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Posts Tagged ‘CHS Wolves’

Coupeville grad Joey Lippo sports a llama on his baseball cap this summer. (Photo courtesy Connie Lippo)

It’s a fulltime job.

Coupeville High School grad Joey Lippo is out of school, but still at work on the diamond.

Fresh off his first season of playing baseball for the University of Maine at Presque Isle, the former Wolf is spending a chunk of his summer hefting a wood bat in the Cascade Collegiate League.

The six-team conference gives NCAA and NAIA players an opportunity to play a 24-game schedule from June 11-August 8.

Lippo, along with UMPI teammate Bailey Corley, suits up for the Lynnwood Llamas, who are 6-0 after opening with three-game sweeps of the Salem Salamanders and Seattle Sea Turtles.

Other teams in the CCL include the Snoqualmie Chinooks, Portland Prairie Dogs, and Burlington Barn Owls.

League opponents gather at one central location, such as Hoquiam, each weekend during the eight-week season.

The season is capped with a weekend of postseason play the first week of August.

The Llamas feature a 22-man roster, with players plucked from schools such as Iowa Wesleyan, Air Force, UMPI, and Everett and Lower Columbia Community Colleges.

Lynnwood opened by sweeping the Salamanders 5-1, 10-3, and 7-1, before keeping its win streak alive with 8-6, 7-2, and 9-6 victories over the Sea Turtles.

Lippo is fourth on the team in hitting, smacking the ball at a .364 clip, while playing error-free ball in center field.

He’s also pitched in one game so far this season, scattering two hits in a relief appearance.

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Nothing dims Genna Wright’s smile. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Genna Wright is a prodigy.

Springing from a family of athletes, the youngest one in the bunch might be the most talented one.

Which is saying a lot when all of your siblings, and your parents, have a heapin’ helpin’ of natural talent mixed with a burning desire to excel.

Owner of one of the sunniest personalties in Coupeville, Genna has rare star quality.

She looks the part. She acts the part.

Whether you’ve known her for years or merely walk past her for the first time, one glance and you know there’s something special about Wright.

She’s got that whole Matthew McConaughey, laid-back surfer personality going on, but there’s never been a doubt she is driven to be the best at everything she attempts.

Even as a young athlete, her love of competition was obvious.

Over the past six years, as she played numerous sports as a middle school, then high school athlete, I’ve witnessed more than one Genna Wright.

I’ve seen her in happier moments — mobbed by teammates after scoring, or lounging with prairie buddy Mollie Bailey, two very-personable young women delighting in friendship and inside jokes.

And I’ve seen Genna in some of her lowest public moments — dealing with the rawness of a season-ending loss, or trying to come to terms with a brutal injury.

Through it all, her spirit, her love of life and those closest to her, her uncanny ability to light up the world around her, have never lagged.

That injury, which cost her an entire season of soccer and a chance to claim the school’s career scoring title on the pitch, was as unfair as they come.

Blown up from behind as she charged after a ball headed for the sideline, at a moment when it wasn’t necessary, Wright shredded virtually everything important in one of her highly-talented legs.

It was a devastating injury, one which required major surgery and a long, torturous rehab.

Which she endured with great grace and admirable grit.

In public, Wright never betrayed her anger or sadness over the lost opportunities, instead choosing to become her teammate’s loudest and proudest cheerleader during her absence from the pitch.

She could have hidden away, but she embraced positivity — something which she has done every step of the way as I have documented her prep sports career.

And what a career it has been — even with the dual daggers of injury and then a pandemic.

Now a bionic woman, yet still fighting for every point.

Wright was the #1 singles player for the Coupeville High School tennis team her entire career — something not accomplished even by Wolf net legends such as Amanda d’Almeida or Valen Trujillo.

CHS coach Ken Stange looked at his irrepressible freshman, dared her to accept the mantle of greatness from day one, and then, like all of us, was wowed when Genna embraced her destiny with a grin (and a nasty forehand).

Whether playing against ritzy Seattle-based private schools, or leading the Wolves to conference crowns, Wright was money in the bank.

All around her, the fortunes of other CHS players rose and fell, through tough matches and easy walk-overs.

But then there was Wright, camped out on her own private patch of court, ripping winners, mixing in graceful parries with booming winners, and, occasionally, arching one eyebrow at dad Ron when he got particularly enthuiastic over her play.

Put her on the soccer pitch, and Genna was maybe even more amazing.

I’m not the most-knowledgable soccer aficionado, but even I could tell she’s something special with a ball on her foot, and a scared goaltender awaiting her impending arrival.

Wright could score from any angle, and, even with all the time lost to injury, still finished as the #3 scorer in CHS girls soccer history.

But she was also a great set-up artist, flicking passes through feet, leaving the ball in just the right spot for one of her teammates to benefit.

And Wright was as tough as any young woman to pull on a Wolf jersey.

Foes flung elbows at her, lashed out at her with wayward legs, did everything legal (and some things maybe not so much legal) to keep her away from the net, but Genna wasn’t here for their shenanigans.

She could bash with the best of them, and, while playing with a remarkably-clean style, was more than able to unleash a bit of the ol’ skull cracker when necessary.

“They call me the Grave Digger, Gramps, cause I bury fools.”

An accomplished student off the field, Genna — like siblings KeriAnne, Aaron, and Sarah before her — is the complete package.

Smart, tough when it matters, talented, funny, genuinely kind at all times — high-achievers who carry themselves with a quiet confidence while declining to thump on their chests while screaming about their superiority — they reflect well on parents Ron and Christine.

Falling back on one of the oldest puns in the book, they do things the … Wright way.

Today we welcome Genna into the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame, where she joins Sarah in hanging out up at the top of the blog under the Legends tab.

In the grand scheme of things, it’s not the first or last honor the youngest Wright will receive, but it is a testament to how highly thought of she is by those who have watched her from the stands these past six years.

With some athletes, you never know what you will get from game to game.

With Genna Wright, there has never been a doubt — you will get her best each and every time out.

Buy your ticket, or go in for free, and you will see a young woman whose mere presence is a guarantee of something special.

She’s like a freakin’ ray of (very-talented) sunshine, she is.

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Chelsea Prescott — without a doubt, the most talented athlete, male or female, in the Coupeville High School Class of 2021. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

She was “The Natural.”

When you look at the Coupeville High School Class of 2021, there is no debate over which graduate was the most naturally-gifted athlete.

Chelsea Prescott stands above the pack, and it didn’t matter the sport.

From volleyball to basketball to softball, with a stop off to play baseball as a little leaguer, Chelly has seemingly been front and center every step of the way.

I can remember her as a middle school ace, pounding the snot out of a volleyball which then caught a rival player flush in the face on its way back to Earth.

At an age when many players tend to hit looping “spikes,” Prescott had already mastered the art of smashing the ball with a righteous fury, sending it where she wanted to, and making dang sure there was little chance the ball would be returned.

On this play, ball met face, there was a sound like a watermelon smashing into concrete after being lobbed off the Empire State Building, and then the other team’s player went to the floor like a rag doll.

A brief moment of eerie silence, then the appearance of Coupeville Athletic Director Willie Smith, equipped with multiple towels to mop up blood and sweat mingling on the floor.

Most everyone on the floor stood in slight shock, except Prescott, who looked rightfully concerned — she has always seemed like a kind, caring young woman — but also had the trace of a smile dancing at the corners of her mouth.

In that moment, her rep as a stone-cold killer was established, and while Chelsea meant no harm, sometimes you have to break a few eggs to make an omelet, so to speak.

Prescott could be lethal at times.

Just ask the Montesano High School assistant softball coach who took one of her wicked line drives right off of his ankle during the state tourney.

He did a whole lot less crap-talking about Coupeville after she tattooed him, and again, a slight smile dancing around the corners of her mouth.

Through all the games I saw her play, I loved that about her — Chelsea didn’t care how big your rep was, or how much publicity your program got.

Between the lines, she never backed down, and she always played with a slight edge to her game.

“Just try and catch my heater!”

It served her well when she was playing baseball, the only young woman on a field filled with boys who, like teen boys everywhere, often thought they had more talent than they did.

Hucking fastballs with the best of them, Prescott held her own on the pitcher’s mound, in the field, and at the plate, until the difference in body sizes made the transition to softball as she entered high school the right choice.

From the moment she stepped on the CHS diamond, she was the complete package — speed, power, a gun for an arm, and brains for days.

Playing deep in the hole at shortstop, Prescott erased many a runner who naively thought they would easily beat out an infield hit.

When the ball popped into Veronica Crownover’s glove over at first a step or two before the hitter’s arrival, the hitters all learned a painful lesson.

Never bet against Prescott. Ever.

Like a bat out of Hell.

At the plate, she would launch low, screaming liners which would find pay-dirt, then kick away from the outfielder as she hauled butt around the base-paths.

A single became a double, a safe two-bagger morphed into a triple, as Prescott got her uniform dirty diving into the bag a half-second before the throw arrived — all while her teammates came charging home ahead of her, building up her RBI totals.

Chelsea made it to the state tourney in both softball and volleyball, but she was equally talented on the basketball court, where she could flip the nets with her shot-making.

Always on the attack.

Really, I believe she would have been a success in whatever sport she chose.

Toss her a tennis racket, put her on a soccer field or a track oval, give her a few days, and Prescott would have been among the best to be wearing a red and black uniform.

Genuine, all-encompassing talent is rare, but Chelsea had it from the first moment I saw her play.

But as good an athlete as she was, or, more appropriately, as she still is, as she prepares to play college volleyball, defining Prescott only as an athlete would not do her full credit.

She is a bright and bold young woman, capable of doing 10,002 things I have no aptitude for — from repairing cars to fixing toilets to pressure-washing houses.

Quarantine cost her a softball season, but Prescott filled those hours developing a skill set which will serve her well when she has to lead us all through the apocalypse.

Through it all, from being ahead of the curve as a middle schooler to rightfully claiming the CHS Athlete of the Year award in her final moments as a Wolf, she has often been brilliant.

Better yet, Chelsea has always been a class act, in how she carries herself in good times and bad, and how she interacts with teammates and rivals, coaches, and family, friends, and fans.

She didn’t have to yak at anyone and try and tell us how good she was. She proved that the best way possible — through her actions.

I knew, way back when she was in 7th grade, this was likely going to end with her being inducted into the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame.

It’s tricky, looking at a middle school athlete and being able to forecast, correctly, that they will continue on a path of excellence.

Some do. Some don’t.

Life throws up obstacles. People change. Potential doesn’t always pay off.

In her case, however, the bet hit big.

Chelsea Prescott impressed me in middle school, as an athlete and a person. She impressed me in high school. I am confident she will continue to impress me for a very long time.

Putting her up there, at the top of the blog, under the Legends tab? It just fits.

She was made for this. Every step of the way.

A warrior, always. (Cory Prescott photo)

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Maddie Vondrak, a (humble) superstar. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Be humble and kind.

In everything I have seen and heard over the past five years, Maddie Vondrak has, quietly and without a lot of chest-thumping, been the very-best of what a prep athlete can be.

On the volleyball court, she has been a thumper and a destroyer, capable of inflicting grave damage when she elevates and sprays spikes in all directions.

From middle school to high school, JV to varsity, Vondrak excelled in displaying her spiker skills.

But there are a lot of people who have a certain amount of ability, a certain amount of being able to get their limbs to work in the athletic spotlight.

Vondrak soars above the crowd for her joy, for the sheer delight she took in every successful play accomplished by both herself and her teammates.

Few Wolves have celebrated with such unabashed glee, soaking up every high point and marinating in the moment.

Arms waving, feet stomping, smile bouncing off one gym wall to the other (even in a time of Covid masks), Vondrak extracted every bit of fun she could from her time as a spiker.

Celebrating her teammates accomplishments with as much glee as her own.

Time will move on, life will take in her other directions, but when she looks back, Maddie will know she gave everything she had.

She embraced everything about her sport, and I hope she always smiles when she reflects on all she and her teammates accomplished.

Vondrak has been part of some very-successful Wolf volleyball squads, and, as she blossomed as a player, the program reached new heights along with her.

But her impact goes far beyond what she did while chasing the bouncing white ball.

Early in her prep career, Vondrak was injured and unable to play in several matches.

Instead of moping around, she seized the moment, volunteering to assist JV coach Chris Smith with his post-game reports to the press.

“And then I told Coach Smith to relax … I got this!”

Her recaps were pure bursts of joy, as Vondrak went out of her way to say something unique and positive about each of her teammates, from the starters to the bench.

It’s rare for coaches to find a way to praise every player — though some certainly try — but even rarer for someone who is still a teen at the time to be able to step outside themselves and fully appreciate the contributions of their fellow athletes.

Vondrak also showed a talent for photography, snapping pics of her classmates as shown in this article:

Maddie Vondrak has her eye (and camera) on you!! | Coupeville Sports

A lot of people fire up cameras at games, but Vondrak has a rare eye, an ability to capture an intimacy with her subjects which doesn’t always come through with other photographers.

Maddie with big sis Peytin. 

Coupeville got lucky when it didn’t lose Maddie midway through her high school days.

Her father’s Naval career took a detour, with a promotion pulling him away from NAS Whidbey and off to California, but his daughter arranged to stay behind and finish with her CHS classmates.

That meant a Senior Night for volleyball and graduation, a chance to complete her journey alongside the other Class of 2021 students she shared classrooms and gym floors with.

Vondrak came in to high school as a Wolf, and she exited as a Wolf, and, no matter where she goes in life, she will always be a Wolf.

Her intelligence and drive, her joy and kindness, her quiet strength, will carry her far. Of that I have no doubt.

Wherever she goes, and whatever she does, in the years to come, Maddie will leave a huge mark on this world.

And when she does, we will look back at her Coupeville days, nod and smile, and say, “There was never a doubt.”

Inducting her into the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame is an easy decision.

After this, when you stroll past the top of the blog, Vondrak will be up there, hanging out under the Legends tab.

She deserves all the praise, all the recognition, even if she will likely deflect it to those around her.

Maddie is a talented volleyball player, but a better human being.

The former let her make an impact in the relatively small world of Cow Town sports.

The latter means she helps make our universe a happier and healthier place, which matters far more.

You’re an amazing young woman, Miss Vondrak, on your way to even-bigger accomplishments, and that’s something we can all agree on.

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Xavier Murdy was one of 11 Wolves to letter this season. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Cole White joined Jonathan Valenzuela as a JV captain.

The most-successful Coupeville High School boys basketball season in 11 years came to an official close Friday.

Wolf hoops coach Brad Sherman handed out certificates and letters to his players, putting a final stamp on a pandemic-altered campaign.

But first he stopped to honor everyone connected with the team for overcoming long odds during an international pandemic.

“We wanted to recognize every member of this team and all they overcame in a difficult year,” Sherman said. “And acknowledge their hard work in a very, very long off-season, without knowing if they’d get a season at all.”

Basketball was moved from the winter to late spring, and the Wolves played a compressed schedule while dealing with multiple Covid-related restrictions.

But both Wolf squads prospered.

The JV, under first-year head coach Hunter Smith, closed with a five-game winning streak en route to posting a 5-3 record.

Coupeville’s varsity won six of its final seven games, with the only loss a one-point decision in overtime.

Finishing 8-4, just a half-game off Northwest 2B/1B League champ Mount Vernon Christian (8-3) — a team they beat twice — the Wolves captured their first winning season since 2010.

Junior Xavier Murdy, who led the varsity in rebounds, assists, and steals, while finishing as the #2 scorer, was named the “Wolf Way Player of the Year.”

The award honors someone who exemplifies the team’s five pillars of grit, gratitude, humility, trust, and excellence.

Fellow junior Hawthorne Wolfe earned Offensive Player of the Year, while sophomore Alex Murdy claimed Defensive Player of the Year.

Wolfe averaged 21 points a night, rattling the rims for 38 points against both MVC and Orcas Island, while Alex Murdy was viewed by CHS coaches as their “best lockdown defender.”

Rounding out the varsity awards, TJ Rickner copped the Coaches Award, with Daniel Olson and Sage Downes receiving Four-Year awards for playing every season of their prep career.

Grady Rickner and Xavier Murdy were honored as team captains.

On the JV side of things, Cole White won the Wolf Way Player of the Year award, with Jonathan Valenzuela (Offensive Player of the Year), William Davidson (Defensive Player of the Year), and Zane Oldenstadt (Coaches Award) also taking home certificates.

White and Valenzuela were JV team captains.

Sherman and his coaching staff (Hunter Smith, Greg White, and Randy Bottorff) also recognized the people who worked hard behind the scenes to make the season a success.

That included Courtney Pilgrim for “keeping our away books and helping to provide our away game food,” Morgan White for “setting up our team gear store and designing the stuff for us,” and CHS Athletic Director Willie Smith for “all of his hard work to make our season a possibility.”

Also feted was the Coupeville Booster Club, which purchased new warm-up tops for the team.

 

Varsity letter winners:

Miles Davidson
Logan Downes (**Freshman**)
Sage Downes
Logan Martin
Alex Murdy
Xavier Murdy
Daniel Olson
Grady Rickner
TJ Rickner
Cody Roberts
Hawthorne Wolfe

 

Varsity participation certificates:

Jonathan Valenzuela
Cole White

 

JV participation certificates:

Ryan Blouin
Dominic Coffman
William Davidson
Nathan Ginnings
Nick Guay
Zane Oldenstadt
Mikey Robinett
Quinten Simpson-Pilgrim
Jonathan Valenzuela
Alex Wasik
Cole White
Andrew Williams

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