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Dale Sherman, man of the hour. (Photos courtesy Jack Sell)

Everyone gets a win.

You get one, and you get one, and what the heck, you get a couple more for good measure.

Coupeville High School’s athletic programs were all clicking during the 1963-1964 school year, as a look through one of my landlord’s yearbooks proves.

It was a year when Wolf football, boys basketball, and baseball all posted winning records, going a combined 28-14, while the CHS boys tennis team captured league and sub-district titles.

What was the netters record, you ask?

The Leloo Cly of the day ain’t tellin’, so I ain’t sayin’, but it was a campaign which included multiple titles and ended with David Lortz and Ron Edwards playing at the state tourney, so probably pretty darn good.

Toss in what appears to be a four-man track and field squad, and a seven-woman girls tennis team which (rare for the time period) got to compete against rival schools, and things were hoppin’ back in the day.

Roger Eelkema, ready to run like the wind.

 

How things played out in ’63-’64:

 

Baseball:

The Wolves, paced by Bob Rea, the Strikeout King of Snakelum Point, went 11-5 overall, 8-4 in Northwest League play, finishing a close second to Granite Falls.

Coupeville dropped 19 runs in one win over Langley, and swept all four games against arch-rival La Conner, but it was a mid-season game at Darrington which will live forever.

That was the day Rea, then a junior, rang up 27 strikeouts across 16 innings in a 2-1 win.

Yes, those numbers are correct, and as we descend further and further into a nanny state dominated by pitch-count rules, it is the one CHS record, in any sport, which will absolutely, positively, NEVER be broken.

 

Boys basketball:

Denny Clark closed one of the great Wolf hardwood careers, pouring in 365 of his 869 career points to pace a squad which went 12-5, finishing third at the league tourney.

The buzz-cut one was #2 all-time in scoring when he graduated, behind just Mike Criscuola, and nearly 60 years (and the introduction of the three-point line) later, still sits at #9 on the career scoring chart.

Clark had plenty of help, with three others putting up triple-digits in the time of the two-hand set-shot.

David Lortz banked in 251, Dick Smith popped for 173, and future prairie farming legend Dale Sherman tossed in 142 during a campaign in which the Wolves won eight straight games at one point.

 

Boys tennis:

Coupeville beat Friday Harbor in the season finale to claim the Northwest League crown, with Lee Milheim, Bill Bainbridge, and Bruce Seiger coming up big in the match.

From there, the Wolves stormed their way through the postseason, with Ron Edwards and David Lortz keying a sub-district team title, then advancing to state, where the duo made the final eight.

 

Cheer:

Carolyn Hancock led a five-woman team, with Sharon Meadors, Marilyn Sherman, Sue Gable, and Christy Carter joining her in bringing the noise ‘n pep.

 

Football:

A team which featured my landlord, Jack Sell, and was led by coach Ray Olmstead, overcame injuries to finish 5-4, beating everyone it played except league kingpins Chimacum and Granite Falls.

The Wolves started 3-0, with a 57-7 shellacking of La Conner capping the run, before a one-point loss to Chimacum ended any dreams of a perfect season.

Coupeville bounced back to blow out La Conner again, this time triumphing 33-13, while a 39-6 thrashing of Darrington clinched the winning mark.

Six seniors — Paul Leese, Denny Keith, Gary Crandall, Dale Sherman, Denny Clark, and Ed Brown — led the way, with Crandall earning Most Inspirational honors.

 

Girls tennis:

Title IX was still years away, with girls sports mostly intramurals under the banner of the Girls Athletic Association.

But in ’64, the CHS girls purchased their first tennis uniforms — “white sweatshirts, bright red Bermuda’s, and white tennis shoes” — and played Friday Harbor, Tolt, and Granite Falls.

Coupeville’s top girls doubles duo.

While no record is recorded in the yearbook, the lineup is:

1st singles — Liz Edwards
2nd singles — Sue Gable
3rd singles — Sharon Meadors

1st doubles — Jan Pickard/Marilyn Sherman
2nd doubles — Betty Brown/Sue Bowers

 

Track and Field:

Dick Bogardus, Paul Messner, Roger Eelkema, and Lee Dennis are all shown in photos, though there is not a word about their exploits.

Still, looking at a photo of pole vaulter Messner, gridiron legend and future Santa Claus, draws a line from the past to the present.

“How you doin’?”

Decades later, one of Messner’s grandchildren, Jordan Ford, also repping Coupeville, went all the way to the state tourney and medaled in the pole vault.

It was meant to be.

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The senior leaders from the 1964 Coupeville High School boys tennis team, which won league and sub-district titles. (Photo courtesy Jack Sell)

Another tile (or two) on the wall.

Five years ago, almost to the day, the Wall of Fame in the Coupeville High School gym was installed.

Since then, current teams and athletes have added themselves to the collection, headlined by Danny Conlisk winning a pair of state titles in track and field.

But the work to fully uncover what is now 121 years of CHS sports history is never-ending, especially in sports such as tennis, which often went largely unwritten about in old-school newspapers.

Something I fully appreciate, as I haunted the hardcourts for three years in the late ’80s at Tumwater High School.

I played as high as #1 singles for a 2A school, yet never once saw anyone massacre my name while trying to spell it in The Daily Olympian.

But enough about me and my teenage angst.

Back to Coupeville, and my discovery today of two titles missing from our Wall of Fame.

Flipping through the 1964 Leloo Cly yearbook (from my landlord’s sophomore year), I found a (fairly astonishing for the time period) two-page layout on the Wolf netters.

And lo and behold, concrete proof of Coupeville winning both Northwest League and Sub-District titles!

The Wall of Fame documents three league titles from the ’60s — 1961, 1967, and 1968 — but not ’64, and the earliest district title under the boys tennis banner is 2009.

History reclaimed!

The 12-man ’64 Wolf tennis squad had an impressive campaign all around, beating Friday Harbor in the regular-season finale to clinch the league title.

Dave Lortz, playing with two different Edwards boys, then went on a tear through the postseason as a doubles player.

After teaming up with Henry Edwards to win league and sub-district titles, Lortz paired off with Ron Edwards, the sub-district singles champ, to head to the state tourney.

The duo were one of 32 pairs to make the trek to Bremerton, and were one of the last eight undefeated tandems standing.

 

The ’64 CHS boys tennis team:

Bill Bainbridge
Henry Edwards
Ron Edwards
Jim Henry
Denny Keith
Jim Keith
Dave Lortz
Lee Milheim
Bruce Seiger
Mike Syreen
Stan Willhight
Steve Wilson

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