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Coupeville Middle School track and cross country coach Elizabeth Bitting leads by example. (Photos courtesy Bitting)

Bitting flies across the course during her high school days in California.

   Mt. San Antonio College and team captain Bitting (second from right, back row) celebrate the school’s first cross country state title.

This is a dream come true for Elizabeth Bitting.

After spending the last four years as the track and field coach at Coupeville Middle School, the dedicated life-long runner will be at the forefront of the Wolves returning to cross country.

A team captain on a state title-winning harrier team in her college days, Bitting brings a lifetime of experience with her after being named as the new CMS cross country coach.

She’ll team with new CHS coach and local running legend Natasha Bamberger, who returns to the school where she won a cross country state title and four track state titles in the ’80s.

The duo are in charge of resurrecting cross country programs which have lain largely dormant for two decades.

While individual Wolf runners have trained and traveled with first Oak Harbor, then South Whidbey, in recent years, CHS and CMS have not had in-school cross country programs of their own in a long time.

“I started coaching middle school track and field four years ago and to be completely honest this has always been my hope, that cross country would make a comeback,” Bitting said. “There are so many positives in bringing cross country back.

“For middle school, not everybody is a football player or volleyball player,” she added. “This gives our student athletes another choice.”

Cross country mixes aspects of team and individual performance, and, like track, is often about rising up to better your own best.

“Running helps to promote good health and an active lifestyle,” Bitting said. “We train as a team, race as a team, however it could feel like an individual sport.

“The athletes biggest competitor will be themselves and their previous times,” she added. “They will work hard, push themselves harder and hopefully carry this over into their academics and personal life.”

Support for the new program is especially strong at the middle school level, where Bitting has already seen 12 athletes express interest in running this fall. That number could grow before practice begins Aug. 22.

“The reaction at the middle school level has been great!,” she said. “It is due to the students that this is even happening.

“If it wasn’t for their interest I would still be waiting for the day that cross country makes a comeback.”

Bitting’s own trail running days began when she was a middle-school athlete in Southern California, then continued through her days at Walnut High School and Mt. San Antonio College.

Her high school teams won multiple league titles, then the young harrier made a major jump when she moved into college running.

Mt. SAC had the second-hardest cross country course in the U.S. at the time, which toughened the Mounties as they trained.

That paid off when a squad led by Bitting, who was team captain, won the 1988 California State Community College Championships.

The win kicked off a run of four titles in five years, and the school’s female harriers have now piled up nine first-place finishes, with the most-recent in 2017.

Her success on the trail fueled Bitting, and she has continued to embrace the sport throughout the years.

“My love of running has not subsided and I continue to run to this day,” she said. “Nowadays you’ll find me out in the trails.”

Along with her tenure as CMS track coach, Bitting has been a driving force behind the growth of running in Central Whidbey.

She helped bring the half marathon back to Coupeville with Dash for the Bash (later renamed Race the Reserve), which raises money for the senior class at CHS.

Toss in numerous 5K runs, and if someone is competing, Bitting is usually involved, either behind the scenes or out running herself.

While she thoroughly enjoys her own time on the trails, the Wolf coach draws great joy from helping young runners achieve their goals and hopefully launch their own life-long love of running.

“It makes me so happy seeing our middle school athletes move on to high school and continue their participation in track and field,” Bitting said. “I am hoping to do the same for cross country.”

As she works with Bamberger to kick-start the Wolf program, she has high hopes.

“I have multiple goals for the program,” Bitting said. “For the athletes, I want to see them enjoy, embrace, do well, and have fun during the season.

“I would also like to see them continue with cross country in high school, college and beyond,” she added. “For the program, I want to see it flourish. I’d like to see it be around for decades to come.”

If having a committed, enthusiastic coach at the helm is a key to success, and it usually is, the CMS harriers have hit the jackpot.

“I feel privileged to have been given this opportunity to coach the middle school athletes,” Bitting said. “I hope my knowledge and enthusiasm helps the athletes to enjoy the sport as much as I do.”

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Coupeville Athletic Director Willie Smith giggles as he pulls off yet another schedule change. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

The countdown has begun.

Yes, we’re still knee-deep in summer, which you can tell by the frequent rain storms. But, out there on the horizon, you can see the faintest rumors of the approaching fall sports season.

The first game — a non-conference road football clash Aug. 31 with Port Townsend — is 59 days away.

After that comes the first league battle (boys tennis Sept. 5) and the first home games (volleyball and girls soccer Sept. 6).

The new school year will bring a new league, as Coupeville has bolted from the 1A Olympic League after four years to get in on the ground floor of the new 1A North Sound Conference.

That means Klahowya is long gone, while Chimacum and Port Townsend remain only as the occasional non-conference entry on the schedule.

CHS will square off with South Whidbey, King’s, Cedar Park Christian-Bothell, Sultan and Granite Falls in the new league, though boys tennis will face a slightly different road than their fellow athletes.

The Wolf netters, along with South Whidbey, the only other North Sound Conference school to play boys tennis, will compete in the Emerald City League.

That pits the two Island schools against private school powerhouses like two-time defending state champs University Prep.

The league change also affects Coupeville’s middle school teams, as they get away from ginormous Stevens and Sequim, which fed 2A high schools, as well as leaving Forks, Chimacum and Blue Heron behind.

Sultan, Granite Falls, King’s and Langley form the core of the new foes, with Northshore Christian Academy also in the mix for some sports.

With some trepidation, I offer the schedules below, which cover five high school and three middle school programs.

While I’d like to believe these are the final, set-in-stone, schedules, I know that’s wishful thinking.

So, as we move forward, keep an eye on both the school and league sites, because things can, and will, change.

School calendarhttp://coupeville.tandem.co/

League web site — http://www.nscathletics.com/index.php?pid=0.60.0.0.200

 

High School (* = league game):

 

BOYS TENNIS (Varsity & JV):

Sept. 5 – @ South Whidbey (3:30) *
Sept. 7 – Eastside Prep (3:30) *
Sept. 11 – University Prep (3:30) *
Sept. 14 – Bush (3:30) *
Sept. 15 – @ Chimacum (3:00)
Sept. 17 – @ Overlake (3:30) *
Sept. 19 – Bear Creek (3:30) *
Sept. 21 – @ Seattle Academy (3:30) *
Sept. 24 – South Whidbey (3:30) *
Sept. 26 – @ Eastside Prep (3:30) *
Sept. 28 – @ University Prep (3:30) *
Oct. 3 – @ Bush (3:30) *
Oct. 5 – Overlake (3:30) *
Oct. 10 – @ Bear Creek (3:30) *
Oct. 15 – Seattle Academy (3:30) * SENIOR NIGHT

 

CROSS COUNTRY (Varsity & JV):

Sept. 5 – @ Granite Falls (4:00) *
Sept. 8 – @ Sehome Invitational (9:30 AM)
Sept. 15 – @ Carl Westling Invitational (South Whidbey) (TBA)
Sept. 22 – @ King’s Roller Coaster Trail Run (Shoreline) (TBA)
Oct. 4 – @ South Whidbey (4:00) *
Oct. 6 – @ Nike Hole in the Wall XC Invitational (Lakewood) (9:00 AM)
Oct. 11 @ King’s (4:00) *
Oct. 20 – @ North Sound Conference Championships (TBA)
Oct. 27 – @ Districts (TBA)
Nov. 3 – @ State (TBA)

 

FOOTBALL (Varsity):

Aug. 31 – @ Port Townsend (7:00)
Sept. 7 – Vashon Island (6:00)
Sept. 14 – Friday Harbor (TBA)
Sept. 21 – @ La Conner (7:00)
Sept. 28 – King’s (7:00) *
Oct. 5 – Sultan (7:00) * HOMECOMING
Oct. 12 – @ South Whidbey (7:00) *
Oct. 19 – @ Cedar Park Christian-Bothell (7:00) *
Oct. 26 – Granite Falls (7:00) * SENIOR NIGHT

 

FOOTBALL (JV):

Oct. 1 – @ King’s (5:30) *
Oct. 8 – @ Sultan (5:30) *
Oct. 15 – South Whidbey (5:30) *
Oct. 22 – Cedar Park Christian-Bothell (5:30) *
Oct. 29 – @ Granite Falls (5:30) *

 

GIRLS SOCCER (Varsity):

Sept. 4 – @ Meridian (4:00)
Sept. 6 – Friday Harbor (4:30)
Sept. 11 – King’s (6:45) *
Sept. 13 – Sultan (6:45) *
Sept. 15 – @ Chimacum (3:00)
Sept. 18 – @ Cedar Park Christian-Bothell (6:00) *
Sept. 22 – @ Mount Vernon Christian (12:00)
Sept. 25 – @ South Whidbey (6:00) *
Sept. 27 – Granite Falls (6:45) *
Oct. 2 –  @ King’s (6:00) *
Oct. 4 – Port Townsend (6:15)
Oct. 9 – @ Sultan (7:00) *
Oct. 11 – Cedar Park Christian-Bothell (6:45) *
Oct. 15 – South Whidbey (6:45) * SENIOR NIGHT
Oct. 17 – @ Granite Falls (6:00) *

 

GIRLS SOCCER (JV):

Sept. 11 – King’s (4:00) *
Sept. 13 – Sultan (4:00) *
Sept. 18 – @ Cedar Park Christian-Bothell (4:00) *
Sept. 25 – @ South Whidbey (4:00) *
Sept. 27 – Granite Falls (4:00) *
Oct. 2 – @ King’s (4:00) *
Oct. 9 – @ Sultan (5:00) *
Oct. 11 – Cedar Park Christian-Bothell (4:00) *
Oct. 15 – South Whidbey (4:00) *
Oct. 17 – @ Granite Falls (4:00) *

 

VOLLEYBALL (Varsity):

Sept. 1 – @ Oak Harbor Jamboree (9:00 AM)
Sept. 6 – Friday Harbor (4:30)
Sept. 8 – @ South Whidbey Invitational (9:00 AM)
Sept. 18 – @ Cedar Park Christian-Bothell (7:00) *
Sept. 25 – @ South Whidbey (7:00) *
Sept. 27 – Granite Falls (7:00) *
Oct. 2 – @ King’s (7:00) *
Oct. 4 – Port Townsend (6:15)
Oct. 9 – @ Sultan (7:00) *
Oct. 11 – Cedar Park Christian-Bothell (7:00) *
Oct. 13 – @ Wenatchee Invite (8:00 AM)
Oct. 15 – South Whidbey (7:00) *
Oct. 17 – @ Granite Falls (7:00) *
Oct. 23 – King’s (7:00) *
Oct. 25 – Sultan (7:00) * SENIOR NIGHT

 

VOLLEYBALL (JV):

Sept. 1 – @ Oak Harbor Jamboree (9:00 AM)
Sept. 6 – Friday Harbor (6:15)
Sept. 8 – @ South Whidbey Invitational (9:00 AM)
Sept. 18 – @ Cedar Park Christian-Bothell (5:15) *
Sept. 25 – @ South Whidbey (5:15) *
Sept. 27 – Granite Falls (5:15) *
Oct. 2 – @ King’s (5:15) *
Oct. 4 – Port Townsend (4:15)
Oct. 9 – @ Sultan (5:15) *
Oct. 11 – Cedar Park Christian-Bothell (5:15) *
Oct. 15 – South Whidbey (5:15) *
Oct. 17 – @ Granite Falls (5:15) *
Oct. 23 – King’s (5:15) *
Oct. 25 – Sultan (5:15) *

 

Middle School:

 

CROSS COUNTRY:

Sept. 15 @ Westling Invitational (South Whidbey) (TBA)
Sept. 20 @ Lakewood (3:30)
Sept. 22 @ King’s XC Invite (TBA)
Oct. 2 @ Granite Falls (3:30)
Oct. 6 @ Nike Hole in the Wall Invitational (Lakewood) (9:00 AM)
Oct. 9 @ Sultan (3:30)
Oct. 17 @ League Championships (TBA)

 

FOOTBALL:

Sept. 13 – @ King’s (3:30)
Sept. 19 – Sultan (3:45)
Sept. 26 – @ Langley (3:30)
Oct. 4 – @ Sultan (3:30)
Oct. 10 – King’s (3:45)
Oct. 17 – Langley (3:45)

 

VOLLEYBALL:

Sept. 18 – Sultan (3:00)
Sept. 20 – Lakewood (3:00)
Sept. 25 – @ Northshore Christian (3:15)
Sept. 27 – @ Granite Falls (3:00)
Oct. 2 – @ King’s (3:15)
Oct. 3 – Langley (3:00)
Oct. 9 – @ Sultan (3:15)
Oct. 11 – Northshore Christian (3:00)
Oct. 16 – @ Langley (3:30)
Oct. 18 – Granite Falls (3:00)

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Coupeville’s Jaelyn Crebbin pounds down the backstretch Wednesday on her way to a league title in the 1600. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

The hand-off made, the next man up prepares to hit the jets.

DJ Stadler and his turbo javelin prepare to part ways.

   CHS track guru Randy King (left) and Athletic Director Willie Smith (with headset) keep things running smoothly.

Ella Colwell (left) gets words of encouragement from Samantha Streitler.

The track oval is a teeming mass of Wolves just prior to the start of a relay.

Finish line in sight, Aiden Burdge busts a gut.

High above the oval, a lone eagle laps the pack.

Claire Mayne is an oasis of calm in the middle of a hurricane of activity.

The season ended with a bang.

Beautiful, sunny weather. A home track meet. Tons of PR’s and a roving cameraman or two to immortalize the action.

Coupeville Middle School pulled off another successful home meet Wednesday, and this one was a biggie, as it brought seven teams to Cow Town for the league championships.

Wandering to and fro, John Fisken captured the season finale on film, and the photos above are courtesy him.

To see everything he shot, pop over to:

https://www.johnsphotos.net/Sports/Coupeville-Track-2017-2018/2018-05-23-MS-Track-championships/

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CMS 8th grader Ja’Kenya Hoskins competed in three events Wednesday during the Olympic League Middle School Track and Field Championships. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Jordyn Rogers gets pointers in the shot put from older brother Chris Battaglia.

Can’t catch Jaelyn Crebbin.

The Coupeville Middle School 8th grader roared to a win in the 1600 Wednesday, claiming a league title at the Olympic League Track and Field Championships.

The victory came on her home oval, as Crebbin and the Wolves hosted six other schools in the season-ending event.

Coupeville finished third overall in the both the girls and boys team standings, trailing only Stevens and Sequim.

Both of those middle schools funnel students to 2A high schools and piled up a lot of their points Wednesday based on having a ton more bodies available than anyone else.

CMS added three second-place finishes, with Caleb Meyer (200), the girls 4 x 200 relay team (which featured Crebbin) and the boys 4 x 100 unit narrowly missing the top spot on the podium.

 

Complete Wednesday results:

 

GIRLS:

60 — Ja’Kenya Hoskins 8.90, Angelina Gebhard 10.31; Abigail Place 10.53

100 — Claire Mayne 15.90; Jordyn Rogers 16.68; Place 16.78; Gebhard 17.17

200 — Hoskins 29.59; Audrianna Shaw 31.63; Mayne 33.42; Eryn Wood 34.11

400 — Jaelyn Crebbin 1:11.69; Mary Milnes 1:18.63

800 — Carolyn Lhamon 2:47.77; Crebbin 2:55.05; Abigail Ramirez 3:13.02

1600 — Jaelyn Crebbin 6:21.02; Lhamon 6:27.71; Alana Mihill 6:51.57

75 Hurdles — Kiara Contreras 16.53

200 Hurdles — A. Shaw 36.03; Bella Velasco 37.89

4 x 100 Relay  — Velasco, Mayne, Contreras, Noelle Daigneault 1:01.33; (Relay team – no names listed) 1:03.54

4 x 200 Relay — Crebbin, Ramirez, A. Shaw, Lhamon 2:07.05; (Relay team – no names listed) 2:20.02

4 x 400 Relay — Mihill, Ramirez, Cristina McGrath, Milnes 5:28.61

Shot Put — Daigneault 26-03; Wood 23-00; Mercedes Kalwies-Anderson 22-07; Rogers 20-03

Discus — Helen Strelow 62-09; Ella Colwell 59-03; McGrath 52-02

Javelin — Lita Woollet 53-02; Daigneault 50-03; Mihill 47-11; McGrath 44-05

Long Jump — Hoskins 13-07; McGrath 12-01.50; Strelow 12-01, Milnes 11-05; Woollet 10-10.50

 

BOYS:

60 — Lucious Binnings 8.43; Reiley Araceley 8.70; Ty Hamilton 8.77; Joven Light 9.12

100 — DJ Stadler 12.87; Aiden Burdge 13.04; Hamilton 14.20; Dominic Coffman 14.84

200 — Caleb Meyer 25.89; Araceley 29.36; Connor Bachmann 37.03; Ty Duddridge 38.86

400 — Coffman 1:15.69

800 — Elijah Pepin 2:42.48; Aiden Anderson 2:58.16; Bachmann 3:14.68; Jesse Cowan 3:49.87

1600 — Pepin 5:54.99; Tate Wyman 6:35.98; Matthias Anderson 7:23.23

200 Hurdles — Wyman 37.08; Brayden Coatney 41.06; M. Anderson 42.96

4 x 100 relay — Stadler, Burdge, Hamilton, Meyer 51.28; (Relay team – no names listed) 56.46

4 x 200 Relay — Binnings, Tim Ursu, Gabe Shaw, Stadler 1:53.36

4 x 400 Relay — Coffman, Duddridge, A. Anderson, Hamilton 5:17.87

Shot Put — Logan Martin 34-05, G. Shaw 26-05.50; Coatney 25-00.25; Wesley Cowan 17-06.50

Discus — G. Shaw 74-04; A. Anderson 52-04; J. Cowan 45-09; W. Cowan 37-00

Javelin — Martin 116-10; Stadler 112-05; Ursu 84-09; Lucas Salazar 78-10

High Jump — Martin 4-10, Meyer 4-08, G. Shaw 4-02

Long Jump — Meyer 16-04.50; Burdge 14-05.50; Coffman 13-00.50; Duddridge 10-03.50

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Kiara Contreras and Co. set a season-best Tuesday in the 4 x 100. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Carolyn Lhamon came from behind to win the 800.

“The CMS Wolves ran like the Sequim wind.”

Coupeville Middle School track coaches Elizabeth Bitting, Jon Gabelein and Larry Hurlburt have put a lot of time and effort into teaching their young athletes, and it’s paying off big time.

Competing in the final regular-season meet Tuesday, a three-team rumble with Forks and host Sequim, CMS threw down multiple PR’s and captivated their coaches.

“The boys and girls threw further, jumped higher, ran faster, and/or jumped farther than ever before,” Gabelein said. “Our athletes continue to refine their craft.

“I wish there were several more weeks left for them to enjoy the results of hard work during outings like this.”

The Wolves host the Olympic League Championships May 23, an event which brings together the six conference schools for the final time.

And it’s not just a season-capper, but a farewell, as Coupeville jumps to the new North Sound Conference next fall for both high school and middle school sports.

Tuesday’s meet included big moments for both individuals, such as Carolyn Lhamon passing the leader in the final steps to win the 800, and for teams.

Both of Coupeville’s girls relay teams shattered their season-best times.

“With so many PR’s, improvement is being generated team-wide,” Gabelein said. “They may be discovering that the faster they run, the faster they’re done.”

 

Complete results (as best as I can do off of photos of hand-written notes):

GIRLS:

60 — Ja’Kenya Hoskins 8.45, Angelina Gebhard 8.70; Cristina McGrath 9.96; Abigail Place 10.04

100 — Gebhard 14.80; Claire Mayne 15.06; Jordyn Rogers 15.12; Place 15.30; Lita Woollet 15.96; McGrath 16.04; Helen Strelow 16.18

200 — Hoskins 30.04; Abigail Ramirez 34.92; Alana Mihill 37.35

400 — Maddie Andrews 1:24

800 — Carolyn Lhamon 2:52

1600 — Jaelyn Crebbin 6:22; Mihill 7:02

75 Hurdles — Kiara Contreras 15.77

200 hurdles — Audrianna Shaw 37.40; Bella Velasco 37.50

4 x 100 relay  — Velasco, Contreras, A. Shaw, Ramirez 1:01.17; Mayne, Noelle Daigneault, Eryn Wood, Gebhard 1:02

4 x 200 relay — Crebbin, A. Shaw, Velasco, Hoskins 2:05.79; Ramirez, Lhamon, Strelow, Mayne 2:17

Shot Put — Daigneault 25-01; Mercedes Kalwies-Anderson 22-11; Wood 22-05; Rogers 19-03; Andrews 17-00

Discus — Strelow 51-07; McGrath 35-00

Turbo — Mihill 55-05; Daigneault 47-05; Wood 46-05; McGrath 45-08; Mary Milnes 35-07; Ramirez 28-07; Andrews 27-00

Long Jump — Hoskins 12-02; Strelow 11-07; Place 10-02, Kalwies-Anderson 10-00; Mayne 10-00; Contreras 9-11; Daigneault 9-11; Milnes 9-09; Rogers 9-06; Andrews 9-00

 

BOYS:

60 — Lucious Binnings 8.15; Reiley Araceley 8.26; Ty Hamilton 8.50; Joven Light 8.79; Dominic Coffman 9.25; Connor Bachmann 10.00; Wesley Cowan 10.28; Jesse Cowan 10.59; Ty Duddridge 10.90; Brayden Coatney 11.46

100 — Aiden Burdge 12.50; Light 14.25; Lucas Salazar 14.90; Coffman 15.00; Matthias Anderson 16.80; Duddridge 17.00

200 — Araceley 27.25; Caleb Meyer 27.91

800 — Aiden Anderson 3:03; Bachmann 3:14

1600 — Elijah Pepin 6:29; Tate Wyman 6:52; Coffman 7:13

4 x 100 relay — DJ Stadler, Burdge, Hamilton, Meyer 52.03; Light, Araceley, Salazar, Binnings 56.14

4 x 200 Relay — Binnings, Tim Ursu, Gabe Shaw, Stadler 1:43.65

Shot Put — Logan Martin 35-01, Coatney 21-11; W. Cowan 17-08

Discus — A. Anderson 45-04; J. Cowan 37-00; W. Cowan 33-00

Turbo — Stadler 123-08; Salazar 89-00; Ursu 78-09; G. Shaw 75-01; Light 72-01; Bachmann 55-07, M. Anderson 47-04; Duddridge 44-00; W. Cowan 38-01; A. Anderson 36-00

High Jump — Martin 4-08, Meyer 4-06, G. Shaw 4-04

Long Jump — Meyer 14-07; Burdge 14-04; Coffman 13-00; Araceley 12-11; Ursu 12-07; Wyman 11-04; A. Anderson 10-01; J. Cowan 9-03, Bachmann 8-09; Duddridge 8-05

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