Posts Tagged ‘9 for 9’

“We await the ruling down on the field. Who are the nine best Wolf athletes from 2012-2021?” (David Stern photo)

This blog turns nine years old August 15, and to mark the occasion, I’m picking what I view as the best nine Wolf athletes from each active CHS sport.

To be eligible, you had to play for the Wolves between Aug. 2012-Aug. 2021, AKA the “Coupeville Sports” years.

So here we go. Each day between Aug. 1-15, a different sport and (probably) a different argument.


And thus we arrive at the end of our little exercise.

Having selected the top nine players from each active sport at Coupeville High School, or at least the top nine from my blogging days, we land on the actual birthday of this here site.

With that, we pull back, cast an eye on all sports, and select the best nine athletes at CHS between 2012-2021, period.

This time it’s not just a battle but a full-on war, male and female athletes pitted against each other

Many enter the arena, but these nine are the ones to exit, forming our dream team.

And unlike the previous stories, where I listed athletes in alphabetic order, this time I’m going #9-#1.

Let the bodies hit the floor, and the arguments never end.


Valen Trujillo (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

#9 — Valen Trujillo

Record-setter in volleyball, top ace on the tennis court, but there’s a third sport which puts her over the top, pushing her just ahead of a pack of really strong contenders.

And it’s a sport she never played in high school.

One of my saddest days as a sportswriter was when Valen “retired” from basketball — where she was a wild woman who made two different King’s players cry during middle school games.

I understood her choice, but it doesn’t mean I can’t mourn what was lost.


Lathom Kelley

#8 — Lathom Kelley

Dude could do anything, and always with a daredevil smile on his face.

Ferocious on the football field, able to pick up and dominate any event in the world of track and field, and prone to doing flying backflips off of gym walls just to amuse bystanders.

Plus, he once came barreling down from the stands to fill in for missing parents during a basketball Senior Night, grabbing the lonely player in a bearhug while screaming, “My boy, you’ve made me so proud!!”

The Man.


Lindsey Roberts

#7 — Lindsey Roberts

A 12-time letter winner who never spent a second on JV in any of her three sports, she also has the most state track and field medals of any girl in Coupeville High School history.

Joined both mom Sherry Bonacci and dad Jon Roberts in being honored as a CHS Athlete of the Year, while being an impact player from the first day of middle school to her final track meet in high school.

One game to win, who do you call? Lou, that’s who.


Sean Toomey-Stout

#6 — Sean Toomey-Stout¬†

Second most-talented twin in his family, a viral video star (for outracing a deer during a 95-yard touchdown run vs. King’s) who’s now on the U-Dub football roster.

Did everything on the football field, filled every stat box on the basketball court, and ran like a jaguar for the Wolf track and field team.

All while training like a madman, and being the guy who tried to sneak back on the field, while injured, so he could support his teammates in the final seconds of a game long before decided.


Maya Toomey-Stout

#5 — Maya Toomey-Stout

“The Gazelle,” because she flowed when she ran, on the track oval, on the basketball court, and on the softball field, where she stole base after base in little league.

All those purloined bags? Accomplished without ever garnering a throw from the catcher, as she would be camped on second before the catcher could spring from their crouch.

And we haven’t even discussed volleyball, where she would bound in the air, reach over her head to snag a wayward ball, then smash the life out of the orb before softly floating back to Earth.


Madeline Strasburg

#4 — Madeline Strasburg

The female version of Lathom Kelley, a young woman who could play any sport and be genuinely electrifying at it with little to no practice.

Soared on the volleyball court, the basketball court, and the softball field.

She was Maddie Big Time because she feared no rival, never seemed bothered by stress, and bopped through life to her own sweet tune.

Awesome in the extreme.


Josh Bayne

#3 — Josh Bayne

The best 1A football player in the state as a senior, no matter what big-city voters might have thought, mixing barn-burner speed with deft hands, and the ability to destroy souls every time he slammed into a rival player.

On the baseball field, he had power, speed, and rock star charisma.

The only thing which keeps him at #3? He chose to not play basketball, allowing the three-sport star ahead of him to slip past by the narrowest of margins.


Hunter Smith

#2 — Hunter Smith

Record setter in football — on both sides of the ball — one of the best scorers in CHS basketball history, and arguably the top Wolf baseball player since Bob Rea was striking out 27 batters in a single game decades ago.

Through it all, the two-time CHS Athlete of the year remained one of the most humble teenagers I’ve ever met, more concerned with making sure his teammates and siblings got their proper due than worrying about his own PR.

Class with a capitol C.


Makana Stone

#1 — Makana Stone

The best, male or female, I have written about, not just in the blog years, but going all the way back to my first story in the Whidbey News-Times in 1990.

As an athlete, and a person.

It’s not just what she accomplished as a soccer, basketball, and track star, in high school and college, but of how high the numbers could have gone if she didn’t care so much about her teammates.

She fought for her own success, and it means a great deal to her, but Kana’s smile is the biggest when those around her prosper and get their fair share of the limelight.

The athlete every young Wolf, boy or girl, should emulate.

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Jacob Smith hits warp speed. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

This blog turns nine years old August 15, and to mark the occasion, I’m picking what I view as the best nine Wolf athletes from each active CHS sport.

To be eligible, you had to play for the Wolves between Aug. 2012-Aug. 2021, AKA the “Coupeville Sports” years.

So here we go. Each day between Aug. 1-15, a different sport and (probably) a different argument.


We’re getting twice the picks on this one.

I went back and forth on track and field, debating between picking the best nine girls and the best nine boys, or squishing everyone together and picking the best nine overall.

In the end, I decided 18 fit better than nine, since boys and girls don’t go head to head in high school meets.

Other sports, from basketball to soccer, got 18 picks — just with different stories, one for girls and one for boys.

And, anyway, tomorrow’s big finale, when I choose the best nine athletes, regardless of sport, will pit male vs. female with just nine picks standing at the end.

But today, you get 18.

Maya Toomey-Stout (left) and Mallory Kortuem celebrate at the state meet in Cheney. (Konni Smith photo)


Lauren Bayne — Qualified for state in both the javelin and the high jump. Competed in 11 events across four seasons. Her best javelin throw (109 feet, two inches) was almost 10 feet better than the second-best throw by a Wolf girl during the blog era.

Lauren Grove — Qualified for state seven times — three times each in the 4 x 100 and 4 x 200, and once in the 200 — winning four medals. Key part of record-busting relay units.

Sylvia Hurlburt — Qualified for state six times, claiming four medals. Strong sprinter who was a major part of relay teams which shattered school records during her time at CHS.

Mallory Kortuem — Four state meet medals, highlighted by a 2nd in the 400 as a junior. Holds school records in four events (400, pole vault, 4 x 100, 4 x 200).¬†Denied a senior season by the pandemic, but now running for Western Washington University.

Lindsey Roberts — Won eight state meet medals, most of any girl in CHS history. Holds a share of three school records (100 hurdles, 4 x 100, 4 x 200).

Emma Smith — Arguably the most-successful Wolf female thrower of the blog era, she qualified for state in both the discus and shot put. Her best heave in the shot put — 34-05 — was 28 inches shy of tying a school record which has stood since 1990.

Makana Stone — Her seven state meet medals are second-best by a Wolf girl, fourth-best in school history. Qualified for state nine times. Holds school records in the 200 and 4 x 400. As a freshman, won her first 28 events, best start in school history by an individual athlete. That streak covered the 100 (six races), 200 (five), 400 (four), 4 x 100 (three), 4 x 200 (five), and 4 x 400 (five). Won 84 races in four seasons.

Madison Tisa McPhee — Holds school record in the 300 hurdles, and owns three state meet medals. A superb relay runner who was key to several teams which set school records during her time at CHS.

Maya Toomey-Stout — Holds a share of four school records (100, long jump, 4 x 100, 4 x 200) and claimed three state meet medals. Qualified for state 10 times across three seasons — advancing in five different events. Only Wolf girl to qualify for state in four events in one year, and did it twice. Denied a senior season by the pandemic.

A young Danny Conlisk, who would go on to win two state titles as a senior, takes the baton. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)


Mitchell Carroll — Holds school record in the triple jump, and finished 5th at state in the event.

Danny Conlisk — Two-time state champ (200, 400) as a senior, the first Wolf to claim a title in a decade. Holds school records in 100, 200, and 400, and has six state meet medals, tied for third-best by a CHS boy.

Jordan Ford — Owns school record in the pole vault, and finished 8th at state in the event.

Lathom Kelley — Injuries prevented him from qualifying for state, but remains one of the most electrifying athletes to ever compete for CHS. Competed in 14 different events during his four years.

Jean Lund-Olsen — Qualified for state in three events across two seasons, winning a medal all three times. Denied a senior season by the pandemic.

Dalton Martin — Only Wolf thrower to win three medals at the same state track meet, finishing 2nd in the discus and 8th in both the shot put and javelin. Holds school record in the discus.

Jacob Smith — Has six state meet medals, tying him with Conlisk for third-most by a Wolf boy. Two of those medals were for 2nd place finishes.

Nick Streubel — Second-best male thrower of the blog days, he qualified for districts multiple times in both the shot put and discus.

Sean Toomey-Stout — Qualified five times for state across two seasons, claiming two medals. Denied a senior season by the pandemic.

Lauren Bayne soars. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)


Up next: We wrap things up with the best overall athletes of the past nine years.

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Jenn Spark had the mightiest leg in Wolf Nation. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

This blog turns nine years old August 15, and to mark the occasion, I’m picking what I view as the best nine Wolf athletes from each active CHS sport.

To be eligible, you had to play for the Wolves between Aug. 2012-Aug. 2021, AKA the “Coupeville Sports” years.

So here we go. Each day between Aug. 1-15, a different sport and (probably) a different argument.


And there’s no goalie on my team…

Which is fine, because as much as I wanted to find a spot for Julie Myers or another netminder, the team of former Wolf booters I ended up with can score at such a prodigious rate, we might not need anyone in net.

Like with a lot of sports during this whole “9 for 9” thing, there’s an easily-named second squad out there full of talented young women, but (often brutal) cuts had to be made.

It’s why they pay me the big bucks.

What? I’m not getting paid at all, you say????

Oh well, these nine queens of the pitch still deserve all the praise they get.

Micky LeVine rumbles in the open field.

Amanda d’Almeida — Athletically-gifted from day one, but became a team leader and star by outworking everyone else. If you watched just her when she was in action on the pitch, you would never know if her team was ahead or trailing, as she played with the same intensity and passion in every moment.

Mallory Kortuem — State track champ speed, and tough as they come. She moved all over the field and dominated play whether she was in the backfield or allowed to run free on the attack. Never tooted her own horn, yet every thing about how she played, and the way she carried herself — calm, composed, confident — screamed superstar.

Micky LeVine — They called her “Two Fists.” Well, I did, so almost the same thing. A scrapper who could get you goals, but also a compact-sized enforcer who would brawl down in the trenches if you ever tried to mess with one of her teammates.

Kalia Littlejohn — The smoothest of silky-smooth supernovas, she was electric on the pitch. Had the razzle and the dazzle, and could flat-out embarrass any defenders dumb enough to think they could corral her when she was locked on the net.

Mia Littlejohn — A machine. Holds the program record for career goals, but actually spent the first part of her run in a Wolf uniform as a skilled set-up player, dishing assists left and right with quick, beautifully-aimed passes which split defenders like a knife slashing through melted butter.

Avalon Renninger — Arguably the most-underrated player on this list. Finished as the #5 scorer in program history, and got most of her goals by being in the right place at the right time, or working her tail off to win 50/50 balls. And yet she was happiest when celebrating her teammates goals. A perfect role model for young players.

Lindsey Roberts — Second-biggest leg of the last decade, trailing just the next young woman (and even then, only by a smidge). Could wreck folks while playing defense, or could batter the back of the net when she let fly with lasers while on the attack. Heck, if they had put her at goalie, the athletically-gifted Lou probably would have been all-world there as well.

Jenn Spark — The leg. Even when she was injured, even when she had to wear a bulky brace, she could smush the very life out of a soccer ball like no other Wolf before or after her. Launching rockets from midfield — including a couple which splashed home for scores — she kept rival teams on their heels at every moment.

Genna Wright — The #3 scorer in program history, and that’s even with a lost season to injury, and a cut-down senior year thanks to the pandemic. Opened her career as an explosive scorer who would run foes into the ground, closed as a wily vet — all done with grace, style, and class.

Kalia Littlejohn gets dynamic.


Up next: We head to the track oval.

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Pedro Gamarra flies into action. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

This blog turns nine years old August 15, and to mark the occasion, I’m picking what I view as the best nine Wolf athletes from each active CHS sport.

To be eligible, you had to play for the Wolves between Aug. 2012-Aug. 2021, AKA the “Coupeville Sports” years.

So here we go. Each day between Aug. 1-15, a different sport and (probably) a different argument.


They were the shot-makers.

Whether they whacked the crud out of the fuzzy yellow ball, or sliced ‘n diced foes to death, the nine Wolf netters on my list were all highly-successful.

Often forced to face off with rivals from ultra-exclusive private schools, whose pursuit of tennis excellence played out all year, and usually on swanky indoor courts, Coupeville’s net men never flinched from a challenge.

Some made it to state tourney success, but all left a positive impact on the program.

William Nelson, natty dresser.

Jakobi Baumann — Fought like the dickens for every point, and would not back down from anyone. An underrated shot-maker whose resilience and fire in the belly were often remarkable.

Drake Borden — The pandemic robbed him of a chance to fully close his career with a bang, but he had already blazed a trail of success. Undisputed leader of his squad, and an invaluable assistant coach for the girls team, as well.

Aaron Curtin — Play him at singles or doubles, didn’t matter. Smooth, powerful, always under control, he dominated the courts like few Wolves ever have, and has the state tourney glory to show for it.

Sebastian Davis — The strategist. Always thinking, always planning your demise, zipping shots from corner to corner like he was playing three-dimensional chess on the hardcourt.

Ben Etzell — A perfect doubles partner for Curtin, he was the revved-up wild child to his partner’s clinical cool. Would launch himself across the court to get to shots, often tearing chunks out of his own body as the resulting splashdowns were far more brutal on the tennis court than they were when he did the same thing on a baseball field.

Pedro Gamarra — A foreign exchange student who frequently dazzled during his single season working the CHS courts. Could do tricks all day long, using the tennis ball like a soccer ball, flipping it from foot to foot, but was also dangerous with a racket in hand.

Nathan Lamb — Pretty, pretty strokes, and a motor which roared with life. Followed in the successful footsteps of older brother Jordan, and was the perfect weapon. Deploy him at singles? He brought it. Move him to doubles? He brought it.

Joey Lippo — Formed a formidable duo with the next guy on this list, but could have also been successful as a single player. Had some serious pop to his strokes, could run all day, and was relentless in his desire to win, a trait which carried over to his time on the basketball hardwood and baseball diamond.

William Nelson — Played tennis like he did soccer — as an ultra-smooth, cerebral assassin who could blister the ball or score with graceful moves. He and Lippo completed each other, forming a rare doubles duo where both seemed to move, and think, as one entity.

Joey Lippo, primed for action.


Up next: Back to the soccer pitch, this time to celebrate the girls.

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Julia Myers, here to wreck you. (Original photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

This blog turns nine years old August 15, and to mark the occasion, I’m picking what I view as the best nine Wolf athletes from each active CHS sport.

To be eligible, you had to play for the Wolves between Aug. 2012-Aug. 2021, AKA the “Coupeville Sports” years.

So here we go. Each day between Aug. 1-15, a different sport and (probably) a different argument.


A proud tradition, upheld quite nicely.

Girls basketball has some of the biggest banners in the CHS gym, and the last nine years have featured teams which won league titles, went to state, and frequently scorched other schools.

Looking at those squads, there’s little (none, really) debate over who the best player of the blog era is, but there’s a lot of depth behind that one transcendent superstar.

As always, there’s several missing Wolves out there who could make an argument for inclusion on this roster, but I’m limited to nine players.

And what a nine this is, with a mix of young women who can fill the bucket up, and others who made their living playing defense and providing all the intangibles a coach loves.

Throw the jump ball up. We’re ready to kick some fanny.

The woman. The myth. The always-smiling legend. Kacie Kiel.

Amanda Fabrizi — Tough as they come, and the owner of a deadly-effective sweet lil’ running hook shot, which was money in the bank. Never afraid to put the ball up under pressure, and always played her best the more-important the game was.

Kailey Kellner — Biggest surprise of the blog era — a shy young woman when she arrived from overseas, who then blossomed into a deadly three-ball artist. Her best moment, however, came in a must-win playoff game, when she morphed into a rebound machine, tearing the ball free and freakin’ the Seattle girls out.

Kacie Kiel — So deceptive, in the best way possible. Rivals would look at this slender young woman and assume she was a pushover, then she would go off on them, snatching every contested rebound, hitting the floor for every loose ball, knocking down gut-check three-balls, and playing like a demon on defense. Has a 1,000-pound heart, and truly deserves every bit of praise she gets.

Mia Littlejohn — Played like she was on a New Jersey playground from day one, and I loved it. Had the razzle, had the dazzle, could bank in a runner or pull back for a jumper, could dish on the move, or pick your pocket. All with a lil’ strut that was classic Mia.

Breeanna Messner — Lived and breathed for team, doing the dirty work, always scrambling, always fighting like a wild woman, which was a bit surprising, as she’s so serene off the court. Would get knocked down, face slamming on the floor, then calmly get back up, drain a three-ball in a rival’s face, and move back on defense, eyes locked on that girl until she mentally crumbled.

Julia Myers — She would mess a fool up, then stalk away, her smile erupting to chants of “Judy! Judy!” Had a sweet lil’ jump shot, but best known as a defensive banger who earned the nickname “Elbows,” cause that’s the last thing the girls from King’s saw before they hit the floor.

Lindsey Roberts — Something for everyone. Could be the go-to scorer, or could be a role player, and always seemed equally happy in either situation. Long arms, track star speed, and a burning desire to win all melded together to make Lou a terrifically-efficient weapon.

Makana Stone — The best I’ve seen in person, boy or girl. Almost 1,200 points, 1000+ rebounds, several plays of such an awesome nature they broke my brain, and the ultimate PR agent for her teammates, who she endlessly praised, in public and private.

Madeline Strasburg — The irrepressible, the incredible, Maddie Big Time. Shot out of a rocket right before tipoff, she would rampage from baseline to baseline, creating havoc. Once hit three-balls from half court at the third-quarter buzzer in consecutive games … 17 days apart thanks to winter break. And she called glass both times.

Mia Littlejohn dares you to try and score. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)


Up next: Back to the tennis court, this time with the boys.

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