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Posts Tagged ‘CHS Wolves’

With 11 state track meet medals to his credit, Tyler King is still tops in Wolf Nation. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Two medals were twice as nice in 2013 for Madison Tisa McPhee. (Photo courtesy Mad Dawg Productions)

The Hack siblings did it first, the King boys did it the most.

Going through track and field state meet records, I’ve found 71 Coupeville High School athletes who have brought home a medal from the big dance in the modern era.

That’s 1974-2019 for girls, and 1963-2019 for boys, if you’re wondering, which is as far back as http://new.washingtontrack.com/wordpress/ goes.

During that time period, the number of medals handed out in each event has grown from four to its current eight, while the awards themselves have remained the ultimate symbol of excellence.

For Coupeville, the first to grab one was Kevin Hack, who stormed from behind to claim 3rd in the 880 – an event which doesn’t exist anymore.

But while that moment was a beginning for CHS track, it was also an end for the young man who accomplished the individual feat by surging from 5th to 3rd.

“Passed them both in one more step,” Hack said. “Never ran after that; went to work full time in Alaska, November ’73, and haven’t stopped yet!”

A year after his race, Hack’s sister, Joy, finished 3rd in the long jump, and the medal race was on for the Wolves.

Some fast facts:

Most state titles in a career – five, by Kyle King, with four individual wins and a relay title.

While Natasha Bamberger also has five titles, all in individual events, one of hers came in cross country.

Most state titles in one season – three, by Jon Chittim, who stood atop the podium in the 200, 400, and 4 x 400 in 2006.

Chittim and Jacob Smith are the only Wolves to win four medals at the same meet.

Most medals in a career – 11, by Tyler King, which included two state titles (he won a third in cross country) and five second-place finishes, including three at one meet.

Most members of the same family with a medal – three.

That honor falls to the Kings (Brianne, Kyle, Tyler), the Toomey-Stouts (Cameron, Maya, Sean), and the Hoskins (Jai’Lysa, Ja’Tarya, Ja’Kenya).

The Hacks join the Kings and Toomey-Stouts as the only families to have brothers and sisters medal, while four other CHS families offer unique connections.

The Beplers (Mark and Ariah) are the only father/son combo to medal.

The Roberts (Jay and Lindsey) are the only uncle/niece duo, while the Fords (Tony and Jordan) rep the uncle/nephew connection.

And the Wilsons (Rich and Yashmeen (née Knox) are the only Wolf track medalists to have married another medalist.

So far.

Coupeville’s most successful events? The 3200 and 1600, which have produced 11 of Coupeville’s 17 state track titles.

The breakdown:

3200 – eight titles/four different champs
1600 – three titles/three different champs
200 – two titles/two different champs
400 – two titles /two different champs
800 – one title
4 x 400 Relay – one title

All told, nine Wolves have ruled the state:

Kyle King (5)
Natasha Bamberger
(4) *also has XC title*
Jon Chittim
(3)
Danny Conlisk
(2)
Tyler King
(2) *also has XC title*
Jeff Fielding
(1)
Chris Hutchinson
(1)
Steven McDonald
(1)
Amy Mouw
(1)

As you may have noticed, all of Coupeville’s state titles have come in running events, as the Wolves have yet to claim a field title, either in a throwing or jumping category.

They’ve come close, with Dalton Martin notching three throwing medals during the 2016 meet, including finishing 2nd in the discus behind a guy who shattered the state record for all classifications.

Pete Rosenkranz finished 2nd in the shot put in back-to-back seasons in the ’80s, while Kyra Ilyankoff (javelin), Jennie Cross (discus), and Ed Cook (Pole Vault) were also state runner-ups in field events.

Where CHS stands in the medal count:

100 – (11 medals)
200 – (10)
400 – (10)
800 – (6)
880 – (1)
1600 – (15)
3200 – (15)
100 Hurdles – (6)
110 Hurdles – (3)
300 Hurdles – (1)
4 x 100 Relay – (7)
4 x 200 Relay – (5)
4 x 400 Relay – (3)
Shot Put – (8)
Discus – (8)
Javelin – (7)
High Jump – (8)
Pole Vault – (2)
Long Jump – (6)
Triple Jump – (3)

One last positive note – the Wolves are currently on a 15-year streak, having claimed at least one medal every year since 2005.

That trounces their previous best of nine years, set between 1983-1991.

The full run, broken down by year:

 

1973:

Kevin Hack – 880 – 3rd – 2:00.3

 

1974:

Joy Hack – Long Jump – 3rd – 16-09

 

1977:

Jeff Fielding – 3200 – 5th – 9:53.5
Bob McClement – 1600 – 3rd – 4:30

 

1978:

Fielding – 1600 – 5th – 4:31.7

 

1979:

Fielding – 1600 – 2nd – 4:32.5
Fielding – 3200 – STATE CHAMP – 9:47.5

 

1981:

Larry Howard – Long Jump – 5th – 20-6.75

 

1983:

Natasha Bamberger – 3200 – 3rd – 11:23.2

 

1984:

Bamberger – 1600 – STATE CHAMP – 5:13.7
Bamberger – 3200 – STATE CHAMP – 11:24.6
Jana Engle – Shot Put – 5th – 32-09
Judy Marti – High Jump – 6th – 4-06
Pete Rosenkranz – Shot Put – 3rd – 43-10

 

1985:

Bamberger – 3200 – STATE CHAMP – 11:44.5
Rosenkranz – Shot Put – 2nd – 46-04

 

1986:

Bamberger – 1600 – 2nd – 5:18.7
Bamberger – 3200 – STATE CHAMP – 11:42.6
Mark Bepler – Discus – 4th – 139-04
Bill Carstensen – 100 – 4th – 11.2
Carstensen – 200 – 6th – 23.9
Chad Gale – 110 Hurdles – 2nd – 15.9
Rosenkranz – Shot Put – 2nd – 50-03
4 x 100 Relay – Carstensen, Tony Killgo, Jay Roberts, Rick Alexander – 3rd – 44.7

 

1987:

Tina Barker – 800 – 4th – 2:24.7
Carstensen – 100 – 4th – 11.2
Gale – 110 Hurdles – 3rd – 15.3
4 x 100 Relay – Gale, Carstensen, Alan Weddell, J. Roberts – 4th – 44.9

 

1988:

Gale – 110 Hurdles – 3rd – 15.1
Gale – Long Jump – 3rd – 21-02.25
Gale – Triple Jump – 6th – 40-06
Joe Tessaro – Discus – 6th – 139-11

 

1989:

Sally Biskovich – High Jump – 4th – 5-00
Ed Cook – 300 Hurdles – 6th – 42.4
Cook – Pole Vault – 2nd – 11-06
Jennie Cross – Discus – 6th – 111-04
4 x 100 Relay – Tony Ford, Devin Hopkins, Brandy Ambrose, Cook – 5th – 46.1

 

1990:

Cross – Discus – 2nd – 120-02

 

1991:

Todd Smith – Shot Put – 6th – 45-08

 

1993:

Kit Manzanares – 100 – 8th – 11.7
Manzanares – Long Jump – 8th – 20-04

 

1997:

Allyson Barker – Triple Jump – 8th – 34-11.25

 

1998:

Yashmeen Knox – Javelin – 8th – 99-00

 

1999:

Knox – Javelin – 4th – 100-03
Knox – High Jump – 6th – 4-10
Jess Roundy – 100 Hurdles – 6th – 16.82

 

2000:

Joe Donnellon – 1600 – 2nd – 4:31.22
Donnellon – 3200 – 2nd – 10:01.24
Matt Frost – 800 – 8th – 2:11.64
Brianne King – 1600 – 6th – 5:59.47
Rich Wilson – High Jump – 4th – 6-02

 

2001:

Knox – 100 – 7th – 13.77
Knox – High Jump – 4th – 5-00

 

2002:

Amy Mouw – 800 – 2nd – 2:22.76

 

2003:

Mouw – 400 – 8th – 1:02.67
Mouw – 800 – STATE CHAMP – 2:21.54

 

2005:

Jon Chittim – 400 – 2nd – 50.77
Corinne Gaddis – Long Jump – 8th – 15-08.25
Janiece Jenkins – 100 – 5th – 13.35
Jenkins – 200 – 8th – 28.20
Kyle King – 1600 – 6th – 4:36.30
K. King – 3200 – 5th – 10:01.61
Andrew Moon – 100 – 3rd – 11.72
Moon – 200 – 5th – 23.38
4 x 100 Relay – Gaddis, Jenkins, Alicia Heinen, Kim Kisch – 6th – 52.55

 

2006:

Chittim – 100 – 7th – 11.8
Chittim – 200 – STATE CHAMP – 23.02
Chittim – 400 – STATE CHAMP – 49.93
K. King – 1600 – 2nd – 4:24.89
K. King – 3200 – STATE CHAMP – 9:36.6
Brian Miller – High Jump – 3rd – 6-00
4 x 400 Relay — Chris Hutchinson, Chittim, K. King, Steven McDonald – STATE CHAMP – 3:28.11

 

2007:

K. King – 1600 – STATE CHAMP – 4:21.51
K. King – 3200 – STATE CHAMP – 9:42.04

 

2008:

Erin Hickey – Discus – 5th – 102-06
Kyra Ilyankoff – Javelin – 2nd – 127-03
K. King – 1600 – 2nd – 4:23.10
K. King – 3200 – STATE CHAMP – 9:43.24
Tyler King – 1600 – 8th – 4:32
T. King – 3200 – 6th – 10:05
Miller – High Jump – 6th – 5-10
Miller – Javelin – 5th – 172-06
4 x 400 Relay – McDonald, T. King, K. King, Miller – 4th – 3:33.18

 

2009:

Ilyankoff – Javelin – 3rd – 122-04
T. King – 1600 – 4th – 4:26.45
T. King – 3200 – 2nd – 9:52

 

2010:

Hunter Hammer – Shot Put – 8th – 47-08
T. King – 800 – 2nd – 1:59.05
T. King – 1600 – STATE CHAMP – 4:24.34
T. King – 3200 – STATE CHAMP – 9:46.92

 

2011:

Hammer – Shot Put – 6th – 50-05
Hammer – Discus – 8th – 150-02
Ilyankoff – Javelin – 4th -128-04
T. King – 800 – 2nd – 1:57.14
T. King – 1600 – 2nd – 4:19.98
T. King – 3200 – 2nd – 9:38.42
Madison Tisa McPhee – 100 Hurdles – 8th – 16.64

 

2012:

Mitch Pelroy – 200 – 8th – 23.34

 

2013:

Tisa McPhee – 100 Hurdles – 3rd – 16.23
4 x 200 Relay – Tisa McPhee, Jai’Lysa Hoskins, Sylvia Hurlburt, Makana Stone – 5th – 1:47.65

 

2014:

Stone – 400 – 2nd – 58.65

 

2015:

Dalton Martin – Discus – 5th – 147-00
Stone – 400 – 4th – 59.01
4 x 200 Relay – Lauren Grove, Marisa Etzell, Hurlburt, Stone – 3rd – 1:47.13

 

2016:

Jordan Ford – Pole Vault – 8th – 12-06
Martin – Shot Put – 8th – 23-06
Martin – Discus – 2nd – 160-06
Martin – Javelin – 8th – 149-03
Lindsey Roberts – 100 Hurdles – 4th – 16.39
Jacob Smith – 200 – 4th – 23.06
Stone – 400 – 2nd – 58.74
4 x 100 Relay – Grove, L. Roberts, Stone, Hurlburt – 6th – 50.98
4 x 200 Relay – Grove, L. Roberts, Hurlburt, Stone – 3rd – 1:46.42

 

2017:

Mitchell Carroll – Triple Jump – 5th – 43.11.75
Danny Conlisk – 400 – 5th – 50.59
Smith – 200 – 3rd – 22.41
4 x 200 Relay – L. Roberts, Grove, Mallory Kortuem, Maya Toomey-Stout – 5th – 1:46.58

 

2018:

Ariah Bepler – High Jump – 5th – 6-02
Conlisk – 400 – 2nd – 49.70
Cassidy Moody – Long Jump – 8th – 16-02.75
L. Roberts – 100 Hurdles – 2nd – 15.38
Smith – 100 – 2nd – 11.64
Smith – 200 – 2nd – 22.75
4 x 100 Relay – Cameron Toomey-Stout, Smith, Sean Toomey-Stout, Jean Lund-Olsen – 7th – 45.16
4 x 400 Relay – Smith, Henry Wynn, S. Toomey-Stout, Conlisk – 5th – 3:31.00

 

2019:

Conlisk – 100 – 2nd – 11.25
Conlisk – 200 – STATE CHAMP – 21.99
Conlisk – 400 – STATE CHAMP – 49.14
Kortuem – 400 – 2nd – 58.02
Lund-Olsen – 100 – 4th – 11.37
Lund-Olsen – 200 – 7th – 22.82
L. Roberts – 100 Hurdles – 3rd – 15.38
4 x 100 Relay – M. Toomey-Stout, Ja’Tarya Hoskins, Kortuem, L. Roberts – 5th – 50.54
4 x 200 Relay – L. Roberts, Ja’Kenya Hoskins, Kortuem, M. Toomey-Stout – 3rd – 1:46.61

 

And the all-time individual state medal standings:

Tyler King (11) – Two state titles, five 2nd, two 4th, one 6th, one 8th
Kyle King (10) – Five state titles, two 2nd, one 4th, one 5th, one 6th
Lindsey Roberts (8) – One 2nd, three 3rd, one 4th, two 5th, one 6th
Makana Stone (7) – Two 2nd, two 3rd, one 4th, one 5th, one 6th
Natasha Bamberger (6) – Four state titles, one 2nd, one 3rd
Danny Conlisk (6) – Two state titles, two 2nd, two 5th
Chad Gale (6) – One 2nd, three 3rd, one 4th, one 6th
Jacob Smith (6) – Two 2nd, one 3rd, one 4th, one 5th, one 7th
Bill Carstensen (5) – One 3rd, three 4th, one 6th
Jon Chittim (5) – Three state titles, one 2nd, one 7th
Yashmeen Knox (5) – One 4th, one 6th, two 7th, one 8th
Jeff Fielding (4) – One state title, one 2nd, two 5th
Lauren Grove (4) – Two 3rd, one 5th, one 6th
Sylvia Hurlburt (4) – Two 3rd, one 5th, one 6th
Mallory Kortuem (4) — One 2nd, one 3rd, two 5th **ACTIVE**
Dalton Martin (4) – One 2nd, one 5th, two 8th
Brian Miller (4) – One 3rd, one 4th, one 5th, one 6th
Ed Cook (3) – One 2nd, one 5th, one 6th
Hunter Hammer (3) – One 6th, two 8th
Kyra Ilyankoff (3) – One 2nd, one 3rd, one 4th
Janiece Jenkins (3) – One 5th, one 6th, one 8th
Jean Lund-Olsen (3) – One 4th, two 7th **ACTIVE**
Amy Mouw (3) – One state title, one 2nd, one 8th
Pete Rosenkranz (3) – Two 2nd, one 3rd
Madison Tisa McPhee (3) – One 3rd, one 5th, one 8th
Maya Toomey-Stout (3) – One 3rd, two 5th *ACTIVE*
Jennie Cross (2) – One 2nd, one 6th
Joe Donnellon (2) – Two 2nd
Corrine Gaddis (2) – One 6th, one 8th
Kit Manzanares (2) – Two 8th
Steven McDonald (2) – One state title, one 4th
Andrew Moon (2) – One 3rd, one 5th
Jay Roberts (2) – One 3rd, one 4th
Sean Toomey-Stout (2) – One 5th, one 7th *ACTIVE*
Rick Alexander (1) – One 3rd
Brandy Ambrose (1) – One 5th
Allyson Barker (1) – One 8th
Tina Barker (1) – One 4th
Ariah Bepler (1) – One 5th
Mark Bepler (1) – One 4th
Sally Biskovich (1) – One 4th
Mitchell Carroll (1) – One 5th
Jana Engle (1) – One 5th
Marisa Etzell (1) – One 3rd
Jordan Ford (1) – One 8th
Tony Ford (1) – One 5th
Matt Frost (1) – One 8th
Joy Hack (1) – One 3rd
Kevin Hack (1) – One 3rd
Alicia Heinen (1) – One 6th
Erin Hickey (1) – One 5th
Devin Hopkins (1) – One 5th
Jai’Lysa Hoskins (1) – One 5th
Ja’Kenya Hoskins (1) – One 3rd *ACTIVE*
Ja’Tarya Hoskins (1) – One 5th *ACTIVE*
Larry Howard (1) – One 5th
Chris Hutchinson (1) – One state title
Tony Killgo (1) – One 3rd
Brianne King (1) – One 6th
Kim Kisch (1) – One 6th
Judy Marti (1) – One 6th
Bob McClement (1) – One 3rd
Cassidy Moody (1) – One 8th
Mitch Pelroy (1) – One 8th
Jess Roundy (1) – One 6th
Todd Smith (1) – One 6th
Joe Tessaro (1) – One 6th
Cameron Toomey-Stout (1) – One 7th
Alan Wedell (1) – One 4th
Rich Wilson (1) – One 4th
Henry Wynn (1) – One 5th

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Foster Faris, one of the best athletes in CHS history, and also a tough son of a gun.

Kids were just tougher in the ’70s.

Or, parents, coaches, and doctors weren’t as sensitive.

One of the two, but I’m going with a lot of the first, and a little of the second.

Case in point, Foster Faris, universally hailed as one of the best athletes to ever suit up for Coupeville High School.

I was leafing through old Whidbey News-Times clippings today when I stumbled across a story from June 16, 1977.

The piece hailed Faris for being named the 76-77 CHS Athlete of the Year, an honor he earned after playing football, basketball, and baseball.

During his days on the gridiron, he played quarterback, split end, cornerback, punter, and placekicker.

In basketball, Faris pumped in 668 points, and still stands as the 21st highest scorer after 102 seasons of Wolf boys hoops.

He was #10 when he graduated, long before the three-point line arrived.

And while Faris scored oodles of buckets, he also led the Wolves in assists and steals as a senior.

That season, Coupeville fell just short of state — denied by a two-point loss to Bellevue Christian — robbing Faris of a third-straight trip to the big dance.

Once spring sprung, the guy hailed as “Mr. Everything” hit .406 for the Wolf baseball squad, stole 32 bases, picked up 17 RBI’s and scored 35 runs as CHS romped to a fourth-straight league title.

The ’70s were a decade of excellence for Coupeville, probably the best run male athletes have ever had in Cow Town.

And Faris was as good an athlete as Wolf fans have ever witnessed.

But the point of this story, today, is to highlight two paragraphs from that ’77 story.

Paragraphs which caught my attention, paragraphs which will never be written in a modern-day story.

Here they are:

Although only 135 pounds (127 during football season), Faris has proved to be quite durable, with his only serious injuries coming during football season.

A broken finger, two brain concussions and a sprained ankle, all incurred while playing cornerback on defense, have never caused Faris to miss more than part of a game.

Gol-dang!

Now, I know what you’re going to say. Modern medicine is making people safer, yadda yadda yadda.

Stow it.

It was 1977, a time when a six-year-old me would ride around town (and on the freeway) sitting on the engine block of my dad’s work van.

Which meant every time my dad’s foot jammed through the brake pad, my head bounced off the wind-shield and then I flew into the back of the van, where all his jagged carpet cleaning tools and giant pump bottles of weird chemicals were waiting to break my fall.

I was six, Foster Faris was 17, and we were just tougher than these whippersnappers today. End of story.

Now get off my lawn!

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Bree Daigneault being Bree Daigneault. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Daigneault prepares to launch a serve.

Some quality time with lil’ sis Noelle.

Bree Daigneault will save the world some day.

She’s that smart, that committed, that kind and caring, that environmentally-conscious, that much of a superhero disguised as a college student.

Two years after she graduated from Coupeville High School, Daigneault is off in the world, doing her best to light a fire under the rest of us, but in a really polite, friendly way.

During her days at CHS, when I used to watch her play soccer and tennis for the Wolves, it often amazed me how chipper she could be, win or loss.

Whether she demolished a foe on the tennis court, or went down after putting up a ferocious fight, when Daigneault departed the scene of the battle, something unusual always happened.

The other young woman playing against her, often a rival she had never met before that day, would walk off the court practically floating on air.

Even when they had just spent two hours trying, and failing, to stop Daigneault from cruising to a victory.

It’s because the player rockin’ the red and black, in between whipping forehands and crushing overheads, always dispensed a constant flow of friendly banter.

Daigneault showered her opponents with compliments, and not a single one ever seemed false or calculated.

That just was, and is, her personality. Open, friendly, receptive to all, and back to the two words which I think probably describe Bree better than any others – kind and caring.

That’s ingrained in her nature, so she complimented her opponent on their shot-making ability (even when she had just short-circuited it), their style, their fashion sense, and their intelligence.

There was one moment, when she faced off with Chimacum’s Renee Woods, sort of the off-Island mirror image of Daigneault, and the universe almost folded in on itself as Compliment Bowl went nuclear.

I don’t remember who won the match, but I do remember it felt so perfect, yet so alien, from my own days smacking tennis balls back at Tumwater High School.

In the late ’80s, the T-Birds tried to paste our own teammates with well-placed shots as much as possible, leaving precious little time to even think about complimenting players from Aberdeen or Olympia.

Probably why none of us went on to cure cancer or solve the world’s environmental problems…

But Daigneault is part of a different generation, and she was always at the forefront of things during her CHS days.

She was a regular presence on the theatrical stage, adept at drama and comedy in equal measure, was a student body rep to the School Board, and finished in the top 10 graduates for the Class of ’17.

Along the way, Bree found time to run the soccer pitch and slide across the tennis court, and did both as a polished varsity vet.

While she might not hold any school records, she was a vital part of both programs, both for her skills and her temperament.

Daigneault could launch shots into the back of the soccer goal, or zing winners down the line before a rival could reverse course and get to the tennis ball.

But, ultimately, she’ll be remembered by sports fans for many of the same reasons she’ll be remembered by theater addicts and education nuts.

Bree is, has been, and will likely always be, one of those truly amazing people who makes everyone else’s lives a little better by gracing the world we share.

Highly-intelligent, graceful, funny, a strong young woman with deep convictions and a burning desire to help others, whether by complimenting them or working to improve their lives, she is a rare one.

Daigneault has pulled in her share of honors, and that won’t stop anytime soon.

Today, we swing open the doors of the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame and induct her into our lil’ on-line community.

She goes in for her athletic ability across multiple sports, but also for the way she played her games – with fire, with passion, and with deep love and respect for her teammates, coaches, and opponents.

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

In the grand scheme of things, this sports induction will probably be a minor honor for a young woman who will likely win all the real-world honors.

I said all of them!

She’s gonna do big things, change lives for the better.

You can take that to Vegas, bet the mortgage on it, and go to sleep with a smile on your face cause that’s as close to a sure thing as we have.

However her coming years play out, I hope that Bree, occasionally, will look back on her time in a Wolf uniform and smile.

I hope she’s as proud of herself as we all are of her.

And that she realizes with a word here, an action there, she made others smile, made them want to be better, made them want to treat others with as much kindness and care.

If people were paintings, Bree Daigneault would be a masterpiece, treasured and priceless.

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Kyle Rockwell sails in and snags a rebound during his days as a three-sport athlete at Coupeville High School. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Rockwell, seen here with Wolf baseball coach Chris Smith, joins older sister Maria as a member of the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame.

Kyle Rockwell had a senior season for the ages.

Before he graduated back in 2018, the one-time Wolf achieved a rare trifecta, pulling off the signature play of his team’s season, and doing it not once, not twice, but three times.

When you look back at Coupeville High School male athletics during the 2017-2018 season, the school’s final in the Olympic League, it would be hard to argue anyone made more of an impact than Rockwell did.

Now, I’m not saying Kyle was the best athlete in a CHS uniform. That was Hunter Smith, absolutely.

But Rockwell was a superb complementary player, the kind of durable, high-achieving support crew you need, and want.

And, given the chance, he stepped up three times, once each in the fall, winter, and spring, and made a play which will linger for a long time in the minds of Wolf fans.

For that, for overcoming every obstacle which has come his way, and for being the dude everyone cheered for thanks to his eternally positive attitude and easy-going nature, we’re rewarding him.

Mr. Rockwell joins his older sister, softball supernova Maria, in the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame, and, after this, will be found at the top of the blog under the Legends tab.

Part of this honor stems from Kyle’s resiliency, as he has been blind in one eye since childhood, yet never let that slow his roll.

Rockwell has been an athlete since day one, though it took awhile for his parents, understandably, to let him enter certain arenas.

He finally got the OK to play football as a senior, and it was there he made his first big-time play.

All season long he was a … rock … on the line, but in the home finale, he grabbed the spotlight, reflected it up at himself, and sang a few bars of My Way.

Ripping through would-be blockers like a (very large) knife slicin’ ‘n dicin’ walking, talking, non-blocking pats of butter, Rockwell destroyed a rival running back as he tried to come around the edge.

Shoulder met stomach, ball flipped free.

Then, staying as calm and cool as you can after you’ve just knocked a fool out of his cleats, the guy in the Wolf uniform lunged forward and scooped the now-free football into his chest before half of the other team landed on his head.

It was a beautiful play, full of precision and fury, and yet just the start for Rockwell during his year of glory and achievement.

Skip forward to basketball season, and Coupeville pulls off the biggest upset of the season, again in the home finale.

Facing first-place Klahowya, Rockwell and Co. pull off a 59-54 thriller on Senior Night that reignites memories of former Wolf basketball glory.

Hunter Smith goes off for a career-high 35 to spark CHS, but it’s Rockwell with the clincher.

Caught in a traffic jam in the paint, surrounded by three KSS players, he flexes his biceps to create a shock wave, then rips the ball free from an Eagle, spins and powers back up for the game-clinching layup.

The Klahowya players, sprawled on the court, can do little more than bow their heads to their conqueror, as Smith, Joey Lippo, Hunter Downes, and Cameron Toomey-Stout come charging in to group hug all the air out of Rockwell’s body.

And yet, there’s more.

Spring brings with it baseball, Rockwell’s longest-running sport, and our urban legend caps his prep career with one more play, his best yet.

Coupeville, trying to win its second league crown in three seasons, spends much of the campaign in a stare-down with Chimacum.

The Cowboys win the opener of the team’s three-game season series, taking advantage of a ridiculously muddy field on the mainland.

But the Wolves hold strong, and given a rematch on the prairie, they come up with a 1-0 victory which all but clinches the title.

Rockwell, who normally operates at first base, is lurking in right field when destiny comes calling, and I’ll direct you to the game story from that day, which captures his insane, game-clinching throw in all its Spielbergian glory.

You can find it at https://coupevillesports.com/2018/04/23/magic-on-the-prairie/.

And, just to prove it wasn’t a one-time thing, Rockwell came back later in the week, playing in the third game of the Chimacum series, and laid down the RBI bunt which provided the only run Coupeville needed to win again, and make everything official.

Cause that’s what you do when you’re the author of “I Rock: The Kyle Rockwell Story.”

Which is now, and forever, the autobiography of a certified Hall o’ Famer.

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Sarah Wright, softball terminator. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Get you someone who looks at you the way Wright looks at confetti.

The Wright Express comes in hot.

“You’re running … ON ME???? Oh, you foolish child!”

A prairie legend forever.

Sarah Wright is a tornado of fun.

She blows through, rips up the joint, throws the furniture up on the roof, but leaves everyone smiling afterwards.

As I have covered her exploits through the years, from youth sports, to middle school, and then on through four fast n’ furious years of high school, she was as entertaining an athlete as any I’ve ever seen.

Talented? Without a doubt.

But with Sarah, it was always about how much fun she was having out there, whether it be a pressure-packed game at the state tournament, or a random practice on a Tuesday afternoon in the middle of the season.

She worked her tail off, fought for success, screamed her lungs out, and got every last scrap of enjoyment she could from her sports.

Volleyball to soccer, basketball to her truest love of them all, softball, Wright never lost the joy little league athletes have, even when she was finally old enough to work as their hitting coach.

Whether she was threatening to eat worms while watching her JV teammates play, laughing until she could barely stand, or feeding seagulls in the parking lot in between state playoff games, running and giggling as the birds pecked at her sandwich, Sarah was, and is, pure giddy joy.

Not that she couldn’t be deadly serious, mind you.

Wright sacrificed her body, time and again, and when it was time to compete, she wanted to win as badly as she wanted to enjoy life in her down time.

As a softball catcher, she bore the brunt of long hours hunched down in the dirt.

Her hands stinging from knocking down wayward balls, her body sore from standing tall and taking the brunt of the explosion when rival players were dumb enough to try and knock her down during plays at the plate.

During her travel ball tournaments, or during Coupeville’s playoff runs, you would see Sarah walk away, looking like a (sometimes very tired) warrior.

Eye black on, smeared by sweat and dirt, her uniform streaked in dust, her mitt in one hand, her mask in the other, she resembled a gladiator coming back from the pits and you knew she left a trail of bodies behind her.

And then, two steps later, she’d suddenly start laughing, and by the time she reached the dugout she was singing in a voice which carried across the field.

I watched Sarah win big games during her career, and take some tough losses, but, in the end, whether her heart was soaring or breaking, she was happy to be in that uniform, to have that mitt and mask, to just play.

She was a solid volleyball player, a take-charge soccer goalie, a pounder in the paint on the basketball court, but she was at home on the softball diamond.

She loved it, and it loved her back.

Knowing Sarah gets to play college softball, even if it will be far away from Coupeville, makes me happy.

It means she gets to keep cracking tape-measure home runs.

Or bashing doubles that she turns into triples, legs pounding as she comes crashing into third-base in a giant cloud of dust, followed by her looking up at CHS coach Kevin McGranahan with a huge grin and saying “I told you I’d make it … Keeeeevvvvviiiiinnn.”

She’ll be zinging throws from behind the plate, sprawled out, firing off the wrong leg and, somehow, still nailing straying runners.

“Another notch on the ol’ gun belt there, Kevin, my boy!”

Sarah stepped onto the CHS softball field and was a starter at the hardest position from day one of her freshman season.

The only thing which kept her waiting that long was the silly Washington state high school rule book, which prevented her from playing varsity high school ball during her middle school days.

Swap rule books with a state like Kentucky and she would have been making rival high school coaches rip out their hair back when she was 12.

Through it all, as Wright came within a play or two of making it to state as a sophomore and junior, then got over the hump as a senior, she was a bonafide leader.

Vocal, the very definition of loud ‘n proud, whether in the dugout, face first in the prairie dust, or running through the parking lot as the Seagull Queen, she will never truly be replaced.

Yes, someone else will be behind the plate next season, and in the years to come.

Hopefully they will have strong careers, and, hopefully, they will enjoy their days on the diamond as much as Sarah did hers.

But you don’t truly replace the legends.

Whether it’s Hailey Hammer, or Breeanna Messner, or Wright, after they’re gone, you can close your eyes the next time you’re in the stands at the CHS diamond, and you will see them still out there playing.

For now, she leaves her field, her town, but she’s not truly going anywhere, because our memories of her will last.

There was never really a doubt Sarah would one day be walking (actually, sprinting while giggling and throwing sandwich bits in the air) into the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame.

I knew it when I watched her play in middle school and little league, and nothing changed my mind as she traveled her journey.

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

And, you’ll find her in the memories of Wolf fans.

Long after her last high school award, her final banquet, the last time she took off a Wolf uniform she wore with genuine pride and joy, Sarah will still be out there, gunnin’ and grinnin’ as the sun sets across the prairie.

Covered in dirt from head to toe, tackling her teammates in joy, standing on the dugout bench, batting helmet jammed backwards on her head, screaming “GET OFF HER, BALL!!!,” having the time of her life.

There is only one Sarah Wright, and we were very lucky to have her.

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