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Posts Tagged ‘CHS Wolves’

Katrina McGranahan, a killer with a soaring spirit. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Already a star, even before she stepped into the hallways at Coupeville High School.

An athlete who enjoyed every moment she was given.

Katrina McGranahan entered as a star, and exited as a legend.

The Coupeville High School senior, who celebrates her 18th birthday today, excelled at every sport she played, even the one she didn’t really enjoy.

And, while she gave up basketball shortly into her high school career, after dominating in middle school, McGranahan embraced stardom and a role as a quiet leader in both volleyball and softball.

On the court, she broke through as a freshman, making her varsity debut late in the season and flashing signs of the big-time power hitter she would become.

For the next three seasons, McGranahan was front and center, an All-Conference pick, a league MVP, an invaluable contributor on squads which won back-to-back league titles and returned to state after a 14-year absence.

Her kills at the net were delivered with precise power, her blocks with high-flying grace and her service aces with an extra bit of zing.

As good as she was on the volleyball court, it is softball which holds her heart, and the diamond is where Killer Kat has truly soared.

A dangerous hitter who combines power, an ability to hit to all fields, speed and smarts, McGranahan has been Coupeville’s most consistent weapon since day one of her freshman campaign.

When she’s at shortstop, she displays a gun for an arm and a nose for always tracking down even the hardest-hit or weirdest-hit balls.

One of the best plays I have ever witnessed on the prairie came courtesy McGranahan, who, battling epic winds, started to retreat as a pop up corkscrewed over her head.

Then the prairie breeze slammed into the ball in mid-air like a runaway freight train, the ball came to a dead stop in mid-flight, made a little scream and pitched forward, careening towards the Earth.

McGranahan spun in mid-stride, launched herself face-first into oblivion and somehow, against all odds and most of the laws of the known universe, reached the ball with the tip of her glove.

That she touched the ball was a miracle.

That she somehow speared said ball was extraordinary.

That she held onto said ball, pulling it back into her body as she slammed into the unforgiving infield dirt, and completed the play, refusing to let the ball separate itself from her glove?

That made even the impartial umpire behind her scream like a little girl who has just gotten a pony.

And, you know, with all this talk of shortstop, McGranahan rarely played there.

Because, from day one to the final moments of her prep career, she was the young woman who reached out, game after game, took the ball and strode into the pitcher’s circle, ready to face whatever came her way.

Instead of easing into the role while being an understudy as a freshman, McGranahan was thrown into the fire right away as veteran hurler McKayla Bailey rehabbed an injury.

Katrina never blinked, never hesitated. She snapped off strikes as a 9th grader and was still snapping off strikes as a 12th grader, and all that changed was who was behind the plate to catch her pitches.

Over the past six years, in all of her sports, I have witnessed her deliver big moment after big moment, capture epic wins and fight to the final moment in agonizing losses.

I have seen her smile many times as an athlete, and I have seen her cry a few times as well, and the fact there was many more smiles than tears makes me happy.

If Katrina had never played a sport, her strength, spirit, warmth and class would have still made her stand out.

But she was an athlete, one of the best I have written about, a young woman who cared deeply for her teammates, a warrior who fought for every play but had the grace to accept the outcome, good or bad.

As she moves on to play college ball, my enduring image of Killer Kat will be of her pacing in the pitcher’s circle, her fingers kneading the ball, the game on the line, and yet, amid the tension, a huge smile on her face.

She was a killer, but one who was enjoying every moment.

So, today, we wish Miss McGranahan a happy birthday (and much cake) and we officially welcome her into the company of her fellow legends, inducting her into the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame.

After this, you’ll find her name up at the top of the blog, under the Legends tab.

There was never a doubt she would end up here.

I knew it from the first time I watched her play in middle school, and the last six years have simply reinforced my first opinion.

Sometimes it’s nice to be right.

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After scoring 24 goals, CHS sophomore Derek Leyva was named the Olympic League boys soccer MVP. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Their final season in the Olympic League was a major success.

After three years of garnering third-place finishes, the Coupeville High School boys soccer squad surged to second-place in 2018, then made its longest playoff run in a decade.

CHS bounced five-time state champ Bellevue Christian from the postseason, then pushed Vashon Island and Klahowya hard in playoff losses.

With a solid core of young players (its top two scorers are only sophomores), the Wolves are primed for future success as they head to the new North Sound Conference next year.

And one of those sophomores, Derek Leyva, is still making headlines after being selected Olympic League MVP.

It’s the first time a non-Klahowya player was honored as the top boys soccer player in the four years of the conference.

Making his debut in 2018 with CHS, Leyva scorched the nets for 24 goals, a single-season record for the Wolf boys program.

He shattered the previous mark of 20, set by cousin Abraham Leyva in 2016.

Also pulling down big honors from league coaches were senior William Nelson and sophomore Aram Leyva, who were tabbed as First-Team All-Conference players.

It was Nelson’s fourth time to receive the honor.

Those awards, and team honors, letters and certificates, were handed out Thursday night as the booters kicked off Coupeville’s spring sports banquet circuit.

Derek Leyva was also named the team’s Player of the Year, while Uriah Kastner (Most Improved), Nelson (Most Inspirational) and Sam Wynn (Rookie of the Year) received varsity awards.

JV players Dawson Houston (Most Inspirational) and Ben Smith (Most Improved) were honored, as well.

“This was a great season for us with plenty of records and firsts in quite a few years,” said Coupeville coach Kyle Nelson.

Varsity letter-winners:

Chris Cernick
Dewitt Cole
Hunter Downes
Sage Downes
Pedro Gamarra
Uriah Kastner
Teo Keilwitz
Aram Leyva
Derek Leyva
William Nelson (4-year letter winner)
Axel Partida
Josh Robinson
Ethan Spark (4-year letter winner)
James Wood
Sam Wynn

JV certificates:

Zach Ginnings
Dawson Houston
Alex Jimenez
Jonathan Partida
Ben Smith
Simon Socha

Manager:

Peytin Vondrak

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Coupeville boys tennis players like Mason Grove will face a substantial challenge next season. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

If you want to be the best, you have to play the best.

People say that all the time, and it’s something the Coupeville High School boys tennis team will get to test out this fall.

With CHS jumping ship from the 1A Olympic League and joining the new 1A North Sound Conference starting with the 2018-2019 school year, everyone’s schedules will change up.

Klahowya, Port Townsend and Chimacum will be gone, at least as league rivals.

Meanwhile, the Wolves will reunite with former Cascade Conference foes South Whidbey, Sultan, Granite Falls and King’s, plus Cedar Park Christian (Bothell), which replaced Coupeville when it departed that 1A/2A league.

But there will be one CHS program facing a different set of foes, and that’s boys tennis.

While King’s doesn’t play softball and Sultan and CPC don’t play girls tennis, that still leaves those sports with five and four league teams, respectively.

Every other sport the Wolves compete in, including cross country, which returns to CHS after two decades, has a full six-team set-up.

And then there’s boys tennis, where South Whidbey is the only one of Coupeville’s five new foes to field a team.

Instead of just a two-team mini-league, the Wolf male netters will step outside the North Sound Conference, joining the Falcons in playing as interlopers in the ultra-ritzy Emerald City League.

Otherwise known as the toughest tennis conference in the state.

Seriously.

The league is comprised of small, ultra-ritzy private academies, where most of their tennis players are exclusive to the sport and benefit from ready access to private coaches and indoor courts.

Of the ECL schools, University Prep, Seattle Academy, Overlake, Bush and Bear Creek play boys tennis, while South Whidbey and 2A Archbishop Thomas Murphy have joined them on the courts in recent years.

With the Cascade Conference shattering apart, its 1A members have formed the North Sound Conference, while the WIAA forced Wesco to accept ATM (after its athletic directors voted 21-0 to deny such a move).

While the Wildcats will likely take the courts against 3A schools like Oak Harbor from now on, tennis has never been a priority for ATM, and the school is an also-ran in the sport.

The five private schools awaiting Coupeville in the Emerald City League are anything but also-rans, however.

With the exception of Charles Wright Academy out of the Nisqually League, the ECL features all of the dominant 1A tennis programs in the region.

As in, the last five boys state singles champs (four from U Prep, one from Bear Creek) have come from ECL schools.

Seattle Academy won the boys double title in 2016, beating a U Prep duo, and had the state runner-up in singles in 2015, while U Prep is the defending team state champs.

In four of the past five seasons, at least two ECL teams have finished in the top five in the team standings at the state tourney, with U Prep being in that exclusive group every season.

Of the five ECL schools, only The Bush School has failed to make a top five team appearance between 2013-2017.

With two doubles teams and a singles player in this weekend’s state tourney draw, U Prep, which went 11-0 in ECL play, is a strong bet to repeat as state champs, though you can never count out Charles Wright.

Basically, this is a long way of getting around to acknowledging the Coupeville boys tennis program faces an uphill battle.

While South Whidbey has always had a stellar tennis program, at least by rural public school standards, the Falcons have made just a few inroads in their time in the ECL.

SWHS went 4-4 in league play last fall, and two years ago got then-freshman Kody Newman, now a football player, to the state tourney.

While he has never shied away from a challenge in 13 years at the helm of both Coupeville tennis teams, Wolf coach Ken Stange admits his two squads will have different paths ahead of them.

“The boys’ tennis team will face tougher competition than any other CHS team,” he said. “Multiple perennial state powerhouses will be our norm.”

Cue the “Rocky” theme music.

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   Coupeville’s Sage Renninger (left), Ken Stange and Payton Aparicio are off to Yakima this weekend for the 1A state girls tennis tourney. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Well, at least no one gets to play in their backyard.

When Payton Aparicio and Sage Renninger pile into a van with Coupeville High School tennis coach Ken Stange and head off to the state tourney this weekend, they’ll have a long drive.

It’s 192.4 miles from Cow Town to Yakima, and the duo will be the first Wolf girls double team to make the trek in a decade.

But, at the least, their first-round foes in the double-elimination draw, Sierra Rothlisberger and Madeline Peebles of Chelan, have to travel 138.6 miles.

Win or lose, Aparicio and Renninger are guaranteed a second match Friday, and it will be against either defending state champs Amanda Lin and Maria Russinovich of Overlake or Kaylee Schow and Ally Vestal of Tenino.

Those duos are trekking 141.2 and 165.7 miles one-way, respectively, so no one can really fall back on the excuse of tired legs.

What the Wolves will face is temps expected to be in the 90’s and unfamiliar foes.

The duos headed to state whom Aparicio and Renninger have played — Mary Zisette and Alison Papritz of South Whidbey and Grace and Kate Jung of Cascade Christian — are on the other side of the 16-team draw.

In an intriguing twist, the Falcon duo will also face a Chelan team, made up of Elle Rothlisberger (younger sister of Sierra) and Bella Gatzemier.

The Mountain Goats (yes, that is Chelan’s mascot, and yes, it’s awesome) hail from the 1A Caribou Trail League and the Rothlisberger sisters are coached by dad Marty.

Depending on how they do, Aparicio and Renninger will play between 2-3 matches Friday. Make it to Saturday and they are guaranteed a top-eight finish, and the medals that come with that.

As the duo prepare for their final run as prep netters, a look at the pertinent details:

 

What:

1B/2B/1A girls tennis state tournament

 

Where:

Yakima Tennis Club
2505 Fruitvale Blvd
http://www.yakimatennis.com/

 

When:

May 25-26

 

Ticket prices:

It’s FREE … if you go all the way to Yakima.

 

WIAA tournament central site:

http://wiaa.com/subcontent.aspx?SecID=1163

 

Draw:

http://wiaa.com/ardisplay.aspx?ID=1772

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Coupeville senior Jacob Smith is set to run in four events at his final high school state track meet. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Track and field is all about the numbers.

Every tenth-of-a-second, every inch, is the difference between nabbing another PR and exiting the stadium with a little extra skip in your step.

But now, as we enter the final week of the season, the game has changed a bit for the last 16 Coupeville High School track stars still standing.

Nine Wolf boys and seven girls are off to Cheney this weekend for the state tourney. When they get there, they’ll still want PR’s, but the hunt is also on for medals, and, possibly, state titles.

It’s been eight long years since a Coupeville athlete won top honors.

You have to go back to the spring of 2010, when Tyler King stood atop the podium in the 1600 and 3200 to find a Wolf state champ.

That performance came in his junior season, and he followed it up by winning a state title in cross country to kick off his senior year.

From that moment on, no CHS athlete has achieved nirvana, not even King himself, as he finished second in the 800, 1600 and 3200 as a senior.

But once again, as a new state meet approaches, there is hope.

And it’s real hope, as Wolf senior Jacob Smith is among the fastest in all of 1A in the 100 and 200, while junior Lindsey Roberts is just a step or two off in the 100 hurdles.

Smith qualified for state in four events (100, 200, 4 x 1, 4 x 2), matching what Maya Toomey-Stout accomplished last season.

If he were to medal in all of his events, he would join Jon Chittim as the only Wolves to earn four competitive medals in one state meet.

Chittim won state titles in the 200, 400 and 4 x 4, while finishing seventh in the 100 that season.

Five of Coupeville’s 16 state-bound athletes will arrive in Cheney with at least one competitive state track meet medal already in their collection, and all can make a move up the all-time list for Wolf track stars.

Roberts has claimed four medals in her first two seasons, while Smith (2), Danny Conlisk (1), Mallory Kortuem (1) and Maya Toomey-Stout (1) have also earned previous honors.

In the history of CHS track, there are 21 athletes who have captured three or more medals in competition.

They are:

Tyler King (11)
Kyle King (10)
Makana Stone (7)
Natasha Bamberger (6)
Chad Gale (6)
Bill Carstensen (5)
Jon Chittim (5)
Yashmeen Knox (5)
Jeff Fielding (4)
Lauren Grove (4)
Sylvia Hurlburt (4)
Dalton Martin (4)
Brian Miller (4)
Lindsey Roberts (4)
Madison Tisa-McPhee (4)
Ed Cook (3)
Hunter Hammer (3)
Kyra Ilyankoff (3)
Janiece Jenkins (3)
Amy Mouw (3)
Pete Rosenkranz (3)

As we wait for Roberts, Smith and Co. to make a run at history in the blazing inferno that is Eastern Washington in late May, a look at the particulars.

 

What:

1B/2B/1A Track and Field State Championships

 

Where:

Eastern Washington University in Cheney

 

When:

May 24-26 (no Coupeville athletes compete Thursday)

 

Ticket prices:

Adults – $6 Thursday, $10 Friday or Saturday, or $24 for entire meet
Senior (62+) – $5, $8, $19
Students (5-11 and 12+ with ASB) – $5, $8, $19
Children (Under 5) – FREE

 

WIAA tournament central site:

http://wiaa.com/ardisplay.aspx?ID=1654

 

Schedule for CHS competitors:

 

FRIDAY:

10 AM – Girls Javelin (Finals) — Lauren Bayne
10 AM – Girls 4 x 200 (Prelims) — Lindsey Roberts, Ashlie Shank, Mallory Kortuem, Maya Toomey-Stout
11:20 AM – Girls 100 Hurdles (Prelims) — Roberts
11:55 AM – Boys 100 (Prelims) — Jacob Smith
12:30 PM – Boys Discus (Finals) — Chris Battaglia
12:45 PM – Girls Long Jump (Finals) — Cassidy Moody
1:00 – Boys 4 x 100 (Prelims) — Cameron Toomey-Stout, Smith, Sean Toomey-Stout, Jean Lund-Olsen
1:45 PM – Girls 4 x 100 (Prelims) — Shank, Kortuem, M. Toomey-Stout, Roberts
2:30 PM – Boys 400 (Prelims) — Danny Conlisk
3:10 PM – Boys Triple Jump (Finals) — Ariah Bepler, C. Toomey-Stout
4:30 PM – Boys 200 (Prelims) — Smith
5:35 PM – Boys 4 x 400 (Prelims) – Smith, Henry Wynn, S. Toomey-Stout, Conlisk

 

SATURDAY:

9:15 AM – Opening ceremonies
10:00 AM – Girls 4 x 200 (Finals)
10:15 AM – Boys Long Jump (Finals) — C. Toomey-Stout, S. Toomey-Stout
11:25 AM – Girls 100 Hurdles (Finals)
11:45 AM – Boys 100 (Finals)
12:30 PM – Boys Shot Put (Finals) — Ryan Labrador
1:00 PM – Boys 4 x 100 (Finals)
1:20 PM – Girls 4 x 100 (Finals)
1:40 PM – Boys 400 (Finals)
3:00 PM – Girls Discus (Finals) — Allison Wenzel
3:05 PM – Boys High Jump (Finals) — Bepler
3:35 PM – Boys 200 (Finals)
4:50 PM – Boys 4 x 400 (Finals)

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