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Posts Tagged ‘Cory Whitmore’

Kyla Briscoe pounds home a winner. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Ready to rain down terror on hapless foes.

Katrina McGranahan (left) and Mikayla Elfrank form an impenetrable wall.

Six players firing as one.

It was one of the most dominant seasons ever put together by a Coupeville High School sports team.

The 2017 Wolf spikers tied the program record for wins (13), went to state for the first time since 2004 and captured a second-straight Olympic League crown.

Oh, and CHS also won all 27 sets it played against league foes Klahowya, Port Townsend and Chimacum.

You read that right.

Merely going 9-0, and joining girls basketball as the only Coupeville varsity programs to hit that mark in league play, wasn’t enough. These Wolves needed total freakin’ domination.

For league perfection, for rewriting the record books, and for their success on the floor, in the classroom and in the community, the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame welcomes the 2017 CHS varsity spikers to our hallowed digital halls.

After this, you’ll find them hanging out at the top of the blog, under the Legends tab.

It’s easy to forget that, just four years ago, when this year’s seniors were freshmen, Wolf volleyball went 1-11 during the first season of the Olympic League.

It was all uphill from there, bouncing to six wins and a district playoff victory over Seattle Christian, then 11 wins and a league title, before culminating in an inspired 2017 campaign.

Coupeville twice won five matches in a row, beat a pair of large-school 2A teams (North Mason and Port Angeles) and overcame a schedule in which it played 13 of 18 matches on the road.

Its only losses in the regular season were to Bellevue Christian, which went to state, and 2A Sequim, and CHS came up big in the postseason.

After a tough brawl in a rematch with BC to open districts, the Wolves swatted Cascade Christian — the school which sent them home as sophomores — to punch their ticket to state.

Once it hit Yakima, Coupeville found itself in the “Group of Death,” wedged in with undefeated Castle Rock, undefeated defending state champ Lakeside (Nine Mile Falls) and eventual new state champ King’s.

The Wolves didn’t go down easy, though, taking a set from Castle Rock and holding their own in the midst of the madhouse that is the state volleyball tourney.

Even at the end, Coupeville’s spikers displayed the kind of poise and big-play mentality which served them well all season.

This was a squad which produced a league MVP in Hope Lodell, First-Team All-Conference picks in Mikayla Elfrank, Katrina McGranahan and Lauren Rose and a record-buster in Payton Aparicio.

The latter drilled 18 service aces in a late-season match, shattering the previous school record of 13, set by Jessica Riddle back in 2010.

The Wolves were rich in seniors — Kyla Briscoe, bouncing back after missing a year from injury to become a spike-happy wild woman at the net, and always-dependable Allison Wenzel complete the Magnificent Seven.

But while their graduation will leave a hole, the future is bright.

Two juniors, two sophomores and one freshman also saw floor time for Coupeville, and the JV (12-1) and C-Team (4-0) form an especially-strong farm system.

In just two years on the job, CHS coach Cory Whitmore has taken what previous coaches set up, and kicked the program into a different gear.

His current players have held free clinics for the lil’ kids who are the future of the program, and the numbers of participants they have pulled in has been astounding.

Even as Coupeville volleyball celebrates highs it hasn’t seen in a decade-plus, there is an unmistakable feeling this is just the beginning.

But, when we get a couple of years down the line and see things play out, we’ll still be able to look back and honor the team which launched the new revolution.

Today, we induct the 2017 varsity spikers into our lil’ Hall o’ Fame, 12 young women (and their support crew) who sent a bolt of lightning through Wolf Nation.

Inducted together, as a team:

Payton Aparicio
Kyla Briscoe
Mikayla Elfrank
Hope Lodell
Katrina McGranahan
Ashley Menges
Chelsea Prescott
Lauren Rose
Emma Smith
Scout Smith
Maya Toomey-Stout
Allison Wenzel
Cory Whitmore
(head coach)
Ashley Herndon (assistant coach)
Chris Smith (assistant coach)
Kayla Rose (manager)

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   Current senior Payton Aparicio leads off a look at what this year’s volleyball team was up to in 2004, the last time Wolf spikers made it to the state tourney.

Senior Kyla Briscoe

Senior Mikayla Elfrank

   Assistant coach Ashley Herndon, then a high school senior.

Senior Hope Lodell

Sophomore Emma Mathusek

Senior Katrina McGranahan

Junior Ashley Menges

Freshman Chelsea Prescott

Senior Lauren Rose

Assistant coach Chris Smith

Junior Emma Smith

Sophomore Scout Smith

Sophomore Maya Toomey-Stout

Senior Allison Wenzel (left) and big sis Rachel.

   And head coach Cory Whitmore, back when he was tearing up the court as a 14-year-old.

A lot has changed in 13 years.

When Coupeville High School’s volleyball squad heads to Yakima Thursday, it’ll be the first time the Wolf spikers have made it to the state tourney since 2004.

Back then, Toni Crebbin was calling the shots on the sideline for CHS and all-timers like Taniel Lamb, Mindy Horr and Kirsty Croghan were roaming the floor, mixing thunderous spikes with silky sets and sizzlin’ service aces.

As the 2004 Wolves romped through a season in which they were ranked #1 in the state at one point, the next generation was quietly going about its own business.

Spread across Coupeville and several other towns (and states), the 13 girls and three coaches who comprise this year’s state team had no idea they would one day unite in the spotlight.

While they wait for the bus to gas up for the long trip East, let’s take a ramble down memory lane and see just what they were all up to back in those lazy, hazy days of 2004.

You know, when OutKast was singing “Hey Ya!” and I was busy at Videoville, trying to make people rent the criminally-underrated “13 Going on 30.”

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   Want to play like Emma Smith some day? Get started learning volleyball skills now. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Know a kid who wants to learn volleyball skills and hang out with members of the most successful spiker squad in the Olympic League?

Then send them in the direction of Coupeville High School’s gym the next two Saturdays, when Wolf players and coaches will be running free volleyball skills clinics for students in grades 3-8.

The clinics are Oct. 7 and 14, with each event running from 9 AM-noon.

There’s no cost and no pre-registration necessary. Just show up at the gym ready to have fun.

If you have questions, you can reach CHS coach Cory Whitmore at cwhitmore@coupeville.k12.wa.us.

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CHS sophomore Scout Smith had a stellar varsity debut. (John Fisken photo)

Release the butterflies.

Opening a new volleyball season at a jamboree, like Coupeville did Saturday, is a good way for players to deal with nerves while honing skills, something CHS coach Cory Whitmore appreciates.

“I’m happy with what I saw today,” he said. “It’s a great way to get the first game butterflies out prior to league and non-league play.

“What impressed me most, and what I wanted to see from today’s competition, was a progression forward,” Whitmore added. “With each time we played either team, we improved.

“We have to work on our consistency for each of the six skills but we set the tone for our capabilities with a solid foundation to move forward in the season.”

Coupeville faced off in three-set matches with Darrington and host Oak Harbor, with both the varsity and JV getting ample floor time.

Whitmore praised the play of sophomore Scout Smith, who is making the jump to the Wolf varsity this season.

With senior setter Lauren Rose sitting out with a leg injury (she lost a fight with a picnic table), Smith played the full six sets, and was the only Coupeville player not to come off the floor.

“Each player had standout moments and when we had six on at a time clicking, things looked solid,” Whitmore said. “As the only sophomore to be on varsity, also in her first outing at the varsity level and never step off the floor, I’m really proud of Scout’s performance and calmness under pressure.”

While Whitmore ran the varsity crew, new JV coach Chris Smith made his debut calling the shots for the farm team.

“Our JV — a large 15-girl group — settled into learning the rotations behind the direction of Chris,” Whitmore said. “I’m happy with what I saw there too.

“Our strong group of sophomores did a fantastic job of settling into their roles as well as helping out the group of freshmen learning on the fly,” he added. “Learning rotations and making adjustments based on positions is a tough thing to do and I was pleased with the base they too have set to progress in consistency.”

Having enjoyed the low-pressure kickoff (“shout out to Oak Harbor for putting on a small, but smooth-running, fun jamboree”), Whitmore now turns to focus on the regular season.

Coupeville opens on the road Tuesday, the first day of school, with a non-conference tilt at Mount Vernon Christian.

“Quick turn-around with no practice time in between,” Whitmore said. “So we will make our adjustments on the fly and always look forward to the next game and challenge.”

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   Lucy Sandahl (left) and Scout Smith are thrilled to be at volleyball camp. (Konni Smith photos)

Scout reunites with Maya Toomey-Stout (left) and Emma Smith.

   Sandahl, Ashley Menges (center) and Payton Aparicio come well-equipped for the multi-day stay.

The Wolves cap a successful camp with a group photo. (Cory Whitmore photo)

Coming off of its best performance in a decade, the Coupeville High School volleyball team is primed to make an even bigger splash this fall.

Helping the Wolves get ready to defend their Olympic League title, coach Cory Whitmore and 11 of his spikers attended an intensive four-day camp at Western Washington University July 5-8.

The view from court-side, courtesy Coupeville’s second-year coach:

Camp lasted a very full four days by normally being on the court by 8 AM and working until 8:30 PM at WWU’s newly remodeled Carver Gymnasium.

Our camp was the first open to summer camps – this put the WWU players and coaches in very excited moods and was fun to be able to have a sneak peek into the new facilities.

This year, we were able to bring along Lauren Rose, Payton Aparicio, Hope Lodell, Mikayla Elfrank, Kyla Briscoe, Ashley Menges, Emma Smith, Scout Smith, Maya Toomey-Stout, Lucy Sandahl and Zoe Trujillo.

It was a great mix of experience and upcoming talent. 

It’s hard for me to choose any one particular stand-out for their growth and/or effort, because every single one grew in some way or another and all put in a huge amount of effort.

I’m proud of the growth this group made as a whole – taking a new mix of girls to camp, some playing different positions, a lot of questions try to get answered while at team camp and I’m encouraged by the direction we took in both meshing as a unit and competing against other teams

Coupeville has been attending WWU Volleyball Team Camp for years now and that kind of familiarity creates consistency for planning and comfortability for coaches and players.

Their program is extremely successful under their coaching staff with a wealth of knowledge to instill upon each program that attends.

I also like the proximity and familiarity our players have to their program. Our players have gotten to know a number of their player over the years which has been fun to watch their progression.

And being that Bellingham is only an hour and a half up the road, we are able to return during the fall season as a team trip and see the Vikings compete themselves.

We were also lucky enough to have the same camp coach from the previous year, senior setter Kristina Tribley.

She was fantastic working with the girls and the two-year connection made the experience even more special for our team.

Another part of this particular camp that I like is that it is not simply a tournament – players work on skills based on individual positions, in small groups, as a team and then regularly compete as a team.

With various type games and focuses, it is not just scrimmaging. Our players were able to grow on numerous levels for various skills.

Throughout the camp, we learned out to focus on “the process” – the WWU program values growth over results and that mentality was instilled into us.

Players had to learn how to be patient and look at the little victories over the results and that fostered a comfortability in making mistakes as a part of growing.

We also made a focus to improve our communication style. As a team, progress was definitely made this camp.

Our last goal was to improve our hitting efficiency.

This was where “the process” was especially key – player had to learn how to lose a point due to a mistake, while celebrating a success in another area of the hit.

By the end of camp, that comfortability in letting mistakes go, translated into confidence which then led to kills.

In addition, our “volleyball IQ” was improved as well (where to place the ball, when to swing away).

After a post-camp, nearly full day of sleep, I’m energized toward our fall season.

I’m very much looking forward to seeing the girls take the lessons learned at camp, implementing them throughout the season and spreading that message to other players in the CHS volleyball program.

We have strong leaders on the team that grew as leaders but also helped to teach our younger players how to lead.

That experience is invaluable because it carries throughout summer, this season and into future volleyball season, being further passed down.

At the end of camp, the WWU players (camp coaches) recognize one player from their team deserving of recognition.

Coach Kristina said it was very hard for her to choose just one but she was incredibly impressed with Payton.

Payton was very strong from the service line, extremely consistent in the passing formation, made growth as an attacker and was a rock mentally for the rest of the team.

I could not agree more and I’m very happy Payton was recognized – her efforts in the off-season deserve notice.

Even though Kristin Bridges will not be able to coach this upcoming fall season, she had planned on attending camp with us, but due to early contractions she was hospitalized and roughly two weeks later she gave birth to Grayson Reid Bridges!

We are so excited for her and her family and can’t wait to meet the newest Bridges!

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