Posts Tagged ‘Allie Hanigan’

Jacki Ginnings was the “queen of the three-hour match.” (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Jazmine Franklin teamed with McKenzie Bailey to form “Salt ‘n Pepa,” maybe the most underrated doubles team of the last 13 years.

Girls tennis is arguably the most-successful sport in Coupeville High School history.

A big part of that run of league titles and postseason glory has come during Ken Stange’s 13 years (and counting) at the helm of the program.

The Wolf net guru returns for part 3 of our five-part series on CHS coaches extolling the virtues of the best players they’ve seen.

Let’s head out to the court and listen to him reminisce.

While the boys’ team has had some success, winning some league titles and even sending some players to state, the boys’ team has always had to compete with football.

Football is the big daddy of male high school sports, and I think boys are more likely to grow up dreaming of Friday Night Lights than they are of Center Court at Wimbledon.

The girls, on the other hand, have made tennis one of the most successful athletic programs at CHS.

Even with the constant onslaught of state track stars and the rise of CHS’s wicked good fastpitch team, tennis has remained strong.

We used to routinely have 20+ players; I think we had 28 one year.

Although our numbers have dwindled (we had 16 players last year), we ended our four-year run in the 1A Olympic League with four league titles.

I’ve had some amazing players on the girls’ team.

Picking this list was only easier because I took the liberty of adding two more singles players than I did for the guys.

#1 Singles — Julia Sierra Castano (exchange student from Spain – 2010)

Julia turned 16 a few days before she competed in the state singles tourney, back in 2010.

When she showed up in the fall of 2009, I heard rumors of an exchange student who had game.

That fall, I saw her hitting with some of the boys while they were getting ready for practice one day. She looked consistent, but she wasn’t hitting the ball hard.

I was hoping to see a little more ability, considering she had told me about her club training that she had back home in Spain.

Once the spring began, she quietly established herself as the top singles player, narrowly edging out her closest competition.

I just kept thinking she had more than what she was showing. I was persistent in asking her about it, and she was usually sheepish about the subject.

Eventually, she confided that she didn’t want to showboat for her teammates. She wanted to be liked.

That was fine, but I told her that I really wanted her to beat the crap out of her opponents.

She did, winning every single regular season match. She won the league tourney. At the Seattle district tourney, she finally lost a match, but not before she qualified for state.

She went 1-2 in Yakima, competing well in a very strong field.

To this day, her forehand is one of the most ferocious shots I’ve ever seen.

We used to bash the ball back and forth, and many times, I watched her humiliate her opponent with her weapon.

It’s hard to believe she was just 15 for most of that season. She was smart, kind, well-liked, and a beast of a tennis player.

#2 Singles — (tie) — Amanda d’ Almeida (Class of 2013), Valen Trujillo (’17), and Emily Burchfield (’12)

Amanda is the only female to appear on this list twice. I guess if I were to make an all-CHS mixed doubles team, it’d be Aaron Curtin and Amanda.

Anyhow, Amanda, Valen and Emily had similar tennis career arcs.

All three put together impressive multi-year runs as singles players, and all fell just shy of state, but were playing in incredibly tough districts and would likely have qualified if they played anywhere else in the state.

Amanda, Valen, and Emily put up impressive four-year careers as CHS tennis players, racking up tons of wins

Amanda as a junior and senior was probably the most physically-fit athlete I’ve ever coached.

She looked like a professional athlete and even though she wasn’t imposing in size, she looked like the type of person who had been training for a long time.

Soccer was her main sport, but she had played tennis as a ninth grader and found huge success as a doubles player.

By her junior year, she’d hit the singles court and was making waves.

I remember not being able to hit balls that Amanda couldn’t run down and return to me. She was one of the best retrievers I ever coached.

What’s more, she constantly worked to improve all aspects of her game.

She took her doubles knowledge from earlier, and added the ground strokes that allowed her to hang with the big girls.

She ended her career as one of the most solid players during my time at CHS.

Valen had everything … but size. Haha.

I first met Valen when she was in 7th grade. She wasn’t in my class, but she introduced herself anyway because she was just that polite.

I had her in Yearbook class and multiple English classes. I got to know her and her family.

When she came out to play as a 9th grader, she had already played a bit, she was very athletic, and we both clicked in a perfect player/coach way. We just got each other.

Valen was relentless in her pursuit of good tennis. She kept at it.

She was probably 5′ 1″ but she still found a way to have a big serve. She ran every ball down and she never gave up on points. She did it all with unbridled enthusiasm, too.

After matches, I often said, “Win (or lose) a match and make a friend,” because she more often than not connected with her opponent.

She won gobs of matches, both as a doubles player in ninth grade, and as a singles player for her final three years.

She was also most likely to bake goods for her teammates and coach.

Emily was indomitable.

She was an aggressive soccer player and she translated that aggression to the tennis court nicely. She had pretty good game, too.

I was pumped for her senior season because I thought she had an outside shot at qualifying for state in singles.

About a week before the beginning of her senior year, a vehicle struck her while she was riding a bicycle in Portland.

She had broken her back, and things looked dire. It was originally thought that she may not be able to walk, yet she defied her doctors’ prognosis.

King-5 interviewed her and they came out to Coupeville.

When she finally got to return to school and I found out she intended to play tennis, despite all the new hardware she was sporting in her skeleton, I was amazed.

I tried to imagine the kind of discomfort and pain she was experiencing on a daily basis.

Then the season happened. We had to manage her playing because of the accident.

She had had a previous surgery on her ankle from a soccer injury. That injury was aggravated by the accident and her ankle would swell up to the size of a cantaloupe every time she played.

I remember watching her plant her foot and run during points, and seeing her pain-tightened face as she did it.

It was so impressive. She seemed to defy normal human tolerance for pain.

She won the league singles title that year and made it to within one match of qualifying for state. Had she not been injured, she would likely have qualified for state.

Seriously, they could make a movie about Emily.

# 3 Singles — (tie) — Allie Hanigan (’14) and Jacki Ginnings (’15)

Allie and Jacki each took their turn at #1 singles and they both were quite dominant, helping their teams secure titles.

Allie was long and graceful on the court, so much so that I sometimes accused her of not trying hard enough, but she always said she was giving it her all.

Eventually, I was watching her play a match from a different angle. I realized just how fast she was.

She looked slow because she made it look too easy. She anticipated and zoom, she was gone!

What’s more, she was tall, so she could reach just about everything inside the fence.

When Allie left, Jacki assumed the #1 spot.

Unlike Allie, Jacki did not make it look easy. Quite the opposite, actually.

She was the queen of the three-hour match.

Several times, she would be in the first wave of matches and would not finish until the final JV match had ended.

Luckily for us, she was usually on the top end of the drawn-out affair.

She was a grinder, never afraid to play the long point to outlast her opponent. She was tough as nails to boot, so if she lost a long point, she easily put it in her rear view mirror.

#1 Doubles — Payton Aparacio (’18)/Sage Renninger (’18)

Easily the best doubles team I ever coached.

They finished 4th in a loaded bracket at state last season, capping a stellar four-year career as the top CHS doubles duo.

When I think of who made it look easy, I think of Payton and Sage, and I can only think of them together, much the same as their classmates, Joey (Lippo) and Will (Nelson).

They were singular. They just made it look effortless.

They were smiling assassins, and they could giggle in the most tense moments.

As ninth graders, they said they wanted to play together.

I immediately saw state somewhere in their futures, so I committed to putting two of my best into one spot.

There were four pairs of incumbent players who planned on beating the young Sage and Payton, and pair by pair, those four duos found themselves somewhere else on the ladder.

That first year was difficult. They took their lumps, but picked up experience.

They picked up the wins as sophomores and juniors, and came close to making it to state.

Their senior year was a thing of magic. They lost a few key regular season matches to teams that went on to qualify for A or AA state.

With each of those losses came an increased focus in subsequent matches.

They also had a helper named Tezra who trained with them after practice. That work paid off with a 4th place finish at state.

Not many players get to finish their careers with a win. Sage and Payton did just that.

What made their final season even better was how they took control of the captains’ reins, leading their team to a fourth-straight league title. Their impact will be lasting.

I’ll also never forget how Payton ended the district semifinal match by hitting her opponent in the face with a wicked ground stroke.

#2 Doubles — (tie) — Amanda d’Almeida (’13)/Jessica Riddle (’13) and Hannah Merrell (’09)/Megan Monroe (’09)

Amanda and Jessica were doubles partners for their ninth and tenth grade years, before Jessica moved to Anacortes to finish her final two years of high school.

Although new to tennis as ninth graders, Amanda and Jessica were both ridiculously athletic. Both went on to play college soccer and volleyball, respectively.

They picked up the game very fast.

I tucked them away at the bottom varsity doubles spot for the entire season while they learned the game and grew more confident.

We had two doubles spots available in the league tourney that year, so I let them challenge their teammates for the second spot and they won.

At league, they beat their other teammates to win the title, before bowing out at district.

As sophomores, they stormed through the league, advancing to districts. They fell one match shy of state, but their performance was memorable.

Unfortunately, their time as partners ended, but it was a great run nonetheless.

When I took over the CHS tennis program, the entire varsity team had graduated.

Hannah and Megan led a strong group of ninth graders that came out for my first season.

They made girls’ tennis important and meaningful. They legitimized the sport.

Because of them, I enjoyed several years of 20+ players, many of whom were serious about learning and winning.

Another soccer/volleyball duo, Hannah and Megan grew to love tennis.

It worked out for them because they qualified for state during their junior year – the first state qualifiers I coached at CHS.

Their passion to learn, win, and lead their team was admirable, and they set the stage for many years to come after their graduation.

#3 doubles —McKenzie Bailey (’16)/Jazmine Franklin (’16)

McKenzie and Jazmine are the only players on either the boys’ or girls’ list who did not play the majority of their matches in the #1 spot.

McKenzie and Jazmine, or Salt ‘n Pepa, as they were known to their teammates, played behind Payton and Sage.

Had they played on just about any other team, McKenzie and Jazmine would have been a solid #1 doubles team.

They went something like 28-4 over their junior and senior seasons, and served as excellent captains as well.

They were about winning and fun, in that order. They lived out loud and I loved it.

#4 doubles (work in progress) — Avalon Renninger (’20)/Tia Wurzrainer (’20)

Av and Tia are the only active players on this list.

They are slated to play #1 doubles this year after a strong showing at last year’s district tourney.

They are a work in progress, and after next year and the year after, they could be on top of this list, or they could be off this list.

The smart money is putting  them higher on the list.

Av and Tia enter their junior year having had the experience of seeing Payton and Sage’s example as well as having been Payton and Sage’s punching bag.

Av and Tia have grown. If they continue to grow, and I think they will, they could make a run at a state medal very soon. Time will tell.

Tia is as steady as they come, both in her game and in her attitude. She is a calm ship captain.

Avalon wears her heart on her sleeve, and I can most certainly identify with that. She has one of the highest levels of want that I’ve ever seen.

The future is bright for Av and Tia, and I’m fortunate to be a part of it.

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   The triple threat trio (top, l to r, Nick Sellgren, Mike Vaughan and Rich Morris) are joined by (bottom, l to r) Allie Hanigan, Janiece Jenkins, and, leading her 2004 CHS volleyball squad, Toni Crebbin.

Bring out the big guns.

That’s what we’re doing today, as we welcome our 31st class into the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame.

Five individual athletes and the only Wolf team to be ranked #1 in the entire state in any sport in the modern era, this is the cream of the crop.

With that, we welcome Rich Morris, Mike Vaughan, Nick Sellgren, Janiece Jenkins, Allie Hanigan and the 2004 Coupeville High School volleyball squad to these hallowed digital walls.

From this point on, you’ll find them up at the top of the blog, under the Legends tab.

We kick things off with one of the speediest runners this town has ever known.

Jenkins was a speed demon on the track oval for the Wolves and held the school record in the 200 for a stellar eight years, before gracefully congratulating her successor when Makana Stone finally shattered her mark.

Even if she no longer holds a record on the big board, the memory of her senior year trip to state will last forever.

Competing in the spotlight in 2005, Jenkins brought home three medals, finishing fifth in the 100, eighth in the 200 and running a leg on a 4 x 100 unit that claimed sixth.

Along with raw athletic talent, Janiece shares other traits with our second inductee, Allie Hanigan.

Both played with a rare sense of grace and drew frequent praise from teammates, both at the time and after their prep sports careers ended.

Hanigan was a two-sport star for CHS, a standout tennis player who anchored the Wolves at first singles, and a ferocious hitter on the volleyball squad who controlled play at the net.

She was also a great teammate, or at least always seemed that way from the view the stands offers.

Now, Allie is blazing a bright trail in the modeling world while attending college, and, one day soon we’re all going to turn around and marvel that the biggest name in the biz used to live in our small town.

Joining her are a trio of three-sport stars who spent much of their high school days together, on and off the field.

Morris, Vaughan and Sellgren played football, basketball and baseball and were stars in every sport, leaders for their entire high school careers.

If you add up all the trophies and awards the trio earned, it would fill a nice-sized room, and they all continue to kick butt even as they (slightly) age.

Vaughan, for one, was a key part of the Red Pride hoops squad which ran the table at the most recent Tom Roehl Roundball Classic.

If it’s hoops, though, Morris gets the nod over his buddies.

While Sellgren had two strong years as a big-game scorer, and Vaughan saw varsity action all four years, Morris had a rare knack for putting the ball in the hoop.

He remains one of just three CHS boys players in the last 25 years to score 300+ points in two separate seasons (he netted 328 and 309), a feat matched only by Gavin Keohane and Mike Bagby.

Turn to the other sports and we could start an argument which will never end, or we can just acknowledge the trio as a testament to a time when high school athletes played three sports, year in and year out, and excelled at them all.

They left a mark, both as athletes and showmen, which will be long remembered.

As did our final inductee, a team which still casts a huge shadow.

The 2004 CHS volleyball squad set a program record with 13 wins, but the biggest one might have come at districts, when the Wolves shocked Bush, who had been ranked #1 in the state all season.

With the win, Coupeville inherited the top spot in the polls, something no other team in any sport at CHS has done as far as my research shows.

After opening the state tourney by thrashing Zillah, the Wolves ran headlong into their arch-rival that season, La Conner, losing a hard-fought duel to the eventual state runner-ups.

The schools had split two matches during the regular season, sharing a league title, before Coupeville won a third meeting during the playoffs. Round #4 was not to be, however.

A second loss at state, coming in five epic sets against Freeman, denied the Wolves a chance to bring a banner home, but even now, 12 years later, that squad remains the best group of spikers the school has ever seen.

So, let’s bring them back together one more time for another bow, at least in the digital world.

Inducted, as a team:

Toni Crebbin (head coach)
Thea Flynn
(assistant coach)
Jennifer Bailey
Brittany Black
Lyndsay Boling
Laura Crandall
Kirsty Croghan
Heather Davis
Heather Fakkema
Mindy Horr
Taniel Lamb
Annie Larson
Kristina Morris
Beth Mouw

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Birthday trio (clockwise from top left) Connor McCormick, Allie Hanigan and Sean LeVine.

Birthday trio (clockwise from top left) Connor McCormick, Allie Hanigan and Sean LeVine.

June 11 stands as one of the deeper days for producing excellence in Wolf Nation.

If we wanted to hand out birthday well wishes to everyone and their sister, we could include Jennifer Dohner and Kristi Etzell, moms who sent numerous talented offspring through the halls of Coupeville High School.

But, for the moment, we’ll focus on three who have made a big impact on Wolf sports in the last few years — Allie Hanigan, Connor McCormick and Sean LeVine.

McCormick, who will be a senior at CHS in the fall, has done a bit of everything, and always done it with great passion.

Soccer goalie, deadly doubles player on the tennis court, baseball and football stud in his earlier days and a medal-winning twin threat with Science Club and History Day.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg for the middle McCormick child as he upholds the family tradition of awesomeness.

LeVine may technically not be a Wolf, having played soccer in his younger days for a different school that shall go unnamed, but his impact on Coupeville sports is undeniable.

His progeny — Micky “Two Fists” LeVine, Jae “Mighty Mite” LeVine and Izzy “The Real Superstar” LeVine, are among the brightest talents in the land, precocious, uber-talented, super smart (and sometimes smart-ass) young women.

Then there is LeVine’s soccer coaching career, which has touched countless lives.

Whether working with youth soccer programs, or guiding the Whidbey Islanders select soccer squad, which brought together players from Coupeville, Oak Harbor and the South end and rattled the big city programs to their core, Sean has guided the growth and development of an entire generation of pitch stars.

Plus, he’s done it all while working as a superhero on the side (he’s a paramedic) and showing an ability to grow an impressive beard. The man is multi-talented.

Topping off our trio is Hanigan, who moved to Coupeville from my birthplace, Kelso, and immediately became a two-sport sensation.

Ruling the volleyball and tennis courts for two years, she was a fearsome hitter who played in much the same way she moves through real life, with epic grace and style.

Allie is walking, talking class personified and even though she’s moved on to college life, she’s not easily forgotten.

As individuals or as a group, the terrific trio of McCormick, LeVine and Hanigan make the rest of us look better for being loosely connected to them.

Here’s to happy birthdays for all three, this year and in the future.

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Happy birthday, Allie Hanigan! (John Fisken photo, tweaked on PicMonkey)

Queen of the court. (John Fisken photo)

Waiting to unleash the fury. (Shelli Trumbull photo)

Waiting to unleash the fury. (Shelli Trumbull photo)

Zen master.

Zen master.

Kelso’s loss was Coupeville’s gain.

When Allie Hanigan and her family moved to town, the Wolves got a two-sport superstar who played with elegance and grace.

Whether exploding skyward at the volleyball net, where she used her height to great effect as a blocker, or controlling play on the tennis court, she was a standout during her time in the red and black.

Now, having graduated from CHS just a few short days ago, she’s moving on to bigger and better things.

As she celebrates her birthday today, we wish her the best because that’s what she has always been — the best.

Wherever she goes, whatever she does, Miss Hanigan will always be a superstar. And we’ll be able to say we knew her when her star was just beginning to spark skyward on its journey.

Get ready to watch the fireworks go off as she moves from small town wonder to all-world sensation.

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Back alley brawlers Valen Trujillo (left) and Micky LeVine rule the tennis courts.

Valen Trujillo (left) and Micky LeVine, ready to throw down a beatin’.


Samantha Martin moves in for the kill. (John Fisken photo)

Sydney Aparicio (left) and Wynter Thorne celebrate their Player of the Match honors. (Ken Stange photo)

Sydney Aparicio (left) and Wynter Thorne celebrate Player of the Match honors.

It’s not over until the last cupcake is eaten.

The Coupeville High School girls’ tennis squad and coach Ken Stange officially closed out the 2014 season Thursday with an awards shindig, honoring 15 players for their efforts.

Senior Allie Hanigan, who anchored the Wolves at #1 singles all season, led the way, taking home the MVP as well as sharing Captain honors with Samantha Martin.

Jazmine Franklin earned Most Improved, Valen Trujillo was tabbed as Most Inspirational and Wynter Thorne nabbed the Coach’s Award.

Earning varsity letters:

Sydney Aparicio
Sydney Autio
McKenzie Bailey
Bree Daigneault
Haleigh Deasy
Jazmine Franklin
Jacki Ginnings
Allie Hanigan
Micky LeVine
Ana Luvera
Ivy Luvera
Samantha Martin
Maureen Rice
Wynter Thorne
Valen Trujillo

And, just because the season is over doesn’t mean you can’t start preparing for next year.

In a team vote, Martin, Thorne and Ginnings were elected as captains for the 2015 team.

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