Posts Tagged ‘Covid-19’

Spikers (l to r) Kylie Chernikoff, Maddie Vondrak, and Maddie Georges celebrate a big point. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

It was the most peculiar of school athletic years.

Schedules shifted every few seconds, athletes (and fans) wore masks, and some ultra-stupid temporary rule changes made you question reality.

Why were basketball teams forced to forego the opening tip — the visiting team started with the ball out of bounds this season — when seconds later, players slammed into each other in pursuit of rebounds.

But then again, why ask why during the Age of Coronavirus?

As long as teams were playing, in compressed seasons, we were ahead of where we were back in spring 2020.

With action back on courts and fields, photographers had a chance to click their cameras again as well.

What is above and below are 20 of the best pics from Coupeville’s return to live sports action.

Not every sport is represented, and the pics are not in any sort of ranked order.

But they are the ones which caught my eye (again), as I went back through things.

So there you go.


Jill Prince makes a sensational barehanded catch on a twisting pop-up. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Isaiah Bittner will eat your soul.

Carolyn Lhamon comes in hot.

Three generations of Wolf softball.

Daniel Olson tip-toes along the baseline.

Mollie Bailey and Brad Sherman start a secret handshake known only to prairie royalty. (Eileen Stone photo)

Mia Farris dances the dance of her people. (Jackie Saia photo)

Daylon Houston tackles Ben Smith after the latter scored a game-winning touchdown. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Emily Fiedler, ever-nimble.

Scene of the crime.

Hawthorne Wolfe bolts for home. (Morgan White photo)

Cole White twirls through the paint. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Mary Milnes keeps her rival at bay.

Maddie Vondrak drops the hammer of the gods.

Alex Murdy is mobbed after hitting game-winning free throws. (Jackie Saia photo)

Mollie Bailey crushes a pitch. (Jackie Saia photo)

“We’re outta here!” (Eileen Stone photo)

Ben Smith rumbles in the open field. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

“Willie needs a vacation!”

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Izzy Wells was dynamic in the pitcher’s circle, and at the plate, leading Coupeville to a 12-0 record in a pandemic-altered season. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

They survived, and they thrived.

Thanks to the pandemic, the 2021 Coupeville High School softball season was played out of order, was shortened, and came with no chance to advance to the playoffs.

But it was played, which was a win in itself after the 2020 campaign was cancelled during the early days of Covid.

And once on the field, this group of Wolves put together a season which can stand among the very-best the CHS diamond program has produced in its nearly 50-year history.

Returning to the Northwest 2B/1B League after an extended absence, Coupeville quickly let everyone know the path to a conference crown would run through Cow Town.

Wolf coach Kevin McGranahan had a roster which was dotted with a few holdovers from 2019 — when Coupeville advanced to the state 1A tourney.

But many of his players were essentially “redshirt” sophomores — girls who had been denied a freshman season by Covid — and newcomers to the program.

It didn’t matter, as veterans and newbies meshed almost flawlessly, with Coupeville running the table at 12-0.

The Wolves outscored their NWL foes 154-41, while trailing only one time all season.

And that was CHS being nice, as it could have trafficked in much-bigger blowouts in many of those games, but chose to show respect and not hang 50 runs on anyone.

Kylie Van Velkinburgh was one of many Wolves to swing a big bat.

McGranahan had a lineup which hit for power and precision from top to bottom, led by seniors Mollie Bailey and Chelsea Prescott.

In the field, the Wolves played often-inspired defense, while junior hurler Izzy Wells dominated opposing hitters.

As a freshman, the fireball-chucking pitcher carried Coupeville to a 1A North Sound Conference league title and the aforementioned trip to state.

After missing season #2 for reasons out of her control, Wells emerged as an even-more confident strikeout queen as a junior, one who was taller, stronger, and yet just as calmly serene behind her mask.

Or two masks in this case, as she and her teammates wore Covid-resistant coverings under their customary “don’t let a softball bust my nasal cavity wide open” metal face masks.

There are many reasons why the 2021 Wolf softball team deserves to be remembered as one of the best, in any sport, to wear the red and black.

This team, which went 24 players deep, faced down obstacles never seen in previous years, from face masks and social distancing, to the constant fear of their season being prematurely ended as other schools suffered failed Covid tests.

Through it all, they never lost their spirit, and never wavered in their pursuit of excellence.

They accepted life as it came at them, and for a few hours each game, went out and gave themselves, their families, their coaches, and their fans a reason to believe that there could still be good things in the middle of a pandemic.

To a woman, these Wolf softball sluggers excelled on and off the field, and did it with admirable attitudes even as the world around them seemed to crash down on a daily basis.

Mollie Bailey, having a heartfelt conversation with her #1 fan, led CHS in several offensive categories.

No CHS team in any sport, male or female, has ever finished an undefeated season with as many wins as this squad did.

There were great Wolf softball teams before the 2021 edition, and there will likely be some very-good ones playing on the prairie in the coming years.

But when we look back, this year’s team is one which will stand the test of time, one which will be remembered and hailed always.

So today we induct the 2021 CHS softball team — six coaches and 24 players — into the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame.

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

They earned it, every step of the way.


The 2021 CHS softball team:



Lark Gustafson
Aaron Lucero
Kevin McGranahan
Justine McGranahan
Katrina McGranahan
Ron Wright



Mollie Bailey
Elisa Caroppo
Karyme Castro
Coral Caveness
Jackie Contreras
Gwen Gustafson
Ivy Leedy
Lily Leedy
Allie Lucero
Maya Lucero
Lacy McCraw-Shirron
Heidi Meyers
Allison Nastali
Melanie Navarro
Maya Nottingham
River Ozturk
Sofia Peters
Chelsea Prescott
Jill Prince
Audrianna Shaw
Mckenna Somes
Kylie Van Velkinburgh
Izzy Wells
Bella Whalen

Seniors Chelsea Prescott (9), Bailey (13), and Coral Caveness (1), state tourney veterans, led by example.

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It’s been a really long school year. Coupeville Athletic Director Willie Smith (left) is not here for your shenanigans. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Basketball, the best high school sport of them all, is almost here.

Practice begins this coming Monday, May 10, with Coupeville’s girls and boys teams starting pandemic-shortened 12-game seasons May 18.

But, with the arrival of hoops, comes the strictest set of Age of Coronavirus guidelines for fans this school year.

Northwest 2B/1B League Athletic Directors have decided no away fans will be allowed at any games, with no exceptions.

Further, the only way for home fans to see games will be if they have an in with a current player.

In order to assure the number of people in the gym meets Washington State Department of Health guidelines, each Wolf player will receive four tickets per home game to distribute to family and friends.

This will apply to five of six home games — Concrete (May 25), La Conner (May 27), Mount Vernon Christian (June 3), Friday Harbor (June 8), and Senior Night against Darrington (June 17).

Coupeville’s home game May 20 against Orcas Island is not open to fans of any kind, as the Vikings have requested that concession from all other NWL schools.

Tickets will be distributed the day prior to a game, and NO FAN will be admitted without a ticket.

Once inside, fans are required to follow all protocols and guidelines as defined by the Coupeville School District, Island County Health, Washington State Health Department, and the Washington State Interscholastic Athletic Association.

They are as follows:

**No outside food; water in a bottle/container is allowed.

**Masks must be worn AT ALL TIMES (other when taking a drink).

**Family groups may sit together, but must maintain a minimum of six-feet of distance from other groups/fans.

**Sitting areas in the gyms will be marked by tape/cones and MUST be followed.

If a row has a cone/X on it, that row is NOT to be sat in.

Tape also shows six-feet of distance throughout the stands.

**Any arguing, harassing, or non-compliance by a spectator towards CHS workers/coaches will result in the immediate discontinuation of ALL fans to attend, and the school will move to streaming games only.


Links to stream games:

Concrete — Concrete School District – YouTube

Coupeville — Coupeville High School – Coupeville, WA (nfhsnetwork.com)

Darrington — Justgame Web Services (justagamelive.com)

Friday Harbor — Friday Harbor Tiny Radio | Facebook

La Conner — La Conner Athletics Alpha Channel – YouTube

MVC — Mount Vernon Christian School – Mount Vernon, WA (nfhsnetwork.com)

Orcas Island — Orcas Island Booster Club | Facebook

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Jaimee Masters and her fellow Coupeville volleyball seniors are having a tough time getting their customary celebration. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

“I feel like we are in an episode of The Twilight Zone.”

This pandemic-altered school year has been a difficult one for everyone involved in athletics, and Coupeville High School volleyball coach Cory Whitmore has spent much of his season just trying to keep things working.

With four of seven Northwest 2B/1B League schools having Covid issues which have affected volleyball, the Wolves have seen their schedule change almost daily.

The latest hit — Concrete cancelling on Coupeville hours before what was supposed to be Senior Night in Cow Town.

The Lions reported two positive Covid cases in their spiker program, erasing Saturday’s varsity and JV matches, and shutting Concrete’s program down a week before the end of the season.

This follows on the heels of La Conner and Darrington both taking 10-day breaks mid-season after their own positive cases, while Friday Harbor sat out all fall sports after cases spiked in the San Juan Islands.

Coupeville, Mount Vernon Christian, and Orcas Island — which has instituted a no-fan policy for all games — are the only schools to avoid Covid quarantines (knock on wood) during the compressed fall season.

The Wolves have been affected, though, especially when it has come to trying to hold Senior Night.

CHS has one home contest left among its three remaining scheduled matches — but that is against Orcas, which will only play if fans are barred from the gym.

At this point, Coupeville’s Senior Night has been switched at least three times, only to have each plan upended by the pandemic.

Whitmore and Coupeville Athletic Director Willie Smith are scrambling (once again) to make sure Wolf 12th graders Jaimee Masters, Maddie Vondrak, Chelsea Prescott, and Kylie Chernikoff get their moment in the spotlight in front of friends and family.

Two possibilities include arranging a match with Darrington — now back from quarantine — or switching a May 7 road match at La Conner to a home affair.

For Whitmore, who was writing letters to his senior spikers when the Concrete cancellation came, the mission is simple.

“We can still honor our incredible seniors that deserve recognition,” he said.

“We will make it happen.”


UPDATE #1 — May 1 – 1:40 PM:

Senior Night rescheduled for Wednesday, May 5, with Darrington coming to Coupeville.

JV at 5:00 PM in CMS gym, varsity 6:30 in CHS gym.


UPDATE #2 — May 3 – 12:45 PM:

Concrete volleyball program reinstated by Skagit Health Department.

Darrington match cancelled.

Friday, May 7 match with La Conner switched from road game to home game, and will be new Senior Night.

JV 6:00, varsity 7:30.

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Little League baseball is back. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

The diamond is open for business.

With pandemic protocols in place, Central Whidbey Little League has returned to action, and wanderin’ photo clicker John Fisken was on hand Wednesday to document all the hits and throws.

The photos above and below are courtesy him.

To see everything he shot, and consider buying some glossy portraits for the grandparents, pop over to:

BB 2021-04-28 CWLL Rookies vs SWLL – John’s Photos (johnsphotos.net)


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