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Coupeville’s Tony Killgo, a two-sport star in the ’80s, lives with wife Karen in Hawaii. (Photos courtesy Killgo)

Killgo hard at work as an underwater welder.

Thirty-three years after graduation and still a CHS record-holder.

He’s gone, but far from forgotten.

Tony Killgo calls Hawaii home these days, but the Coupeville High School grad still looms large on the school’s track and field record board, sharing in one of the longest-standing records in program history.

During his senior season in 1986, the standout two-sport athlete went out with a bang, teaming up with Jay Roberts, Rick Alexander, and Bill Carstensen to break the boys 4 x 100 record.

After claiming 3rd at the state meet in the event, the pack broke up and went their separate ways. But the record they left behind has lingered, remaining untouched now for 33 years.

Only Natasha Bamberger’s marks in the 1600 and 3200, set in 1984, have endured longer on the Wolf record board.

Three-plus decades later, the memories of that dream season remain vibrant for Killgo.

“I received four letters in football and track, as well as individual awards in both track and football,” he said. “But I’d have to say if there was a year that stuck out, it would most definitely be the year our relay team captured lightning in a baton.

“It was a great moment to be a part of,” Killgo added. “Our friendships and camaraderie were in perfect sync for our relay team.

“I have to say I’m very proud to be a part of that magic us four got to experience; I will always cherish that time and our memories.”

While track is where his legend has lingered the longest, it was the gridiron that probably captivated Killgo the most.

“I’d have to say football was my favorite sport,” he said. “And I don’t know that I necessarily have favorite games as much as I have memorable plays, and moments of teammates making the impossible, possible, with great plays I remember to this day.”

The player who looms largest for Killgo is his older brother, Paul, another Wolf legend whose exploits are still discussed.

“Although we didn’t run together that year, or play football that year together, I always strived and yearned to be as good as him in both sports,” Tony Killgo said. “Those who remember seeing him play in both track and football will attest he was something to watch.

“And just knowing that he was watching me, pushed me to my limits to be the best I could, not just in school, not just in sports, but in life.”

Their father also “never missed a game or a track meet,” something which has always stayed with Killgo.

It was that kind of support, both from his own family, and from the families of other CHS athletes and students, which made playing in Coupeville special.

“The memories I remember the most were before the games and the meets, the moms and the dads of the participants getting together and enjoying the upcoming meet or game,” Killgo said.

“Parents like Diane Bailey and the Marti family and Mr. Aparicio, as well as one of my favorites, Mr. Ford.”

Supporting both their own children and the offspring of their neighbors made for a tight-knit community.

“You see, those are the memories I remember — bringing our families, loved ones, moms and dads together on one night or one special occasion,” Killgo said. “We brought them together to enjoy each other’s company and camaraderie as well.

“A moment where they could smile, laugh, and enjoy each other’s company and forget about the complexities of life, like bills, obligations, and family stresses,” he added. “I’d have to say these are the memories I remember the most — bringing a community together.”

While he no longer sees most of his high school mates on a regular basis, Killgo hopes that when his former teammates and fans think about him, they do so with a smile.

“I’d like to hope they remember me as somebody who had good school spirit,” he said. “And someone who always tried to represent his family and community the best he knew how.”

As he’s traveled through life after high school, Killgo has used many of the lessons he learned as a teenage athlete in his adult life.

That’s something he hopes the current generation of Wolf sports stars embraces.

“I learned to win with grace, but, most importantly, how to lose with grace,” Killgo said. “Winning and losing in life is a special thing to learn from.

“You see, at that time we didn’t have participation trophies, you either sank or swam, won or lost.

“Playing both football and track taught me the importance of teamwork and it’s reflected in my business today,” he added. “I don’t have any employees, I only have coworkers, as we are all a team pushing towards the same goal.”

These days, Killgo is a certified commercial diver specializing in underwater demolitions and welding, and his business takes him bouncing between the Hawaiian islands.

He and wife Karen worked together, but her career came to an unexpected end when she was injured and contracted a rare, non-contagious disease – Complex Regional Pain Syndrome/Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (CRPS/RSD).

There are estimates of 50,000 new cases each year in the United States, with those affected experiencing intense pain in limbs, hands, and feet, as well as changes in skin color, temperature, and loss of movement or function.

Pain is constant for most with the syndrome, and doctors worldwide have been unable so far to solve the cause of CRPS/RSD.

As the couple have dealt with the disease, they have tried to use what they’ve learned in a positive manner.

“My wife’s constant battle kind of puts life in perspective,” Killgo said. “To have sympathy and help others when we can.”

With a new school year about to star, Coupeville High School’s athletic fields and gyms will be full of Wolf athletes, some seasoned, some making their debuts in the red and black.

However their prep careers play out, Killgo hopes that everyone in a CHS uniform takes every moment in, that they embrace the chance to play, and set themselves up to look back with as much fondness as he now does.

“My only advice to the next crop of athletes and students is to just enjoy life,” he said. “Enjoy your friendships and camaraderie, but most of all your family and your community.

“Because, when you’re gone those are the things you remember the most,” Killgo added. “Not awards, not teams, but the small moments that make you who you are later, down-the-line in life.”

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