mar. 8
Postseason: June 21-27
**Phase 3 for matches**

 

Competitive Cheer

Practice starts: Mar. 1
Competition starts: Mar. 8
Postseason: Apr. 26-May 1
**Phase 3 for competitions**

 

Cross Country

Practice starts: Mar. 1
Competition starts: Mar. 8
Postseason: April 26-May 1
**Phase 3 for meets**

 

Football

Practice starts: Feb. 17
Competition starts: Mar. 5
Postseason: Apr. 19-May 19
**Phase 4 for games**

 

Volleyball

Practice starts: Feb. 22
Competition starts: Mar. 8
Postseason: Apr. 26-May 1
**Phase 3 for matches**

 

Season 4:

Baseball

Practice starts: Apr. 26
Competition starts: May 3
Postseason: June 21-26
**Phase 3 for games (with masks) or Phase 4 (no masks)**

 

Girls Tennis

Practice starts: Apr. 26
Competition starts: May 3
Postseason: June 21-26
**Phase 3 for matches**

 

Softball

Practice starts: Apr. 26
Competition starts: May 3
Postseason: June 21-26
**Phase 3 for games (with masks) or Phase 4 (no masks)**

 

Track and Field

Practice starts: Apr. 26
Competition starts: May 3
Postseason: June 21-26
**Phase 3 for meets**

 

Middle school sports also shut down:

In a normal year, Coupeville Middle School opens with volleyball and boys soccer, then goes to girls and boys basketball, before finishing with track and field.

That will be upended this school year, but nothing official has been decided yet.

“We are waiting for directions from WIAA and our District 1 team,” Smith said. “There is a committee looking at options but nothing has been decided other than no middle school sports until at least late December just like high school.”

Coupeville Schools Superintendent Steve King

As the world deals with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Coupeville plans to open the 2020-2021 school year with primarily online learning.

Superintendent Steve King released a letter to the community Thursday which said he and the school board are recommending the district start in Phase 2 of a 5-phase plan.

Called the “Remote and Connection Model,” it will incorporate “an improved remote learning model with additional in-person connections for at-school opportunities for specifically identified students.”

The school year is slated to begin September 14.

King’s letter:

 

Over the course of the summer we have been working on multiple options for trying to reopen schools this fall.

As we think about in-person school models, we are following the guidance provided by OSPI, the Governor, and the Department of Health that was provided in June.

This week we received updated K-12 Fall Guidance for opening schools and a K-12 Decision Tree that provides metrics for districts to make decisions about reopening.

The guidance documents include social distancing, face coverings, daily health screenings, and protocols for incidents of COVID exposure that could result in student and/or staff quarantines.

The K-12 Decision Tree puts Island County School Districts in the “Moderate Risk” category for reopening schools.

In addition to all of this guidance, we have surveyed our staff and families in both June and late July and we have reviewed the data from these surveys in order to best serve all of our stakeholders.

We also have been working closely with our local Island County Health Department, OSPI, district administration, union groups, and other school districts in the region to get as much input as possible in order to make this difficult decision.

We are also mindful of the current public health environment in our state and community.

Unfortunately, the rate of COVID infection and the concerns surrounding it have been on the rise over the summer.

We know we do our best work and serve our students, families, and community most effectively when we are able to teach children in our schools 100% of the time, however, it has become clear that we are just not able to fully reopen our schools to in-person instruction this fall.

Given all of these considerations, it is the consensus of our school board and administrative team that our schools open the 20-21 school year in Stage 2, which we are referring to as Coupeville’s Remote and Connection Model.

Coupeville’s Remote and Connection Model means opening schools on September 14 with an improved remote learning model and additional in-person connections for “at-school” opportunities for specifically identified students.

This would provide targeted students some opportunities for face-to-face instruction with staff, while minimizing person-to-person contact.

The additional Connection services would support students with special needs, English language learners, kindergartners, and other students “furthest from educational justice.”

We will also have a strong focus on supporting our students and families with social emotional health this fall which may lead to additional in-person work with students along with remote support.

Throughout this school year we will constantly review our plans, local health outcomes, and the K-12 Decision Tree in order to make school model changes.

Please see our current plans and stages for our phased approach to reopening on our website:

http://www.coupeville.k12.wa.us/c_o_v_i_d_closure_-_c_s_d

The rationale for this plan is as follows:

The public health environment and concern in regards to public health in our state and local community are not improving.

Opening with any in-person school model this fall will likely lead to staff and student cohorts quarantined due to exposures. It may also lead to extended school closures.

This would create significant disruptions and no predictable teaching/learning model.

Students and staff perform most effectively with a stable, consistent instructional plan where expectations for engagement and learning are clear and implemented.

Deciding on this approach now allows us to continue to focus on improving our remote model based upon the successes and lessons learned from our spring experience.

With more time for training and implementation we are very confident we will deliver a better distance learning model this fall.

Making this decision now allows staff to focus on opportunities for specifically identified students with unique needs such as kindergarteners and preschoolers, English language learners (ELL), students with special needs, and other students “furthest from educational justice” to have some level of in-person interaction with staff.

These will be tightly managed small group or individual experiences, adhering to all OSPI, Department of Health, and Governor’s Office guidance.

The current 58 pages of guidelines for reopening schools for in-person instruction would likely have a significant negative impact on the learning environment in our schools and classrooms.

At the next school board meeting, August 24, the board will be asked to approve this plan.

Sadly, this pandemic has challenged all of us in many ways. We recognize any change to our regular school model creates complications.

We make this decision with the strong belief that it is the safest option for our community as a whole.

I am so thankful for your patience and understanding during these unprecedented times.

Please continue to show compassion and grace for others in our great community of Coupeville.

I am saddened by the negative impacts that this decision has on so many people, but I am passionate and continue to be optimistic that we will eventually refill our classrooms and hallways with our amazing students when it is safe to do so.

I am certain everyone has many questions regarding the above plan; please keep an eye out for more information in the days ahead.

Please stay safe, healthy and take care,

Steve King

Superintendent

Oak Harbor grad James Besaw hopes to play baseball in Wisconsin next spring. (Photo courtesy Teresa Besaw)

New state, same game.

Oak Harbor High School grad James Besaw is off to the Midwest to pursue his baseball dreams, while continuing to work on his college education.

The former Wildcat star will be attending the University of Wisconsin-Superior, a liberal arts school where he’ll be pursuing a bachelors in chemistry.

Besaw, who is working as a park aid at Deception Pass State Park this summer, leaves near the end of August to head to a school with some famous alumni.

Arnold Schwarzenegger doesn’t need much of an introduction, but Wisconsin-Superior has also graduated Pixar co-founder David DiFrancesco, several NFL players, and old-school Major League Baseball star Morrie Arnovich.

Arnovich played seven seasons in the bigs, making the All-Star team as a Philadelphia Phillie, before winning a World Series with the 1940 Cincinnati Reds.

Wisconsin-Superior, which plays baseball in the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference, is an NCAA D-III school.

After graduating from OHHS, Besaw played his freshman season at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts.

He then moved back to the Northwest, where he suited up this spring for Green River College alongside Coupeville grads CJ Smith, Joey Lippo, and Hunter Smith.

The season ended prematurely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the handful of games he played as a Gator don’t count against Besaw’s college eligibility.

Wisconsin-Superior contacted Besaw, and, after a visit to the campus, he decided it was perfect for the next step in his baseball career.

“I don’t look forward to him being so far away, but I am excited for him to play ball again,” mom Teresa Besaw said. “He was off to such a good start before COVID hit.

“It’s just over a bridge from Duluth, Minnesota, so there will be lots to do where he’ll be at,” she added. “I’m glad to see him getting more opportunity to play ball.

“He’s been loving the game since he was four.”