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Posts Tagged ‘Elizabeth Bitting’

Amber Wyman congratulates daughter Ayden. (Morgan White photo)

“My heart is happy!!! She is the perfect match for the team!!!”

You can count Elizabeth Bitting as Amber Wyman’s biggest fan, as the latter follows in the former’s footsteps as Coupeville Middle School cross country coach.

The position came open recently, when Bitting bounced up to run the high school harrier program, and Wyman’s hire will be official once approved by the school board at this Thursday’s meeting.

The mother of three Wolf athletes — Tate, Ayden, and Devon — she returns the compliments to Coupeville’s running guru.

“I will be working closely with Coach Bitting, because anyone who knows and has worked with her knows what a fantastic coach she is!” Wyman said.

“I’m not sure I would have taken this job had she not been here to show me such a great example; she is definitely my inspiration!”

As she takes over the job, Wyman is excited to give young athletes an opportunity she herself never had.

“I was never a student-athlete,” she said. “I was that reluctant student that never had the benefit of playing sports.

“I wanted to try out for volleyball in high school, but I let my fears and insecurities keep me from playing or trying out for anything. That is one of my biggest regrets!”

Wyman did become an athlete herself, but later in life.

Two months after giving birth to her middle child in 2007, she found herself being both a supporter and an active participant in getting ready for a triathlon.

“My friend Holley visited and said that she had decided to train for a triathlon. I just immediately said, “I’ll join you!” even if she didn’t ask,” Wyman said with a laugh.

She made her debut in the Whidbey Island Triathlon, which was memorable for many reasons.

“I came in almost last and had to step across the finish line and immediately breast feed Ayden, who had refused the bottle from my husband the entire time.”

From that beginning has come appearances in multiple sprint triathlons, 5K, 10K, and 15K races, and “the one and only, memorable half marathon in Napa.”

“So, while it came late for me, I have been out there!” Wyman said.

The coaching bug bit when her children first became soccer players, with things taking a big jump forward when Coupeville schools revived their cross country programs in 2018.

“My husband was excited that someone was doing ‘his’ sport, and Coach Bitting coached Tate,” Wyman said. “It was a fantastic season.

“That year I started helping in whatever way I could, which gradually increased until I was out there at most practices and meets.”

Elizabeth Bitting and Wyman enjoy a day at the races. (Photo courtesy Bitting)

While she may have thought of herself as just a helpful parent at first, it soon became apparent that Wyman and Bitting made a great team.

“The first time I realized I was the ‘assistant’ coach was when I was in the stands as a parent listening to Coach Bitting give the preseason talk. She announced me as her assistant coach!

“I had no idea that was coming, but in reality, I had been playing that role all along: I was helping students with stretches, making sure they were on the right course, helping with uniforms, making sure they were doing what they were supposed to, or really whatever coach asked me to do, and I was at nearly all the meets.”

“I have been learning from Coach Bitting this entire time, and I know I have big shoes to fill!”

When Bitting accepted the high school gig, replacing Paige Spangler, who moved out of state after two years on the job, she actively stumped for her assistant to replace her.

“I applied for the job because of Coach Bitting and Kristin Wagner,” Wyman said. “Coach right away was on it and told me to apply, plus sent multiple texts and mentioned it anytime I talked to her in person.

“Then, Kristin started calling me coach whenever I saw her, so nearly daily!” she added “So really, the support, or arm-twisting, of friends got me here!”

Wyman and her husband, Andrew, who will celebrate their 27th anniversary this year, arrived on Whidbey in 2002.

He launched his dental practice in Oak Harbor, and she has worked as a teacher, first at the fourth-grade level and in recent years as a long-term substitute at Coupeville Elementary School.

That time in the classroom gives Wyman prior knowledge of many of the boys and girls who will run for her next fall, a true positive.

“I know many of these students and parents,” she said. “I have to admit that I don’t enjoy being in the spotlight, but I like feeling helpful.

“I’m hoping I can create a positive atmosphere for the students so that they will give me all they’ve got and understand that while it wasn’t always easy, it was worth it.”

Like Bitting, Wyman is intent on making cross country life a positive one for their runners, whether they’re seasoned athletes or first-timers.

“I want to make this a fun experience for the students, so they want to return or continue into high school,” Wyman said.

“I especially would like to get those reluctant athletes, those who are like me, to get out there and give it a try!” she added. “I want students to realize that although it can be challenging and you will have good and bad days, that’s OK.”

Running offers a unique experience, something Wyman embraces.

“From my years of watching on the sidelines and being in the supporting role while my husband ran in high school and at UW, I have learned that while the students run individually, they are a family,” she said.

“I love that! The running community is an amazing group who are always there to support!”

At its heart, cross country is a fairly simple sport, with no plays to learn, which makes it ideal for athletes of all skill levels and experience.

“I want my student-athletes to have fun, build a strong team, and have enthusiasm for the sport, whether they continue with it or use it as a steppingstone to keep in shape for another sport,” Wyman said.

“One of the best things about running is that it is always available and requires no special equipment!”

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Elizabeth Bitting (left) replaces the departing Paige Spangler (right) as Coupeville High School cross country coach.

Same trails, new boss.

Well, except the new boss is also the old boss.

Coupeville Middle School cross country guru Elizabeth Bitting, who coached the Wolf high school team in 2020, is returning to reclaim the position, but this time for good.

Bitting replaces Paige Spangler, who exits after two seasons at the helm of the CHS program.

The reason for the departure?

Spangler is moving to the East Coast after her husband, who’s in the military, recently received new orders.

Bitting has been the heart and soul of Coupeville’s running programs since they were relaunched in 2018 after a two-decade absence, building the middle school program into a huge success.

CMS boasted 30+ runners this fall, an extraordinary number for a school of its size.

A huge part of that is Bitting, who infuses her students with joy, regardless of whether they are hardcore runners or first-time athletes.

While she has piloted the middle school program the past five seasons, the high school harriers have had four different coaches.

Natasha Bamberger and Luke Samford each did a season before being pulled away by real-world jobs, Bitting agreed to coach both programs for a season, then Spangler joined her on the trails.

This time, Bitting is making the jump to the high school job for good, and the middle school coaching position will be posted.

“I am truly excited about the move. It is time,” Bitting said. “There’ll be no stepping down this time! I have plans! Lots of plans!”

A lifelong runner herself, Bitting was a team captain on a state title-winning harrier team at Mt. San Antonio College.

She also helped launch Dash for the Bash (later renamed Race the Reserve), which raises money for each year’s senior class at Coupeville High School.

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Ivy Rudat is one of 33 Coupeville Middle School athletes signed up for cross country. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

“Here we go again!!!!”

A new season of middle school cross country kicks off Thursday, and Coupeville coach Elizabeth Bitting couldn’t be more excited.

“Would you take a look at the roster!” she said. “It’s a big one!! This warms my heart.”

While the roster may ebb and flow a bit before the first meet, Bitting is currently expecting 33 athletes for the first day of practice.

The highlight for the Wolves arrives Oct. 12, when CMS hosts its first-ever home middle school meet at Fort Casey Park.

For anyone wondering, Coupeville’s coach is a perfect hype machine for the event.

“The course is, of course, magnificent, beautiful, breathtaking, jaw dropping, the most scenic in the league!

“But I am biased,” Bitting added with a big smile.

 

The roster as it sits now:

 

GIRLS:

8th grade:

Tirsit Cannon
Lydia Price
Ivy Rudat

 

7th grade:

Amelia Crowder
Ari Cunningham
Olivia Hall
Alexandra Lo
Emma McFadden
Laken Simpson
Mikayla Wagner
Mary Western
Marin Winger
Devon Wyman

 

6th grade:

Hailey Goldman
Ellie Marshall
Allie Powers
Sage Stavros
Maci Wofford
Camilla Wolfe

 

BOYS:

8th grade:

Zach Blitch
Kenny Jacobsen
Axel Marshall
Dylan Robinett

 

7th grade:

Isaiah Allen
Beckett Green
Johnny Jacobsen
Roger Martinez-Moreno
Nathan Niewald
Max Ohme

 

6th grade:

Avery Eelkema
Ossian Merkel
Cyrus Sparacio
Andre Volanos-Gerber

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Elizabeth Bitting (left) and Paige Spangler, always ready for a run. (Photos property Spangler)

They’re ultra-committed.

On a day when the heat and humidity in Coupeville sapped most folks, Wolf cross country coaches Paige Spangler and Elizabeth Bitting couldn’t be stopped.

The duo overcame the weather Thursday, pounding their way through an ultra-marathon.

Darkness comes, and they’re still going strong.

Averaging 5.2 miles every four hours across a 24-hour span, Bitting and Spangler ran a 50K, which breaks down to 31.2 miles.

They kicked things off at 5 AM, finishing the sixth and final leg at the Coupeville pier as midnight approached.

The finish line!

As Spangler and Bitting prep for the start of the school running season — the former is the high school coach, while the latter heads up the middle school program — they lead by example.

Spangler is training for the Chicago Marathon, which goes down Oct. 9.

 

If you’d like to help the Wolf harrier coach with expenses, pop over to:

https://fundraisers.hakuapp.com/paige-spangler?referral_source=FBK&fbclid=IwAR3cu0kTmNd3IoqumvQfqBTKJx2WDk0_JsOUYIWVln4WYZzjepBe45aJAuo

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Coupeville Athletic Director Willie Smith is super-excited about the return of middle school sports. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Two on deck, one off the schedule.

Coupeville Middle School is offering cross country and volleyball this fall but has discontinued its boys soccer program and is directing interested players to local rec leagues.

Practice for CMS runners begins Sept. 1, with the spikers hitting the court Sept. 12.

The fall season plays out through the end of Oct., then is followed by basketball in the winter and track in the spring.

With middle school volleyball, the plan is to have players in grades 6-8 divided across three teams by talent level.

Matches played Monday or Tuesday will operate with level one playing first, followed by two and three.

The schedule flips and goes 3-2-1 when matches are contested on Wednesday or Thursday.

Both sports welcome back returning coaches, with Elizabeth Bitting mentoring the harriers and the duo of Cris Matochi and Katie Kiel calling the shots for volleyball.

 

Schedules for the young Wolves:

 

CROSS COUNTRY:

Sat-Sept. 17 — @ Westling Invitational (South Whidbey) — (10:00)
Wed-Sept. 21 — @ Sultan (3:30)
Sat-Sept. 24 — @ King’s Invite — (12:00)
Thur-Sept. 29 — @ Granite Falls — (3:30)
Fri-Oct. 7 — @ Hole in the Wall (Lakewood) — (3:30)
Wed-Oct. 12 — HOME meet (Fort Casey) — (3:30)
Wed-Oct. 19 — @ Cascade League Championships (South Whidbey) — (3:30)

 

VOLLEYBALL:

Thur-Sept. 29 — @ Langley — (3:30)
Mon-Oct. 9 — Lakewood — (3:15)
Wed-Oct. 5 — Sultan — (3:15)
Mon-Oct. 10 — King’s — (3:15)
Thur-Oct. 13 — @ Granite Falls — (3:15)
Tues-Oct. 18 — @ Northshore Christian — (3:30)
Thur-Oct. 20 — @ Sultan — (3:15)
Mon-Oct. 24 — Langley — (3:15)

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