Posts Tagged ‘CHS Wolves’

Chelsea Prescott floats like a butterfly, stings like a bee. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Maddie Vondrak (left) and Scout Smith get pumped-up during pregame introductions.

Hannah Davidson plays Tip War with a feisty rival.

Zoe Trujillo administers a no-fly zone for incoming volleyballs.

Why yes, since you asked, Lucy Sandahl did bring enough candy for everyone.

Ignoring the pain of a black eye, Smith prepares to launch a blistering attack.

Emma Mathusek rolls out, ready to be amazing.

Maya Toomey-Stout warms up her spike-happy hands by gettin’ some love from her teammates.

The action ends, but the photos never do.

The Coupeville High School volleyball season wrapped a few days back, but I continue to work through a backlog of pics.

So, here’s another batch dedicated to a Wolf varsity squad which tied the program’s all-time single-season win record, rolling up 14 victories this fall.

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Denny Zylstra, planning some shenanigans.

Denny Zylstra is one of the true big-timers in the history of Coupeville athletics.

His runs as an athlete, coach, and die-hard supporter have been well-documented, and he has been a member of the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame for some time.

Today, though, thanks to Charlie Burrow, we have a story about a young Denny which I hadn’t previously heard.

One day in the spring of 1958, the Coupeville High School baseball team was returning from a game in Port Townsend aboard the PT-Keystone ferry.

The players were still in uniform because the county stadium where we played in downtown PT didn’t have showers – the team suited up at the Coupeville school, then went by bus to Keystone and walked aboard the ferry.

At that time the PT ferry dock was further north than the current dock and only about a block from the stadium, so CHS saved having to pay the fare for the bus by having the team walk aboard.

Anyway, at some point after we departed PT, someone dared Denny Zylstra (CHS ’58), the team’s leading pitcher, and prankster, to jump off the ferry while it was underway.

He said he’d do it for $35.

So, when enough pledges were raised from players and supporters to meet his price, he began to strip off his uniform preparatory to making the plunge.

But, unfortunately (or, fortunately for Denny) a member of the ferry crew who’d gotten wind of the proceedings intervened and warned us that if he jumped, they’d be calling the sheriff and Denny would be arrested when we arrived at Keystone.

So much for that idea.

PS — Don’t remember who won the ball game.

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John Engstrom (back row, far left) finally enters the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame.

John Engstrom was the small town boy who hit the big time, and made the big time sit up and take notice.

The descendant of one of Whidbey’s pioneer families (his mom was an Engle), he rose from being a three-sport athlete and class valedictorian at Coupeville High School to thriving as one of Seattle’s most-respected newsmen.

Now, the late writer picks up one more honor, as we induct him into the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame.

There are a fair share of former Wolf stars whose names I know, having run across them in my hunt for stats and stories, but whose tales remain largely foreign to me.

Thanks to Charlie Burrow, who nominated Engstrom for induction, I can finally put more of a face to the name.

One down, several hundred to go, and this reminder – if there is a Coupeville athlete from the past you want to see go into our digital Hall o’ Fame, don’t assume I know their full story.

Come forward, let me know. I need your help to fill in the blanks.

With Engstrom, who graduated from CHS in 1959, we have a man who excelled in football, basketball, baseball, and the classroom during his time as a Wolf.

His name popped up during my attempts to track down all the buckets scored by Coupeville hoops stars, as he pumped in points as a junior and senior.

Playing alongside “Big” Mike Criscuola, who may be the true #1 scorer in program history (the records of the time are spotty, at best), Engstrom was Coupeville’s #2 scorer during his senior season.

That was the year the Wolves shocked the pundits by finishing second in the six-team Northwest District tournament.

Reducing to a mere paragraph or two in the pre-tourney breakdown, Coupeville stunned Sultan and Darrington, before narrowly falling to a rampaging La Conner squad in the title game.

It would be 11 years before the Wolves would become the first Whidbey Island boys hoops team to win a district crown (the immortal 69-70 CHS team coached by Bob Barker), but Big Mike, Engstrom, Sandy Roberts, and Co. made believers of all the non-believers.

After graduation from Coupeville, Engstrom attended the University of Washington, where he earned a bachelor of arts degree in elementary education and a masters in education.

Spring-boarding from his time on the school paper, he went on to write for United Press International and have a long career as a sports writer, editor, travel writer, and TV critic for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

He and wife Susan Paynter, a revered P-I columnist, retired in 2009 when the newspaper brought its print edition to a close.

The couple lived on the Oregon coast afterwards, until Engstrom lost a battle with acute myeloid leukemia at age 72 in 2014.

On his passing, his newspaper colleagues hailed him as “a terrific supportive boss, just a wonderful human being.”

“A steadier, more laid-back person you could not find,” said another.

Among Engstrom’s many high points during his journalism career was covering the Seattle SuperSonics during their NBA championship season in 1979.

Whether camping in his fifth wheel trailer while documenting Eastern Washington wheat farmers, or living in Spain during Franco’s reign, the former Wolf was the ultimate journalist, one who impacted all of his co-workers in positive ways.

He was “a gentleman, a lovely man, a favorite colleague,” who was “all class and grace.”

And now, a bit late, but very well-deserved, he joins our lil’ digital Hall of Fame.

After this, when you look up at the top of the blog, go peek under the Legends tab, and you’ll find Engstrom camped out where he’s always belonged.

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Lucy Sandahl leads off a final batch of CHS volleyball portraits. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Jessica Ross-McMahon

Willow Vick

Krimson Rector

Zoe Trujillo

Wolf juniors (l to r) Kylie Chernikoff, Maddie Vondrak, and Chelsea Prescott.

Emma Mathusek

We’ve got time for a little more face time.

While the Coupeville High School volleyball season has come to a close, I still have a handful of portraits which I haven’t run yet on the blog.

So, some light reading for your Friday morning.

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The olden days, when things were rowdier.

Everyone has a story, and this is a good one.

It comes to us from Charlie Burrow, Coupeville High School Class of ’61, and he offers it up for consideration for induction into my Hall o’ Fame.

Boom. Done deal.

And now on to the story:

Here’s a somewhat long winded item I wrote up in May 2007, on the occasion of an all-class reunion held in the old main school building that was built in 1943 and was now scheduled for demolition.

When I was in school in Coupeville (1956-61), the elementary school playfield and high school athletic fields were all part of one large undivided grassy area behind the school.

During the fall, portable bleachers were set up beside the football field, which was laid out in the west part of the area, then, in the spring, they were moved to the baseball diamond, in the southeast corner.

The entire area was used by high school students for physical education (PE) classes and as a playground by elementary school students during lunch and recess breaks.

Supervision was sometimes spotty. For example, I dislocated my wrist while playing in an illegal tackle football game during lunch break while in the 8th grade.

On another occasion, an elementary school student was severely injured when he was struck on the head by a lead shot-put thrown by a member of the high school track and field team.

A funnier incident (to some) occurred one afternoon during my freshman year, when I was out on the field during PE class.

The football coaches, Mr. Boushey and Mr. Olmstead, were in the process of digging holes to accommodate new goal posts for the football field.

But the ground was very hard and they weren’t making much progress.

So, they had obtained some dynamite from somewhere and were using it to blast out the holes.

We all stood around and watched as they cut dynamite sticks in half, then attached a fuse to a blasting cap and inserted it into one of the half-sticks of dynamite.

Then, one of them would place the stick into the hole, light the fuse, and back off to wait for the explosion.

Except, one stick didn’t explode.

So, they waited, and waited, and waited, and finally, one of them (I don’t remember which) carefully approached the hole and was reaching down when, all of a sudden, “BANG!”

Someone (who shall remain nameless – class of ’58, I believe) had set off a firecracker behind him.

I never heard so many swear words come out of one teacher’s mouth in my life!

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