Posts Tagged ‘Cheer’

Coupeville grad Mica Shipley made her debut as an NCAA D-I college cheerleader Saturday afternoon. (Photos courtesy Shipley)

Shipley (front row, far left) with her EWU squad.

She was born for this.

Mica Shipley has been a cheerleader most of her life, winning awards and soaring high into the air.

Now, the 2020 Coupeville High School grad has reached a new level of achievement, performing for an NCAA D-I school.

After being denied a chance to perform by the pandemic, the cheer squad at Eastern Washington University finally got to go live Saturday at the regular season home finale in Cheney.

Shipley and her teammates worked the sidelines as the Eagles beat the University of Idaho 38-31.

The victory avenged an earlier loss to the Vandals, and lifts EWU to 5-1 on the season.

While she didn’t get to fly Saturday, Shipley was just thrilled with the chance to achieve at least a part of her college cheer dream.

“No stunting, but I’m glad to be out there!,” she said.

During her days at CHS, Shipley was a cheer captain for the Wolves, helping lead the program’s return to competition after nearly a decade away from the blue mats.

During her junior season, Coupeville qualified for state in its first attempt in eight years, then claimed third-place at the big dance.

The next season, Shipley and fellow captain Ashleigh Battaglia led the Wolves to nationals.

The cheer supernova, who first made headlines when she earned her way onto all-star teams at age six, also modeled for Glitter Starz.

That Illinois-based company is a national leader in custom all-star uniforms, warm-ups, and other cheer essentials.

Shipley, who is one of two Wolf athletes at D-I schools (with classmate Sean Toomey-Stout competing for a spot with the University of Washington football team) is studying nursing, with plans to become an OBGYN.

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Football action like this may rule the gridiron again soon. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Back to the gridiron. Maybe.

The Oak Harbor Football and Cheer League, which draws players from across Whidbey Island, plans to play a spring season.

If COVID-19 cooperates, that is, and Island County can get to Phase 2 in Governor Jay Inslee’s Healthy Washington – Roadmap to Recovery plan.

League President Eric Marshall announced a plan Monday in which football will play, but cheer will not.

“Unfortunately we will NOT be offering cheerleading this spring,” he said.

“Due to the short window for ordering uniforms, and the uncertainty of the season, we do not feel we can offer a quality cheer experience at this time.”

The current plan:

Jan. 18 — Registration opens, with a reduced cost of $100 per player due to “the shortened season and uncertainty of being able to play games.”

Feb. 15 — Registration closes, and league officials will determine if they have enough players to form teams. If not, full refunds will be issued.

Mar. 1 — First practice. No refunds after this point.

There will be three practices per week, at two hours each, with all practices closed to spectators.

Mar. 13 — Jamboree played.

Mar. 20 — First game — if Island County has advanced to Phase 2.

May 1 — Playoffs (semifinals).

May 8 — Super Saturday (championships)

“Our player’s safety always comes first,” Marshall said. “The league will be following ALL safe return to play guidelines and WIAA regulations, including facemasks, temperature checks, and social distancing.

“We hope you have all been staying safe and healthy during this past year,” he added. “We look forward to seeing you all again real soon.”


To register, pop over to:


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Lori Fredericks 

The kindness in her smile, and the joy in her voice, is what I will remember.

Through the Videoville years and beyond, every time I saw Lori Fredericks, my day was brighter for it.

She was a truly lovely human being, and it was a blessing to know her.


From her family:

In Memory of Lori (Fredericks) Hillard, March 16, 1978-December 2020.

Mother, sister, daughter, aunt, friend, Registered Nurse … you were always and will always be loved and held deep in our hearts.

Cheerleader and lover of all pets!

Life of the party … your smile will forever shine.

Although your presence is already missed … we know you’re resting peacefully in mother’s arms.

A memorial service will take place mid-February in Coupeville for family and private invite only.

In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Madelyn Hillard college fund which will be set up at the Whidbey Island Bank in Coupeville.

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SarahRose Bernhardt, the very definition of “a truly lovely human being.” (All photos poached from her Facebook account)

SarahRose Bernhardt is special.

Always has been, always will be.

It takes a special talent to light up every room you enter, to make others feel good about themselves, to achieve and inspire without asking for credit.

But that is SarahRose.

We live in a world which has grown harsher in the past few years.

Or, at the very least, one in which people are much more inclined to be abrasive to each other, to demean and ridicule.

There are days where it feels like there is little hope of kindness reclaiming the public mood.

Which is why SarahRose is like a light at the edge of the world, buffeted like the rest of us, but not willing to give up the fight.

In the same year that the Coupeville High School grad and her fiancée, David, returned to find their home burning to the ground, she has endured, and she has prospered.

As a new year dawns, SarahRose is not sitting back. She has moved to the front of the crowd, pursuing a medical calling at the height of a worldwide pandemic.

In the pictures she and her proud parents have posted, we see a young woman who pulls on fire gear, hefts a saw half the size of her body, and moves into action.

“Badass” Bernhardt (far right), ready to battle whatever comes her way.

We see a brilliant student, a talented dancer — an actress and cheerleader during her high school days — who, clad in PPE from head to toe, brings healthcare right to the front doors of those in need.

Working for Dispatch Health out of Seattle, SarahRose is, like the others she works with, a reassuring face in a troubled time.

That she would make this decision, to be part of the solution at a moment of crisis, is not surprising to me.

While I don’t think I’ve seen her in person since back in the Videoville days, SarahRose, like her parents and siblings, was always something special.

She graduated from CHS in 2004, after being a member of the Hi Q Academic Quiz Bowl team, serving as a school board rep, participating in the Learning Partner program, and being a group leader for Honor Society.

Not content to stop there, SarahRose was also a tutor, an active volunteer in the community, and a team leader for the Wolf cheer squad.

Graduation from the University of Washington, after a similar string of accomplishments, arrived in 2008.

In her post-school days, she used her love of dance to inspire countless people through her work at places such as Barre3 Bellevue and Daybreaker Seattle.

And now, a frontline worker in a troubled time, a continuing ray of hope in all she achieves, and how she reaches those goals.

A day at the beach with her fiancée and the doggos.

As I said before, SarahRose has never been one for beating her chest, screaming out why she rules (even if she does), and expecting folks to get in line and bow to her.

Too bad, cause we’re going to do the latter part right now.

That’s because we’re capping 2020 by inducting SarahRose Bernhardt into the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame.

Since it’s technically a digital shrine to athletic achievement, she’ll be listed as a cheerleader, even if she’s really going in for that and a billion other things.

After this, if you wander past the top of the blog and look under the Legends tab, that’s where you’ll find her hanging out.

At least on-line.

In real life, SarahRose will be found where need arises, where her skills and hard work will accomplish much, where she can leave behind an impact on the world she moves through.

She is a badass, and she is the light, and she makes her hometown proud, every day.

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Mekare Bowen, who turns 24 today, is a special human being. (Photo courtesy Dea Bowen)

In a world of grey, she is the sunshine.

Not just a ray, but the whole sizzlin’ ball, lighting up the universe with her every action and word.

I’ve known Mekare Alora Bowen since she was born — which would be 24 years ago today — as her mom, Dea, worked with me at Videoville and Miriam’s Espresso back in the day.

From the moment Mekare popped into the world, (politely) bellowing “Let’s get this party started!!,” she has amazed me.

She is incredibly smart, not just in a “do well at school” sort of way, but where you look at her in awe, and wonder not whether she will accomplish something, but just how much she’ll accomplish.

Mekare wrote a 550-page fantasy novel, Flying Fast: Untouchable, during her teen years.

If a computer crash hadn’t eaten her work, it’s likely no one would be paying any attention to J.K. Rowling and Stephanie Meyer right now.

Her passion for writing was captured in this quote, when she agreed to let me write about her after much tut-tutting that there were others who should be featured ahead of her.

“I have a new idea every day. I’ve had a lot lately, but I typically forget them and then they come back to me randomly,” Mekare said back in 2012.

“I love those moments actually, because it’s like somebody punched you in the face with flowers wrapped around their knuckles.

“It’s a bittersweet moment because half of you is ecstatic to have the idea back, the other half is mad that you forgot it in the first place, and the idea typically hits you again at the most inconvenient time.

“Actually, if someone were to punch me, I’d probably punch them back — without the flowers. But I think you get the picture.”

While some would spend years wailing over their tech misfortune, our Hemingway just jumped right back in, continuing to write, while also developing a subtle touch with the camera.

As younger sister Aria also grew up, she could often be found on the other end of Mekare’s lens.

A photo from a few years back, capturing sister Aria at play. (Mekare Bowen photo)

The same was true for family and friends, every animal she could find, and a thousand other subjects, animate or inanimate.

Whatever the world wanted to show, Mekare was there to capture and immortalize.

A boat slices through the sun-dappled water. (Mekare Bowen photo)

Anyone can click a camera and call themselves a photographer.

But it takes a special skill to make those images come alive, and Mekare and her equipment work in often uncanny union.

When she hit high school, moving from private to public, Miss Bowen wanted a new challenge, and so she jumped head-first into cheerleading, joining legendary 20-year coach Sylvia Arnold’s final squad.

Sylvia Arnold with Mekare Bowen. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Mekare was an immediate hit with the sideline crew, joining close friends like Julia Felici and forming a vibrant, loud ‘n proud team.

Julia Felici and her nephew Drake join Mekare to celebrate a Coupeville win. (Shelli Trumbull photo)

Whether traveling to other countries to help those in need, picking up a new sport and embracing every aspect of it, or being quietly awesome without ever tooting her own horn, Miss Bowen has impressed me her whole life.

I’m sure, like all of us, she has her faults. But, if so, I have yet to see one.

There have been other Wolf athletes who have shown great skill and great kindness, finding a balance which is rare.

Breeanna Messner, Aaron Trumbull, Makana Stone, Hunter Smith, and Valen Trujillo immediately jump to mind.

But I put Mekare up on the top of this mountain peak.

She is, quite simply, the best of what Coupeville, and this world, have to offer.

Her continued success and high achievement in life, as she navigates the adult world, is a source of great happiness for me. And, I’m sure, for a lot of others.

In the grand scheme of things, induction into the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame probably isn’t on the same level as say, winning a Nobel Peace Prize or a Pulitzer.

Both of which could easily be in Mekare’s future. Just sayin’.

But it’s what I have to offer, and so we celebrate her birthday — which should probably be a national holiday — by welcoming her into our lil’ digital shrine.

After this, if you cruise by the top of the blog and look under the Legends tab, you’ll find Mekare hanging out, along with those other five former CHS athletes I mentioned just a second ago.

It’ll say cheer next to her name, since it’s a sports hall, but we’ll all know she earned her induction for a lot more than that.

For her talent, for her grace, for her kindness, for her care to all around her, and for being, each day and every day, the kind of person I would like to be if I ever grow up.

You’re the best, Mekare. Thank you.

Hangin’ out with mom Dea. (Beth Kuchynka photo)

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