Posts Tagged ‘2018’

Maggie Crimmins moves in for the kill. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Every year is made up of moments.

When we look back at 2018, there’s an endless flow of games – some memorable, some not so much – but, long after most of the scores have been forgotten, the moments remain.

Good, bad, heartbreaking or cheer-inducing, they are what we remember.

As we prepare to slide into 2019, here’s a somewhat haphazard look at what caught my eye over the last couple days as I waded through 818 articles I wrote this year.



**The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association denies Coupeville’s bid to move down from 1A to 2B. Despite losing 10% of its student body since the last classification count, when it was already in the 1A basement, CHS is told to stay the course.

**Coupeville boys basketball stuns first-place Klahowya 59-54 on Senior Night, providing a perfect cap to Brad Sherman’s first season as coach.

Hunter Smith goes off for a career-high 35, but it’s Kyle Rockwell who provides the night’s biggest bucket, yanking an offensive rebound free from a rival and immediately powering back up for the game-clinching layup.

**Smith closes his senior season with 382 points. He’s the first Wolf boy to put up back-to-back 300+ point seasons in more than a decade, and with 847 career points, finishes #12 in program history.

**The CMS 7th grade girls hoops squad almost throws a shutout. The Wolves hold Blue Heron scoreless for 30 minutes and 36 seconds in a 32-minute contest, winning 48-2.

**Coupeville loses a beloved coach, as soccer guru Gary Manker passes away at 49. Manker worked extensively with Wolf goaltenders, pulling duty with both girls and boys teams.

**Wolf sophomore Mason Grove scores 337 points in 19 basketball games, narrowly missing Allen Black’s unofficial JV record of 347, set in 2002-2003.

Grove, who tops 30 three times, loses out on the JV mark because his success prompts varsity coaches to call him up, where he tosses in another 51 points for the first unit.

**Down 12 in the fourth quarter, the CMS boys varsity basketball squad roars back to beat Forks on a last-second shot from Xavier Murdy.

With Ja’Kenya Hoskins wiping out the back row, Audrianna Shaw has room to rumble.

**The CMS 8th grade girls hoops team also beats Forks later in the winter, but on a stranger note, when the Spartans coach grabs the ball and goes home with 14 seconds to play, forfeiting the game while screaming every step of the way.

**Dominic Coffman, then a 7th grader, brings a smile to my face as he pulls off a one-man tribute to the Bad Boys era of basketball.

As I wrote then:

Near the end of the third quarter, Coffman stopped a Forks breakaway by delivering a well-timed karate chop to the head of the guy about to drop a layup. Instead, the ball went one way, the rival went the other, and Wolf fans erupted.

Going one better, Coffman stopped a second fast break by leveling a Spartan like a semi-truck hitting a grocery cart full of melons left in the middle of the interstate.

On that one, the ref shook his head, tried to hide his smile and softly intoned, “foul, #1, foot to … the mouth.”

**Jon Atkins steps down as CHS football coach after two seasons at the helm. He’s the first Wolf gridiron coach to beat South Whidbey in back-to-back seasons since the schools started playing for The Bucket.

Legends cram the stands as CHS celebrates 101 years of boys basketball.

**The biggest party of the year, as CHS throws a shindig to celebrate 101 years of boys basketball. The night reunites the 1969-1970 team, which still holds every scoring record in the book, while players from eight decades show up.

After showing great respect to their predecessors, going down a line of legends to shake hands, the modern-day Wolves throttle Chimacum.

The night’s biggest moment comes when Bob Barker, revered coach, teacher and administrator, steps through the gym door, clad in the jacket he wore while coaching that 69-70 team.

I never saw Elvis enter an arena, but Jan. 19, 2018, I came as close as I ever will.



**CHS debuts its new stadium, with a cake designed by Emily Stevens, and boys soccer blasting 2A Olympic 4-1 on Mickey Clark Field.

With a stellar senior year, followed by a state softball title with her travel ball squad, 2018 kept Katrina McGranahan smiling.

**Coupeville softball wins five games against pitchers with NCAA D-1 scholarships. Wolves throttle South Whidbey’s Mackenzee Collins twice, and beat Klahowya’s Amber Bumbalough three times.

**Wolf JV softball puts up a 17-batter, 13-run, eight-hit first inning against 2A Sequim, an assault in which the first 11 Wolves reach base safely.

**Mallory Kortuem shatters CHS girls pole vault record by six inches.

**Coupeville closes final season in the Olympic League by taking titles in softball, baseball, girls tennis, boys track and girls track. Boys soccer only crown to evade Wolves, but while booters can’t catch Klahowya, they do post best-ever finish.

**Girls tennis bounces Chimacum in a winner-take-all match on final day of season, becoming only Wolf program to win titles all four seasons Coupeville was in Olympic League.

Ryan Labrador is all about the nutrition.

**Boys track wins district title, first time Wolves have achieved feat since 2006.

**Party on the pitch, as boys soccer shocks five-time state champ Bellevue Christian 3-0, garnering program’s first playoff win in six seasons.

**Kyle Rockwell makes the play of the year, throwing out a runner at the plate to seal a 1-0 home baseball win over Chimacum.

Rockwell launches a missile from right field which drops flawlessly into Gavin Knoblich’s mitt for the final out.

The victory moves CHS into a first-place tie, and it wins the title later in the week with another shutout of the Cowboys.

**Sophomore Derek Leyva, in his first season at CHS, breaks cousin Abraham’s single-season boys soccer scoring record, finishing with 24 goals.

**Tennis aces Payton Aparicio and Sage Renninger cap four-year run as Coupeville’s top doubles duo, claiming 4th at state after winning three of four matches.

**CHS baseball thumps Charles Wright Academy 10-0 in playoff opener, snapping a five-game losing streak in postseason games.

CHS track coach Randy King celebrates a season of triumph.

**Coupeville claims 14 medals at state track meet, spread among nine athletes, while Wolf boys finish 5th in team standings, best in a decade.

Lindsey Roberts (100 hurdles), Danny Conlisk (400) and Jacob Smith (100, 200) all claim 2nd place medals.

**Jacob Smith adds a 5th in the 4 x 400 and 7th in 4 x 100, joining Jon Chittim as the only Wolves to win four competitive medals at the same state track meet.

**After four years, Wolves leave Olympic League.

Despite being smallest of four schools in the conference, CHS snags more varsity wins (185) than Klahowya, Port Townsend or Chimacum.

Coupeville only school to post 40+ wins every year, and only one to twice claim 50+ wins.

**Payton Aparicio and Hunter Smith named CHS Athletes of the Year. It’s Smith’s second-straight win.



**Dr. Jim Shank departs after five action-packed years as Coupeville Schools Superintendent. My pick as the best to ever hold the job, he and his family are now making Burley, Idaho a better place.

**Fresh off graduation, Katrina McGranahan wins a state title while playing select softball with the Seattle Spice.

**Marcus Carr is hired as Coupeville’s new head football coach, becoming the program’s fifth head coach in nine seasons.

Madison Ford, the future of Wolf sports.

**The ancient scrolls read: “A child, born from two Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Famers, will rise to become the greatest Wolf athlete of all time.” You heard it here first – Madison Ford, daughter of Jordan Ford and Mikayla Elfrank, is the Chosen One.



**Cross country returns to CHS and CMS for first time in two decades.

While individual runners trained and traveled with other schools in recent years, Wolves hire Natasha Bamberger and Elizabeth Bitting to restart programs inside Coupeville schools, and both teams have strong turnout.

**The North Sound Conference, which reunites Coupeville with former rivals from the Cascade Conference, including neighbor South Whidbey, begins play.

**CHS boys tennis beats South Whidbey for first time in 14 years, and do it twice. Sparked by the sweep, Wolves claim 4th in their debut in the eight-team, private school-dominated Emerald City League, toughest tennis conference in the state.

**JV volleyball player Izzy Wells rips off 16 consecutive points on serve against Port Townsend.

Emma Smith (left) and Ashley Menges closed stellar volleyball careers.

**Emma Smith, on the day she turns 18, writes a fairy tale, playing out of her mind all match, before delivering the night’s final point as Coupeville volleyball wins an epic five-setter on South Whidbey’s court.

As I wrote at the time:

In the stands, Konni Smith, her voice strained by a night of screaming for her daughter, suddenly found one final holler.

Because, out there on the court, Emma Smith, twirling into the air, arms above her, fingertips quivering with anticipation, found the ball in mid-flight, stopped time, and flicked the biggest shot she’s nailed in a career full of nailing big shots.

The ball hit the ground, the Falcons whiffed, Konni and associates lost their minds and Emma’s cool as a cucumber younger sister, Savannah, almost looked up from her phone.


**CHS football, which had lost five-straight games to Port Townsend, being outscored 270-32, travels across the water and drills the RedHawks 28-18.

Sean Toomey-Stout (6) and Ben Smith wrap up a rival runner.

**Wolf football, with a new coaching staff and a new spirit rippling through the program, get off to a 3-1 start and make me write stuff like this:

It begins with a rumble, rapidly spreading from the bottom of his shoes to the top of his electric-shocked hair.

The rumble becomes a guttural howl, and then his body begins to shimmy and shake, his head flies backwards, his arms pumping, his fists shaking as they slam into his chest.

Emerging from the haze of a rain storm, Alex Turner is dancing and behind him, sprawled on the sodden turf, another vanquished foe lies in a heap.

Often the Coupeville High School senior is celebrating one of his own back-breaking tackles, but Friday night in La Conner, he also did the full-on freak-out when teammates like Andrew Martin and Matt Hilborn were dropping hay-makers.

Every time Turner’s hips went in over-drive, the mass of Wolf fans who traveled down the highway to watch Coupeville administer a 33-12 whuppin’ on their old-school rivals, went bonkers.

Ignoring the frequent bursts of rain, the gusts of wind, and the fragrant aroma of manure wafting in off of nearby fields, Turner’s classmates, his fellow Wolf athletes, parents, alumni and random passerby grooved along with him.

“Dude’s crazy … craaaaaaaazzzzzyyyy … and I like it man,” said one former CHS coach.

**Denny Zylstra, a legend as both a Coupeville athlete and coach, passes away at 78.

**New concession stand and permanent bathrooms open at Mickey Clark Field.

**Coupeville goes viral, as a video of Sean Toomey-Stout taking a kickoff to the house against King’s, covering 95 yards while a wayward deer operates as his lead blocker, goes all the way to ESPN and beyond.

Peytin Vondrak (left) and Ema Smith, reppin’ Coupeville all the way, every day.

**CHS volleyball pulls off one of the most stunning wins in school history during the district playoffs. Down two sets to one, two points from losing the fourth set and being eliminated, Wolves go on an incredible tear.

Winning in five sets, they KO Cedar Park Christian, avenging an earlier-season loss, while keeping their own postseason run alive.


and back to WINTER:

**CHS cheer returns to being a competition squad for first time since 2011. Wolves, led by new coach BreAnna Boon, claim two 2nd’s and a 3rd in first meets, while improving score each time out.

**Longtime Wolf tennis coach Ken Stange takes a nasty fall off a ladder, fractures vertebrae, undergoes surgery and emerges wearing a protective shell which makes him look like a bearded Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. Good news is, doctors expect a full recovery.

**Basketball fever rages across the land, with senior Lindsey Roberts and freshman Hawthorne Wolfe the leading scorers at the winter break.

Roberts has passed 12 players in the first nine games, and sits at #24 on the girls career scoring chart, while Wolfe is on target to become only fifth CHS boy in 102 seasons to score 100+ points in his freshman season

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   Senior Hunter Smith is #24 on the CHS boys basketball career scoring list. With 11 regular season games left, and possibly a playoff run, he has a shot at cracking the Top 10. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

   Coupeville’s new covered grandstands debut this spring, in time for soccer and track.

   Class of 2022 athletes, who include (l to r) Kylie Van Velkinburgh, Samantha Streitler and Bella Velasco, make their high school debuts next fall.

   After falling a single strike short of state last year, Coupeville softball is ready to rumble this spring.

A new sports year begins.

Will it be filled with championships, celebrations and euphoria or much weeping and wailing (metaphorically, at least) on the prairie?

And, perhaps even more importantly, will you, the readers, continue to chip in and keep Coupeville Sports chugging along with your support, via financial donations, tasty treats and kind words?

Only time, and the passage of the seasons, will tell.

One thing is for sure. By the time we get to the end of 2018 at least a dozen things NOT talked about in this article will have surfaced to capture our attention.

Happens every year. Surprises, good and bad, fill our days, and the future is crammed with the great unknown.

But, looking into my (cracked) crystal ball, here are the story lines which, for now, seem likely to dominate conversation in 2018.


A new league — Coupeville calls it quits after a four-year run in the Olympic League at the end of the 2017-2018 school year. That we know for sure.

Where we land is up in the air until late Jan., when the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association will rule on our request to drop from 1A to 2B.

CHS was 2B for many years, and the current student body count plants us firmly in that category.

But, we were (barely) a 1A school in 2016, the next WIAA count is not until 2020, and we need special permission to move at this point in time.

If Coupeville gets the OK, we return to the Northwest Conference and reignite old school rivalries with La Conner, Concrete, Darrington, Orcas Island, Friday Harbor and Mount Vernon Christian.

If we’re denied for now, we join South Whidbey and state title-winning juggernaut King’s, along with Cedar Park Christian (Bothell), Sultan and Granite Falls in the brand-new 1A North Sound Conference.

Either way, the times, they are a’changing.

A sweet swan song? — With 2/3 of winter sports and all of spring left, the fight for dominance in the about-to-implode Olympic League gets serious.

Coupeville, the smallest of the four schools by far, is hot on the heels of Klahowya, the state’s biggest 1A school, for the varsity wins crown covering the 10 sports the Wolves compete in.

If nothing else, girls basketball and tennis are both shooting for a fourth-straight league crown as they exit stage left. Time to go out with a bang.

A lot of candles on the cake — CHS boys basketball marks the 101-year anniversary of the first hoops game in school history (a 29-7 win over Langley) Jan. 19. Chimacum visits Cow Town, and, if the school is on top of things, the night could be festive.


A new stadium — After a two-year wait, the Wolves have a gorgeous new covered grandstand at Micky Clark Field. Work finished right after football season ended, so the new stadium debuts this spring with soccer and track.

Swing for the stars — Coupeville’s softball squad won 19 games last year, second-most in the 40-year history of the program, and returns almost every starter.

The Wolves fell a single strike short of the state tourney last year, and a senior-heavy team led by Katrina McGranahan, Lauren Rose and Hope Lodell would love to put a final exclamation point on their careers days before graduation.

Heating up the ovalJacob Smith finished 3rd in the 200 as a junior, and both the guys who nipped him graduated, making him a strong contender for a state title.

Maya Toomey-Stout was the first Wolf girl to compete at state in four events in the same season, and she was only a freshman last year.

But the leader is Lindsey Roberts, who, through two seasons of track, has three school records and four state meet medals.

Only three CHS girls have more, with Makana Stone (7), Natasha Bamberger (6) and Yashmeen Knox (5) forming the holy trinity.

Tyler King is the all-time school leader with 11 medals, nipping brother Kyle (10) and forever winning Thanksgiving family dinner arguments.


Goodbye and hello — The Class of 2018, which has enjoyed a truly stellar run, especially on the girls side, graduates in the spring. Come fall, the Class of 2022, which boasts a number of promising young stars, arrives on campus.

Run in your own town? — CHS hasn’t had an active cross country program in years, which meant Danny Conlisk, who went to state in 2017, trained and traveled with South Whidbey, then ran in a Wolf uniform.

As interest in running has risen in recent years – Henry and Sam Wynn also competed last year — buzz about Coupeville relaunching its own program has intensified. Sweet possibility or hot air? We shall find out.

Sister, my sisterKalia Littlejohn (33 goals) will enter her senior soccer season needing just three scores to unseat big sis Mia (35) as the program’s top career scorer. After that comes the school record of 45 goals, held by Abraham Leyva.


Gossip makes the world go round, so we’ll be buzzing about coaches (who’s leaving? who’s arriving?) and daydreaming about breakout stars like Port Townsend’s Noa Apker-Montoya, Klahowya’s Maile Lueck or South Whidbey’s Kody Newman shocking the world and transferring to Coupeville.

Hey, I didn’t say it was GOING to happen. I said, it COULD happen. New year, anything’s possible.

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