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Posts Tagged ‘2020’

COVID-19, still the biggest story as 2020 ends. Here, a mask-clad Taylor Brotemarkle goes through a basketball practice. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Well, we’ve seen better years.

In the Age of Coronavirus, there’s little suspense as to what was the biggest story of 2020.

No Coupeville High School sports team has played a game since the Wolf girls basketball team fell to Meridian February 11 in a loser-out playoff game.

Even with the arrival of the first vaccines, that probably won’t change for awhile.

Spring sports were cancelled, fall sports were postponed, and winter remains a question mark.

But, in between the two times I tried to walk away from the blog this year, there were other stories which arose.

So, since the “retirements” turned into “vacations” both times, I’m still here to take a look back at what was what.

20 stories to define 2020, in fairly random order:

 

20 — Geoff Kappes named Principal at CHS, replacing Duane Baumann, who circles back around to rejoin the school as Special Services Director.

 

19 — Former Wolf spiker Ashley Menges, a 2019 CHS grad, hired as Wolf JV volleyball coach, replacing Chris Smith, who moves off-Island.

Ashley Menges makes the transition from player to coach.

 

18 — Jim Waller, my high school journalism teacher, retires from the Whidbey News-Times, ending his second run as Sports Editor at the newspaper.

I am now the “elder statesman” of Whidbey sports journalism, which will give a lot of people, myself included, the cold sweats.

 

17 — Island Greens, the reasonably-priced nine-hole golf course which welcomed thousands of duffers to Clinton, sold and (seemingly) shut down.

After 33 years, no more tee shots. (Photo property Island Greens)

 

16 — Coupeville grad Kyle King, a five-time state champ during his high school track and field days, runs the marathon at the US Olympic Team Trials.

He finishes a very-respectable 47th out of 222 runners, with his fastest mile coming late in the race.

 

15 — Seventh-grader Savina Wells makes her hardwood debut for Coupeville Middle School and outscores the other team by herself.

Dropping in 20 points through three quarters, while also cleaning the boards and running the point, she paces the Wolves to a 41-15 rout of Northshore Christian Academy.

Savina Wells leads the charge. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

 

14 — Ally Roberts caps her college equestrian career with a regional championship in Advanced Western Horsemanship.

While COVID prevents her from attending nationals, she exits Western Washington University with her degree — the biggest award of them all.

 

13 — Coupeville loses a pair of legends, as Larrie Ford and Jack McFadyen pass away.

The former was a Hall of Fame coach with CHS track, the latter one of the most loyal fans Wolf athletes have ever had.

Jack McFadyen with his grandkids. (Photo courtesy Carmen McFadyen)

 

12 — Wolf grad Nick Streubel closes his football career at Central Washington University with a pair of honors, being named to the All-Super Region team, and to his school’s All-Decade squad.

 

11 — Lauren Grove, one of just two athletes in the CHS Class of 2017 to play a sport in all 12 seasons, is badly-burnt in a grease fire.

In her recovery fight, and her willingness to share the painful journey with others at lauren (@the.burnt.bitch), she remains one of the strongest women I know.

 

10 — Maya Toomey-Stout, Scout Smith, and Sean Toomey-Stout tabbed as CHS Athlete of the Year winners. It’s the second-straight time Sean takes top honors.

Scout Smith wheels ‘n deals. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

 

9 — College sports are calling, as Mica Shipley (Eastern Washington University – cheer), Mallory Kortuem (Western Washington University – track), Ja’Tarya Hoskins (St. Martin’s – track), and Ben Smith (Culver-Stockton – football) find their next destinations.

 

8 — CHS boys basketball avenges a series of losses to its personal boogeyman, finally taking Port Townsend down.

With sophomore sensations Xavier Murdy and Hawthorne Wolfe banging away for 22 and 21 points, respectively, the Wolf varsity romps to a 79-66 win at home, a sign of good things to come.

Brad Sherman has a word with his team.

 

7 — Call ’em the comeback kings. The Wolf JV boys basketball team pulls off several stunning come-from-behind wins, but two stand out.

Trailing Granite Falls by three points headed to the final frame, Coupeville explodes for a 56-42 win as Daniel Olson dumps in 13 of his game-high 26 over the final eight minutes.

The most-satisfying victory, however, might have come against arch-rival South Whidbey, when the Wolves scored 27 fourth-quarter points to nail down a 70-63 win.

Going Olson one better, Murdy nets 14 in the final quarter.

 

6 — Coaching jobs start multiplying, with Chris Smith (baseball, volleyball, boys basketball), Erin Locke (middle school volleyball), and Luke Samford (cross country) all leaving Whidbey.

Meanwhile, Kyle Nelson is still hanging around as Wolf girls soccer coach, but lets go of his boys soccer gig.

 

5 — After years of being one of the smallest schools in 1A, Coupeville officially moves back to 2B and its old stomping grounds in the Northwest 2B/1B League.

COVID has delayed the transition, but some day it will become reality on the playing field as well.

Mollie Bailey (32) and Audrianna Shaw will move from 1A to 2B.

 

4 — End of an era, as longtime CHS teacher/coaches Randy King and Ron Bagby retire, along with registrar Marie Bagby.

 

3 — CHS grad Makana Stone caps a splendid four-year run of basketball excellence at Whitman College, graduating as the #2 rebounder and #5 scorer in program history.

She plays in 110 games for the Blues, including making a record 92 starts, and earns All-American and All-Region honors to go with the Northwest Conference MVP award.

Makana Stone, swishin’ hoops and dazzlin’ folks in Jolly Olde England. (Photo property Loughborough University)

 

2 — Not content to stop with America, Stone moves to England.

Six games into her first season at Loughborough University, she’s been tabbed twice as the Women’s National Basketball League Player of the Week, and has made the Team of the Week four times.

 

1 — COVID. It was, and is, a whole thing. But tomorrow is another day.

They will be back in action at some point. Believe it.

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Lauren Marrs returns to action Feb. 6. (Photos by Corrin Parker)

Wolves (l to r) Taylor Brotemarkle, Savina Wells, Jada Heaton (behind Wells), and Lyla Stuurmans are ready to scrap.

Their turn is coming.

With Coupeville Middle School boys basketball having wrapped its season, the court will soon belong to the Wolf girls.

Well, soon may be a bit of a stretch, as there’s a fairly decent gap between seasons.

But, it will happen, with practices kicking off in January and the first games set for February 6 at home in the CMS gym.

Just like with the boys, the girls will be divided into three teams this season, with 7th and 8th graders mixed depending on hoops skills.

Alex Evans, who led the CMS 8th graders to an undefeated season a year ago, back before the new three-team format was instituted, returns to coach.

He’ll be joined by at least one other, yet-to-be-identified coach.

As you mentally prepare for spending five hours (give or take an hour…) camped on the rock-hard middle school bleachers each time the Wolves play at home, a look at the schedule as it sits today:

 

Thur-Feb. 6 — Northshore Christian Academy (3:15)
Mon-Feb. 10 — @Granite Falls (3:15)
Wed-Feb. 12 — King’s (3:15)
Wed-Feb. 19 — @Sultan (3:30)
Thur-Feb. 20 — @South Whidbey (3:30)
Wed-Feb. 26 — Lakewood (3:15)
Mon-Mar. 2 — Granite Falls (3:15)
Wed-Mar. 4 — @Northshore Christian Academy (3:15)
Mon-Mar. 9 — South Whidbey (3:15)
Thur-Mar. 12 — @Lakewood (3:15)

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It’s official. Coupeville athletes like Chelsea Prescott and Heidi Meyers (in grey) are headed to the Northwest 2B/1B League next school year. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Times have changed and times are strange.

Here I come, but I ain’t the same.

Mama, I’m coming home.

Echoing the words of Ozzy Osbourne, Coupeville High School athletics are going back to their old stomping grounds.

Finally.

After years of being forced to play against bigger schools, CHS returns to its true classification, and its old league, starting with next school year.

When the 2020-2021 school year kicks into gear next August, the Wolves will be a member of the Northwest 2B/1B League, with the 1A North Sound Conference disintegrating in their rear-view mirror.

The change comes after the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association changed directions, and decided to no longer attempt to keep the classifications (4A, 3A, 2A, 1A, 2B, 1B) balanced.

In previous classification counts, that meant Coupeville, despite having a 2B-sized student body, was routinely shoved up to 1A, where it existed as one of the smallest schools.

Beginning with the 2020 classification count (the next one is in 2024), the state has opted to go with hard count numbers. You land between two numbers, you’re in that class.

If one division is noticeably bigger or smaller than others, the number of teams advancing to state tournaments will be adjusted accordingly.

Once it became obvious Coupeville’s current numbers would land it firmly in 2B for at least the next four years, CHS Athletic Director Willie Smith reached out to the Northwest League, where the Wolves played for many decades.

He was welcomed with open arms, then things got weird for a bit (more on that in a second), then everything went back to being full-on hunky-dory.

With some current schools in the league also dropping down a rung in the new counts, the new-look league will feature three 2B schools (Coupeville, Friday Harbor, La Conner) and four 1B schools (Orcas Island, Concrete, Darrington, Mount Vernon Christian).

The move to 2B should be hugely beneficial to Coupeville, as it levels the playing field.

Gone are posh private schools, with the Wolves returning to competing against similarly-sized (or smaller) schools, with the majority being rural public schools like CHS.

There will be some wrinkles to adjust to going forward, such as boys soccer moving from the spring to the fall, as 2B plays both girls and boys soccer in the same season.

But, it could have been a lot wilder.

With Coupeville leaving the North Sound Conference, private schools King’s and Cedar Park Christian announced their intentions to jump ship, as well.

That left South Whidbey, Granite Falls, and Sultan in limbo, and the public schools reached out to the Northwest Conference to talk about forming a 1A/2B/1B league next year.

Meanwhile, the ultra-posh Emerald City League, which is comprised mostly of Seattle-based private schools, contacted the North Sound Conference and raised the idea of forming a “super league.”

That would have brought together 12-14 schools, with some sports broken into divisions based on level of play, which nicely addresses “competitive equity.”

As talks progressed on both fronts, the classification numbers were fine-tuned.

While five of the six Northwest Conference schools are currently 2B, with just Mount Vernon Christian at 1B, that was going to change, with Concrete, Darrington, and Orcas dropping down.

La Conner and Friday Harbor, which will both remain at 2B, then proposed a third option, in which the two schools would unite with Coupeville, South Whidbey, Sultan, and Granite Falls in a 1A/2B league.

Confused yet?

Imagine the never-ending chain of conversations Willie Smith was involved in.

In the end, a compromise was found.

South Whidbey, Granite Falls, King’s, CPC, and Sultan are opting to stay together, and have begun the process to move from District 1 to District 2.

Once there, they will unite with the Emerald City League schools and form a new conference – the Emerald Sound League.

Meanwhile, Coupeville remains in District 1, and comes home to the Northwest Conference.

“We are very excited to be in this league,” Willie Smith said. “It’s a strong group of AD’s which we have maintained relationships with over the years in non-league contests.

“The level of competition will be strong, requiring us to continue to work to develop our programs, and it also allows all of our programs the opportunity to have success on a nightly basis and compete for league championships throughout.

“Obviously, there are challenges, but we always have challenges, which is what makes our programs stronger.”

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