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Local golfers are keeping the memory of Bennett Boyles (center) alive, while raising money for WhidbeyHealth. (Konni Smith photo)

Registration is open for the 4th annual Bennett Boyles Memorial Golf Tournament.

The tourney, which honors the memory of a young Coupeville athlete who fought valiantly against brain cancer, is staged by the Penn Cove Brewing Company, with proceeds benefiting WhidbeyHealth.

This year’s event, which will be staged using social distancing guidelines as the world deals with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, is set for Saturday, Sept. 19.

Play begins at 1 PM at the Whidbey Golf Club in Oak Harbor.

The format calls for a four-person shotgun style of play, and you can register as a pre-made team or as a single player.

For more info, or to register, become a sponsor, or donate, pop over to:

GOLF REGISTRATION

 

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Bennett Boyles (Photos courtesy Lucienne Rivera, Pat Kelley, and Konni Smith)

Never forgotten. Always loved.

Three years ago today Bennett Boyles battle with cancer ended.

He didn’t lose, as he fought with everything he had. But his body reached its breaking point.

Facing off with cancer is something no one should have to endure, much less a 12-year-old with his life stretching out in front of him.

Having lost family members to cancer, I know the mix of sadness, of anger, and of disbelief.

In his fight, in the way he faced an unyielding foe, Bennett touched many lives.

His fellow classmates, who are now sophomores at Coupeville High School, have never forgotten him.

They are carrying Bennett with them through every step of their school journey, from messages on the rock outside the school, to honoring him when they play basketball, a sport he loved.

When Hawthorne Wolfe launches a three-ball and the orb slips through the net without a ripple, Bennett is there with Hawk, his name written on the shoes which carry Wolfe up and down the court.

As we watch Xavier Murdy, and Grady Rickner, and Logan Martin, and Wolfe in action, it’s very easy to imagine Bennett out there, once again running the court with his friends.

That his classmates and coaches and friends and family and teachers and strangers alike embrace his memory, celebrate his life and accomplishments, keep alive everything good, binds our community together.

We will not forget Bennett.

There is anger, and there is sadness, and those are justifiable, and a lot of that will never fade.

But there is love and there is hope, and that is what Bennett means to Coupeville.

Every time a basketball net snaps, he’s here.

Every time we show kindness and grace to someone else, he’s here.

Every time we celebrate his soaring spirit — and it was there, firmly in place, long before his health problems — he’s here.

When the CHS Class of 2022 walks to the podium to receive their diplomas, when players like Hawk and X celebrate their Senior Nights on the basketball court, he will be there with them.

As a community we carry Bennett with us every day, and that will never change.

Never forgotten. Always loved.

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This is the third year duffers tee off at the Bennett Boyles Memorial Golf Tournament. (Mitch Aparicio photo)

The early bird gets a better deal.

Registration is open for the 3rd annual Bennett Boyles Memorial Golf Tournament, and, if you get your ducks in a row before July 31, you’ll save some big bucks.

Cost is $100 per player until the first cut-off, then increases to $125 between Aug. 1-24, before hopping to $150 between Aug. 25 and the tourney itself, which goes down Sept. 21.

The event, held at the Whidbey Golf Club, benefits the WhidbeyHealth Foundation, and has raised $11,000 through the first two years.

Put on by Penn Cove Brewing Co. owners Mitch and Marc Aparicio, the tourney honors a late Coupeville Middle School student/athlete who courageously battled against Glioblastoma multiforme.

If you’re not a golfer, you can still help remember Bennett and help in the fight against cancer by being a sponsor or donating.

For more info, or to register, sponsor or donate, pop over to:

Bennett Boyles Memorial Golf Tournament

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Jamie “Senorita Smoke” Bartlett, enjoying her days as an Oak Harbor High School softball star. (Original photos by Geoff Newton)

So much joy every time she stepped on the diamond.

Jamie Bartlett was always so happy to be on a softball field.

Big win or tough loss, her joy at getting to play, her love for her teammates and her favorite game, is something which has always stuck with me.

Back in 1993, Jamie was a sophomore at Oak Harbor High School, and I, not quite six years older than her, was stumbling through a two-year run as Sports Editor at the Whidbey News-Times.

With not a single day of college to my credit, my run in the big chair had its highs and lows.

One of those peak moments was when I started referring to Jamie as “Senorita Smoke” because of the way she torched batters with her blazing fastball.

Many stories, and many nicknames later, I continue to write, and, while my focus has been firmly on Coupeville in recent years, I don’t forget my Oak Harbor roots.

From late ’89 to ’92 as a freelancer, and then ’92 to ’94 as Sports Editor, I covered many athletes whose names still invoke memories.

Manny Martucci to Natalie Turner, Gretchen Talmadge to Joe Sarpy and Pickle Sullivan, and two who have passed too soon.

Two years ago, we lost Jon Diem and now Jamie.

As I read her obit last night, discovering that my “Senorita Smoke” nickname was something which her family fondly remembered, the cancer she fought was a footnote, as it should be.

Instead, the focus was on her life with her husband, Joel, and her children, Joel, Jr. and Tayah, who are students at their mom’s alma mater.

It’s a story of a young woman of great promise who fulfilled that promise, who achieved much in what time she had.

I left the News-Times after Jamie’s sophomore year, so my image of her is somewhat frozen in time.

Staring down batters from behind her glasses, then zipping fastballs past their bats, #11 was a star. Her pitching records still stand at OHHS two decades later for a reason.

But, while the the individual strikeouts, which came one after another, fade into memory, it’s the happiness which stays with me.

Jamie played with pure joy, every single time I saw her on the diamond, and it spread to her teammates.

I am sad for her family and friends. They shouldn’t have to lose someone so dear to them just shy of her 42nd birthday.

But I am also happy for them, that they got to be part of her life, and to be touched by her joy.

Our paths crossed briefly, a writer in his early 20’s, and an athlete on the cusp of going from a teen prodigy to an all-time Wildcat legend.

A part of “Senorita Smoke” will always be with me, forever kickin’ and firin’, forever lighting up the diamond with nothing but pure joy.

 

To read Jamie’s obituary, jump to:

https://obittree.com/obituary/us/washington/oak-harbor/wallin-funeral-home–cremation-llc/jamie-mami/3687410/

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   Coupeville High School senior Brisa Herrera is being treated for cancer. The restaurant where she works is holding a fundraiser for her Saturday. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Brisa Herrera was a battler on the basketball court, and she’s a battler off the hardwood as well.

The Coupeville High School senior is being treated for cancer, and Ciao, the local restaurant she works at, is holding a fundraiser for her tomorrow, Saturday, May 5.

Restaurant owner Mark Laska has pledged the day’s income to benefit “our cherished busser extraordinaire.”

Herrera’s sister and mother also work at Ciao.

The restaurant, located at 701 N. Main, is open from 11 AM-8 PM Saturday’s.

The day’s events, which will feature “Paco’s Tacos,” will also include the band Amigos Nobles playing from 1:30-3:30.

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