One to learn from!!

   After two straight home matches to open the season, Megan Behan and her Coupeville tennis teammates hit the road Friday and travel to Langley. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Some days are about winning and losing, and some days are about learning.

Thursday afternoon the Coupeville High School girls tennis team got to experience the latter, as the Wolves ran into a buzz-saw in 2A Sequim.

“They’re good. No, I mean … they’re GOOD,” said a philosophical CHS coach Ken Stange as he ambled past, watching the action unfold through the chain-link fence.

The visitors, who are coached by Mark Textor, brother of Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Famer Phyllis Textor, cruised to a 7-0 win.

The non-conference loss drops the Wolves to 0-2, but they get an immediate chance to bounce back, as CHS travels to Langley Friday to face arch-rival South Whidbey.

Coupeville’s closest match against Sequim came at #2 doubles, where sophomores Avalon Renninger and Tia Wurzrainer fought through three tension-soaked sets before falling.

Complete Thursday results:


1st Singles — Claire Mietus lost to Isabelle Hugonoit 6-0, 6-0

2nd Singles — Genna Wright lost to Olivia Preston 6-0, 6-2

3rd Singles — Heather Nastali lost to Emily Bundy 6-2, 6-0

1st Doubles — Payton Aparicio/Sage Renninger lost to Jessica Dietzman/Kali Wiker 6-2, 7-6(7-5)

2nd Doubles — Avalon Renninger/Tia Wurzrainer lost to Mckenna Hastings/Ashley Rosoles 4-6, 6-1, 7-5

3rd Doubles — Kameryn St Onge/Maggie Crimmins lost to Arlene Law/Amanda He 6-2, 6-3

4th Doubles — Jillian Mayne/Zara Bradley lost to Eden Johnson/Amanda Dietzman 6-0, 6-4


5th Doubles — Nanci Melendrez/Megan Behan lost 6-0

6th Doubles — Jaimee Masters/Emily Fiedler lost 6-1

7th Doubles — Elaira Nicolle/Nastali lost 6-2

   Hayley Fiedler and the CMS 7th graders pounded on Stevens Thursday, running their record to 6-1. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Farewell, Captain Ponytail, you won’t be missed.

Stevens Middle School basketball, and its passive-aggressive coach, who never met an early exit he couldn’t ankle to, made their final visit to Coupeville’s gym Thursday.

As befits a momentous moment such as this, the day had everything, from an electrifying win by the Wolf 7th graders to an 8th grade game which ended in confusion way, way earlier than was necessary.

There will be many positives about Coupeville’s move from the Olympic League to the new North Sound Conference this fall.

The greatest of them all, though, will probably be this — no more Stevens, no how, no way.

8th grade:

Stevens is a ginormous middle school which feeds mega-sized 2A Port Angeles, and their older hoops squad is essentially an AAU team transported to the world of middle school sports.

So, the fact the visitors grabbed a 28-9 win in a game which lasted for essentially two-and-a-half quarters is not a surprise.

While the loss dropped CMS to 4-3 on the season, the Wolves got stronger as the game played out.

Down 17-0 at one point, the Wolves finally broke through when Anya Leavell banged down low for a hard-earned bucket.

With Coupeville switching from a zone to a man defense, it played Stevens essentially even in the second half of the game.

Leavell, channeling the red-hot Damian Lillard, added a three-point bomb from the right side, Kylie Van Velkinburgh knocked down a bank shot and the visitors scored on the wrong basket to round out the scoring.

Ja’Kenya Hoskins, who was hit hard on almost every play, was a one-woman wrecking crew, braids swinging madly as she fought on the boards and the floor.

Matching her teammate’s intensity and passion, Kiara Contreras, while shielded from the ref’s view, dropped a wicked, WWE-approved elbow on a pushy rival.

The game got weird, in a totally expected way, when Stevens coach pulled his favorite move for the 275th time.

Insisting he and his team had to catch the 6:00 ferry off The Rock, and would die if they had to wait until the 7:30 or 9:10 sailings, Captain Ponytail talked the refs into abandoning the normal second-half set-up of two eight-minute quarters.

In their place, the teams played a 10-minute second half with a running clock.

And I do mean a running clock…

It properly lurched to a stop when Coupeville called a solitary 30-second timeout, but that lasted all of 1.4 seconds, thanks to the mumbly badgering of the refs by the Stevens coach.

Cause, you know, when you’re traveling 3.5 miles on a wide-open road on a sleepy Thursday, to catch a ferry you have a reservation for, leaving at 5:27 PM instead of 5:30 PM makes all the difference…

But, it was kind of perfect.

Coupeville, which almost always catches the final ferry home from EVERY road trip, being stiffed one last time by a school which always acts as if it’s doing us a grand favor even playing “the hicks from the sticks.”

I’d tell them not to let the door hit them where the good lord split them, but … yeah, I know … they left 20 minutes ago.

7th grade:

This, instead, is how the Wolf faithful will remember Stevens — getting their fannies kicked, good and solidly.

Coupeville’s young guns, a scrappy, ball-hawking bunch who take no guff from no one, scorched the visitors 36-21 to sweep the season series and improve to 6-1.

The Wolves get a chance to avenge that one loss this Monday, Mar. 19, when Sequim arrives on Whidbey for a rematch.

Facing off with an aggressive Stevens squad, CMS refused to back down, seizing the lead midway through the first quarter and never relinquishing it.

Maddie Georges slipped a pair of free throws through the net — a small segment of the 10 charity shots she nailed during the game — to lift the Wolves to a 5-4 lead.

Moments later Gwen Gustafson stopped ‘n popped on a short runner, then Alita Blouin sent the Wolf fans through the roof.

Snagging an in-bounds pass and evading her defender in one smooth move, “The Assassin” hit nothing but the bottom of the net on a buzzer-beater, with the ball dropping through the twines as the alarm blared and her fan club went bonkers.

Up 9-4 after one, Coupeville used runs at the end of both the second and third quarters to blunt any hopes Stevens had of mounting a comeback.

Despite going nearly 10 minutes without hitting a field goal — a dry period which covered most of the second quarter and a hunk of the third — the Wolves never lost the lead.

With Georges nailing free throws and Coupeville’s defense clamping down big-time, CMS was still up 16-14 when the Wolves found their game-closing spark.

The subsequent 17-5 run, which stretched the lead to 14 points at the end of the third, was capped when Gustafson beat the clock, slid between two defenders and drained a buzzer-beater of her own on a short jumper in the paint.

The one girl who might have stopped Gustafson is still counting her teeth, after she ran into a note-perfect screen from Georges, who skidded to a halt, braced herself, and absorbed the blow.

The collision launched the Stevens defender off her feet and carried her halfway across the gym, rattled windows in homes two miles away, and anointed Georges, a slick-dribbling dynamo, with a new nickname, at least for one afternoon.

Say hello to “The Wall.”

The young woman usually referred to as “Mad Dog” paced CMS with a game-high 12, while Blouin banked in 11, Gustafson scorched the nets for six and Carolyn Lhamon knocked down four.

Allie Lucero dropped in a bucket on a nice turnaround shot in the paint, while Nezi Keiper sank a free throw to round out the scoring.

Keiper also had a nifty steal and feed to Gustafson during the game-busting run, while Jessenia Camarena raced back on defense late in the game, then elevated and spiked a Stevens shot into the cheap seats for a beautiful block.

   10 who torched the nets for Coupeville girls basketball. Clockwise, from top left, Brianne King, Zenovia Barron, Makana Stone, Megan Smith, Ann Pettit, Ashley Ellsworth-Bagby, Terry Perkins, Lexie Black, Kristan Hurlburt and Tina Lyness.

   Legends (l to r) Randy Keefe, Bill Jarrell and Jeff Rhubottom reunited for the 101st anniversary of CHS boys basketball. (Renae Mulholland photo)

“Remember kid, there’s heroes and there’s legends. Heroes get remembered, but legends never die.”

The wisdom of The Sandlot can guide us through just about everything in life, if we let it.

That quote is something to let sink in, to marinate in for a moment, as we stand at the cusp of nailing another win for saving, remembering and honoring the sports history of Coupeville.

After months of intensive research, it’s time to ask for a favor from Wolf fans everywhere.

While Coupeville High School has record boards hung in it gym complex for track, volleyball and football, basketball doesn’t enjoy the same distinction.

Which is a shame, since basketball is the sport which is most frequently played in the gym, and it’s arguably the most successful sport in the history of the school.

Look back at the 118-year history of CHS, and the love affair with hoops looms large.

From the early pioneers on the hardwood, to the 1969-1970 Wolf boys team which remains the most dominant Coupeville team in any sport, ever, to today’s three-ball chucking stars, this is a basketball town.

And it’s long past time to celebrate that.

The 101st anniversary hoops shindig held earlier this year was an astounding success, drawing in a wide variety of former, current and future players, coaches and fans.

The night was like nothing else I have experienced in my years of writing about sports here in Cow Town.

It was a mad swirl of living history come to life, of legends who I had only known about from yellowed newspaper clippings made flesh and blood.

Seeing the CHS gym jammed to the rafters, witnessing today’s players realize they were a link in something much bigger than themselves, giving the stars of yesterday a chance to know they were not forgotten, was the biggest accomplishment I have achieved here at Coupeville Sports.

And none of it would have been possible without the help of countless others, the dreamers and the believers, people who gave of their time, their sweat and their dollars.

It was a night where Coupeville stood tall and proud, looking back with reverence, celebrating the present and making a commitment to the future.

With a little bit of help, we can put an exclamation point on that night, and provide a lead-in to a similar shindig which will celebrate Wolf girls basketball next fall.

We can raise a basketball record board, one which honors both the girls and boys hoops programs.

My plan is for a board which will list the top 10 single-season and career scoring records, as well as the single-game highs set by Judy Marti (32 in 1983) and Jeff Stone (48 in 1970).

The board would honor:

Girls – Season:

Brianne King (446) 2000-2001
Brianne King (442) 2002-2003
Makana Stone (427) 2015-2016
Brianne King (386) 2001-2002
Zenovia Barron (378) 1996-1997
Zenovia Barron (376) 1997-1998
Makana Stone (367) 2014-2015
Ann Pettit (363) 1997-1998
Amanda Allmer (331) 1994-1995
Megan Smith (327) 2008-2009

Girls – Career:

Brianne King (1549) 1999-2003
Zenovia Barron (1270) 1994-1998
Makana Stone (1158) 2012-2016
Megan Smith (1042) 2006-2010
Ann Pettit (932) 1995-1998
Ashley Ellsworth-Bagby (892) 1998-02
Terry Perkins (673) 1984-1987
Lexie Black (622) 2001-2005
Kristan Hurlburt (598) 1978-1982
Tina Lyness (594) 1996-2000

Boys – Season:

Jeff Stone (644) 1969-1970
Jeff Rhubottom (459) 1977-1978
Pete Petrov (442) 1995-1996
Arik Garthwaite (423) 1997-1998
Bill Jarrell (415) 1975-1976
Mike Bagby (414) 2004-2005
Randy Keefe (398) 1974-1975
Randy Keefe (397) 1975-1976
Brad Sherman (396) 2002-2003
Wade Ellsworth (392) 1978-1979

Boys – Career:

Jeff Stone (1137) 1967-1970
Mike Bagby
(1137) 2002-2006
Randy Keefe
(1088) 1973-1976
Jeff Rhubottom
(1012) 1975-1978
Mike Criscuola
(979) 1956-1960
Bill Riley
(934) 1970-1973
Pete Petrov
(917) 1993-1997
Brad Sherman
(874) 2000-2003
Denny Clark
(869) 1960-1964
Arik Garthwaite
(867) 1994-1998

The Coupeville Booster Club has agreed to foot part of the bill, and CHS Athletic Director Willie Smith has given his blessing to the project.

Now, I need your help.

Whether you can give $1 or you want to foot the whole bill, stand with us. Be a vibrant part of the rich tapestry that is Wolf basketball.


To join the movement:


   Coupeville junior Matt Hilborn, a baseball star since his freshman season, was tabbed Wednesday as a WIAA Athlete of the Week. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Welcome to the big time, Matt Hilborn.

The Coupeville High School junior, a stellar football and baseball player for the Wolves, has been Mr. Steady for the past three years, but Wednesday, the spotlight found him.

The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association tabbed Hilborn as its 1A Male Athlete of the Week, honoring him along with seven other competitors from 4A-2B.

He was honored for his play Mar. 10 in the season opener against Lynden Christian, when the CHS diamond men rolled to a 7-3 win.

Hitting lead-off, Hilborn paced the Wolves with three hits and two RBI, while also beating a throw home, sliding under the tag for a crucial run.

That stretched Coupeville’s lead to 5-3, then, in his next at-bat, Hilborn capped things with a game-clinching two-run single to right field.

After starting at third base and playing spotless defense through the first five innings, he moved to the mound in the sixth, coming on in relief of starting hurler Dane Lucero.

Hilborn closed the game with two innings of scoreless work as a pitcher, striking out two and recording the final out on a come-backer to the mound.

To read more about the players honored this week, pop over to:


   Pedro Gamarra played in his first Coupeville soccer game Tuesday and promptly threw down a hat trick in a 12-0 win. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Freshman Sam Wynn tallied his first score, helping the Wolves improve to 2-0.

The goals splashed down like raindrops.

Taking advantage of their favorite whipping boy Tuesday, the Coupeville High School boys soccer squad laid waste to host Chimacum, cruising to a 12-0 win.

And, yes, that’s not a misprint. It’s not supposed to say 1 or 2. It’s meant to say 12.

The lopsided win, coming in the Olympic League opener for both teams, lifts Coupeville to 1-0 in conference play, 2-0 overall.

The two schools have met eight times since the league formed in 2014, and this is the fifth time the Wolves have broken double digits against the Cowboys.

After scoring 11, 13, 10 and 11 goals across four games during the 2015 and 2016 seasons, Coupeville slacked off a bit last year, totaling seven, three and four.

While the Wolves won all three of those games, one finished in a 4-3 nail-biter, offering Chimacum hope it had turned a corner and would be more competitive.

That hope has been promptly snuffed out.

With several new free-wheeling, big-scoring booters joining the roster this season, the 2018 Coupeville soccer squad looks to be an explosive one.

Two of the newcomers, sophomore transfer Derek Leyva and foreign exchange phenom Pedro Gamarra, accounted for seven goals against the Cowboys.

Leyva punched in four scores, raising his total to six through the first two games.

Gamarra, who wasn’t able to play in Coupeville’s opener Saturday, tallied a hat trick in his debut, a mark matched by Aram Leyva, who also tossed in three goals.

That gives Aram, who scored six as a freshman, four tallies through the first two games of his sophomore campaign.

With the Leyva cousins, and now Gamarra, running wild to kick off the season, it’s sending tremors through rival goalies, and maybe Abraham Leyva.

Older brother of Aram, and cousin of Derek, Abraham, who graduated in 2016, holds the Wolf boys soccer scoring records with 20 goals in a season and 45 in a career.

For now…

The other two goals Tuesday came from players at radically different stages in their career.

Senior captain William Nelson notched his first score of the season, while freshman Sam Wynn connected on the first goal of his high school career.