Posts Tagged ‘Avalon Renninger’

Maria Reyes and Co. keep the Coupeville Booster Club hummin’ right along. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Abbie Martin (left) and Leann Levitt sell Booster Club gear at a Wolf football game.

COVID-19 can’t keep the Coupeville Booster Club down.

The ongoing pandemic will prevent the group from hosting its annual athlete appreciation banquet, but that won’t stop the boosters from giving everyone a send-off.

The club is teaming with Coupeville High School coaches and Athletic Director Willie Smith, and will hand-out Wolves memorabilia to athletes Thursday, June 11 at the CHS gym.

Things start at 3:30 PM.

Booster Club members, coaches, and Smith will wear masks and gloves to protect themselves and students.

Athlete can get their memorabilia directly from their coaches, but have to maintain required social distance.

The give-away caps a busy, productive, and memorable school year for the Booster Club, which is also awarding scholarships to seven Wolves from the Class of 2020.

They are:

Natalie Hollrigel ($1,300)

Avalon Renninger ($1,000)
Lucy Sandahl ($1,000)
Gavin Straub ($1,000)
Maya Toomey-Stout ($1,000)
Sean Toomey-Stout ($1,000)
Ulrik Wells ($1,000)

The Coupeville Booster Club is comprised of parents, staff, alumni, friends, and businesses.

The club provides assistance to Coupeville athletic programs through volunteerism and financial support, while purchasing supplies, equipment, and capital items beyond what the school athletic budget provides.

Their objective is to support Coupeville athletic programs, its coaches and athletes, and to raise school and community spirit.

If you’d like to help support the Booster Club, contact them at coupevillebc@gmail.com.

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This spring was to be the 30th season for Coupeville High School tennis coach Ken Stange. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic closed schools, erased spring sports, and prevented Senior Nights.

With that in mind, we’ve been giving Whidbey Island students and coaches a chance to offer those farewells online instead of in person.

Today, Coupeville High School girls tennis guru Ken Stange swings by to offer some heartfelt words.


In tennis, and in life, there are times when one just knows … knows how things are going to turn out.

Certainty. Well, almost certainty.

After 15 years at the helm of the CHS tennis program (that’s 30 seasons, if you count both the boys and girls), I’ve gotten to the point where I know if someone, or a doubles pair, is a serious threat to earn a state berth.

I knew it with Julia Sierra Castano, the Spanish Assassin.

I knew it with Aaron Curtin and Ben Etzell, and again when Aaron went to state in singles.

I knew it with Payton Aparicio and Sage Renninger.

Like I said, sometimes you just know.

Some seasons, you know it’s a rebuild. Other seasons, you know there’s a deep but inexperienced team.

This year? I knew.

I knew that we had a group of new players that would learn the game from their captains, Avalon (Renninger) and Tia (Wurzrainer).

I knew we were returning all three of our doubles teams.

Jaimee (Masters), Emily (Fiedler), Eryn (Wood), and Abby (Mulholland) were primed to win buckets of matches.

I knew that all three doubles teams were pretty damn good last season, and that this season, our team would challenge for a league title.

I knew we would have competitive matches with our Island rivals, South Whidbey.

I knew that we had a doubles team, in Avalon and Tia, that would challenge for an elusive state berth.

Avalon Renninger swats a lethal left-handed shot.

This was to be our team’s return to the top.

We were going to do it with hard work and style.

It was the 2020 season, and our team was going to be the focus.

Alas, bigger problems took center stage, and our season was over almost as fast as it started.

I know that public health wins over tennis, every time, and I know that we all made our sacrifices, for the greater good.

That said, I’m still mad as hell. I’m very sad, too.

I feel badly for the ladies that were gearing up for a fun and successful season.

I feel bad for the parents, who love to come out in support of their kids, school, and community.

There are two individuals who, in my opinion, lost a little more than everyone else associated with the program.

Avalon and Tia were the heart and soul of CHS tennis.

Tia Wurzrainer keeps the rally alive.

They were two talented and caring players who continued the proud tradition of the CHS ladies’ tennis team.

They worked their butts off.

As sophomores, they were within a couple of points from clinching a state berth.

As juniors, they ran into a few buzzsaws from Seattle, prematurely ending their season.

Going into the senior campaign, they got to work.

My spine was recovered enough so I could actually hit hard balls at them, and they had Drake Borden, who was basically their personal hitting partner.

With the help from Drake and I, along with Av and Tia’s high levels of talent and work ethic, we are well on our way to a successful season.

I just knew.

Knowing that a potentially successful campaign, and a run to state for Avalon and Tia, has been lost, I’m very sad.

I love it when we have a dominant team. It’s always more fun when winning!

What hurts most about the lost season is not that we lost a chance to be dominant.

What hurts most is that my seniors, Avalon and Tia, were two of the classiest players ever to grace the courts at CHS.

They were fierce competitors and best of friends.

They mentored other players and kept their teammates accountable. They were serious about tennis while maintaining a lighthearted attitude.

Classy, pure and simple.

I’d hoped that they would place themselves at or near the top of my all-time best doubles teams, with a solid senior season and a state berth.

They are still at or near the top of my list, though.

As a pair, they were a force to be reckoned with.

As individuals, they were two of my absolute favorites who led their team with grace, class, and fun.

Tia … calm, cool, and collected.

She would probably argue with me, but I think Tia is perfect.

Kind, intelligent, intuitive, and hard working. I don’t think I ever heard a single negative word pass through her lips.

Her work ethic was second to none. Anyone would be happy to have her as a partner, me included.

Avalon … she holds a special place in my heart because she wears her heart on her sleeve. I can relate to that.

It’s completely honest.

She’s cried, she’s celebrated, and she’s worked her tail off to always improve.

Together, they made a lethal doubles combo.

Each knew how to handle the other. They had a fantastic yin and yang.

Av and Tia grew up with my daughter, Oliana. I’ve known them since they were tots.

Watching them grow and evolve from tots to adults has been a treat.

Having them as part of the tennis program has been an honor.

The competition, the conversations, the post-match meals, the road trips…all made better because of Av and Tia.

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Avalon Renninger, Hall o’ Famer. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

I believe in Avalon Renninger.

There is something special about her.

She’s tough. She’s resilient. She’s scrappy. She’s undeniably brilliant.

But, maybe most of all, she is a bright, shining beacon for all Coupeville athletes – an example of someone who seemed to enjoy every moment she had in a Wolf uniform, and someone who did everything she could to make sure all of her teammates got to experience that same joy.

Avalon, one of the true headliners in the CHS Class of 2020, has been a class act every step of the way.

Put her on a soccer pitch, on the basketball hardwood, or on a tennis court, and she gave her all, every single time out.

Raining down buckets all day long.

I never saw Avalon go at half-speed, never witnessed her cheat herself or her team, never noticed her playing with anything other than full effort and wild abandon, no matter the score.

And I saw her play a lot of games over the past six years.

Once she pulled the uniform on, Avalon, one of the most genuinely kind people you will meet, became a crackling ball of energy unleashed.

On the soccer pitch, she led the Wolf girls program to its first-ever playoff win this past fall, a captain willing her squad to glory through words and actions.

But, to get there, Coupeville had to come up big late in the regular season, such as in a 1-0 win at home against Sultan.

Mollie Bailey was untouchable in goal that day, while Mallory Kortuem beat the howling wind and a hyped-up Turk defense to score the lone goal.

But it was Avalon, right there in the middle of the action on every play, who lit the fuse.

Her refusal to ever give in is captured in these paragraphs from the story I wrote that day:

Much like Renninger, the pluckiest of plucky players, the calm, cool, and eternally serene captain who got crunched in the face (fairly accidentally it seemed), and added her blood to the mix of fluids to decorate the Coupeville pitch over the years.

“I thought it was snot,” she told her dad after the game, as she moved her nose gingerly. “It was NOT!!”

Still, Renninger proved why she is among the most-revered of all Wolf athletes, anchoring her squad through the facial pain.

Afterwards, as she headed for the parking lot, her voice a mix of tiredness, pain, and pride, she remarked, “Yep, going home and doing some homework and getting some sleep. Maybe just some sleep … sleep sounds good.”

Avalon always led the celebration when teammates, such as big sis Sage, scored.

When we talk about Avalon and her prep sports career, we can talk stats.

She departs as the #5 scorer in Wolf girls soccer history, having rattled home 12 goals while raising her scoring totals across each of her four seasons.

On the basketball court, she followed a similar path, raising her scoring totals each of the three years she saw varsity action, while operating as the kind of “glue” player who contributes in so many more ways than just making the nets pop.

Swing out to the tennis court, where she teamed with Tia Wurzrainer, and Avalon was a consistent threat, a left-handed assassin with sweet groundstrokes, a serve which had some nicely nasty zing, and a willingness to play all day long.

The duo came up behind Payton Aparicio and Sage Renninger, who were a #1 tandem across four seasons, then inherited the top slot as juniors.

This spring was supposed to offer Avalon and Tia a final shot at glory, a chance to make a run at duplicating the trip to state once enjoyed by big sis and her playing partner.

But while the COVID-19 pandemic has denied them a final season in the spotlight, it does nothing to erase the legacy they will leave behind.

Sisters from different misters – forming a deadly doubles duo with Tia Wurzrainer.

When we remember Avalon, it won’t be for her stats anyway, as solid as they are.

We will remember her for how she was always the first to throw an arm around a younger teammate, pull them in to her, and ease their nerves or quietly light a fire under them.

She gave away penalty kicks late in her soccer career, handing them to freshman girls.

The choice didn’t come from a coach, but from Avalon herself, as she handed responsibility to those who would follow her, and built their confidence, one “You got this!” at a time.

A lot of people want to be leaders.

Avalon just was one, in the manner she conducted herself, in the way she stoked an always-burning fire in her own soul, which made everyone around her want to do the same.

As you probably figured out way back at the beginning of this story, we’re here today to induct Miss Renninger into the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame, where she will join her sister.

After this, if you pop up to the Legends tab at the top of the blog, you’ll find her there, camped out with other big-timers.

This is hardly going to be the last award the multi-talented phenom will win, as she prepares for college and all the big-time accomplishments to come.

Avalon will head off into the outside world, but she will remain an enduring part of Cow Town’s heritage and history.

Gone, but never forgotten, flying down the pitch, scrambling on the hardwood, sliding across the tennis court.

Fighting with every last ounce of effort, beaming with joy (even when being rapped in the face with wayward elbows), a grin creasing her face, always looking for the best in everything.

“WE GOT THIS!!!!” she would tell anyone who would listen, and I never doubted her.


Because I believe in Avalon Renninger.

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Avalon Renninger is one of four CHS seniors who played their final basketball game Tuesday night. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Scott Fox (left) led the Wolf girls to a 12-7 record in his first year at the helm.

Maddie Georges, who was the #3 scorer for Coupeville as a freshman, is one of 10 varsity players who can return next season.

The rain (of three-balls) was a pain.

A scrappy Coupeville High School girls basketball squad played visiting Meridian even in the second and fourth quarters Tuesday night.

But it was the first and third quarters, when the Trojans bombed away for six of their nine successful three-point shots, that stung, and stung badly.

Dropping death from the skies, the very-young, very-quick, very-physical, very-good team from Bellingham was ultimately too much for the Wolves, handing them a 52-24 loss.

The defeat, Coupeville’s second in as many days to a Northwest Conference school, eliminates them from the district playoffs.

The Wolves finish 12-7.

Coupeville and next-door neighbor South Whidbey were eliminated on the same night, as the Falcon girls fell 53-17 at Mount Baker.

With the CHS boys having been KO’d Saturday, and neither Oak Harbor hoops team making the playoffs, the South Whidbey boys are the last team from The Rock still playing.

While Tuesday’s final score sounds lopsided, it was a huge improvement from Coupeville’s loss Monday at Nooksack Valley.

The Wolves, led by four seniors playing in their final game in a CHS uniform, were within 11 points early in the third quarter, and never backed down against a really-strong Meridian squad.

In the early going, Coupeville struggled to convert from the field, largely thanks to in-your-face and then some defense from the ultra-aggressive Trojans.

The Wolves only first quarter points came at the free throw line, while Meridian dropped in a trio of three-balls en route to opening up a 17-5 lead by the first break.

Things didn’t get much better as the second quarter dawned, with the Trojans swishing their fourth and fifth treys to shove the margin out to 23-5, but then Coupeville found its groove.

Scout Smith netted her team’s first field goal, some 10 minutes-plus into the game, when she ripped a ball loose, then beat a pack of rivals down the court.

It was the start of a 10-4 run for Coupeville, with Smith, Anya Leavell, Carolyn Lhamon, and Maddie Georges all scoring.

The prettiest play came thanks to Smith and Leavell, as the wily senior led a fast-break, then slid a pass between defenders to her sophomore teammate for a breakaway layup.

The grittiest play was right before the break, as Georges, a freshman who is primed to inherit the point guard position from the departing Smith, went the length of the court for a bucket while being hammered around the head and shoulders.

Hannah Davidson opened the third quarter, sliding a free throw through the twines to pull the Wolves within 27-16, but then things fell apart for a good stretch.

It wasn’t that Coupeville played badly in the third.

You have to give credit to Meridian, which did what top-level teams do. They stepped up and dropped a haymaker.

Or a couple.

Closing the quarter with a 17-0 game-busting surge, fueled by three more three-balls, the Trojans put a stamp on the game, simply overpowering their opponents.

The Wolves fought to the end, however, playing Meridian to an 8-8 tie across the fourth quarter, with four different players notching a point.

The biggest cheer of the night came very late in the game, when senior Tia Wurzrainer, celebrating her birthday, pulled up on the move and hit nothing but net on the final jump shot of her stellar prep hoops career.

While the loss ended Coupeville’s season, first-year head coach Scott Fox had nothing but positives to carry away as he and his players exited.

“We fought really hard, and played so much better than last night,” he said.

“Our seniors played their hearts out. They were our backbone and our leaders,” Fox added. “I couldn’t be more proud of those girls.”

Smith, Wurzrainer, Davidson, and Avalon Renninger played together from middle school through their senior seasons, with Davidson making a brief detour to California before returning to Cow Town.

A tight-knit bunch, they will be remembered most for their hearts and hustle, which were second to none.

Playing in her final basketball game, Smith led the Wolves with seven points, and notched one final personal highlight.

With her performance Tuesday, Scooter finishes with 290 varsity points, sliding past Bessie Walstad (288) to claim 37th on the Wolf girls basketball career scoring chart, which dates back to 1974.

Davidson banged home five points in support, with Georges (4), Leavell (2), Chelsea Prescott (2), Wurzrainer (2), Lhamon (1), and Audrianna Shaw (1) also scoring.

Prescott finishes her junior season with 249 career points, tying her with Danette Beckley at #44 on the all-time list.

Renninger, Mollie Bailey, Kylie Van Velkinburgh, and Izzy Wells also saw floor time, while Nezi Keiper, recovering from an injury, and team managers McKenna Somes and Ja’Kenya Hoskins round out the 2019-2020 Wolf varsity.


Final (unofficial) season scoring stats:

Scout Smith – 148
Chelsea Prescott – 110
Maddie Georges – 86
Hannah Davidson – 74
Avalon Renninger – 64
Izzy Wells – 46
Tia Wurzrainer – 25
Carolyn Lhamon – 24
Anya Leavell – 18
Audrianna Shaw – 11
Kylie Van Velkinburgh – 10
Mollie Bailey – 6
Nezi Keiper – 2


To see more photos from Monday’s playoff game in Nooksack Valley, pop over to:


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Hannah Davidson is here to deny you! (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Chelsea Prescott fires up the jets.

Abby Mulholland keeps her eyes on the prize.

Kylie Van Velkinburgh (30) and Davidson get caught in a tangle.

Gwen Gustafson rolls hard to the hoop.

Can’t catch Avalon Renninger, can’t beat the Wolves.

The action was hoppin’, and the camera was clickin’.

The Coupeville High School girls basketball teams invaded Langley Friday, rolling to a varsity win while dropping a razor-thin decision in the JV game.

Also making the trip down Island was wanderin’ paparazzi John Fisken, who left his Oak Harbor home behind for a night of hoops.

The pics above are courtesy him, but are just a smidge of what he snapped.

To see everything Fisken shot, and possibly purchase some glossies, pop over to:


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