Posts Tagged ‘Elizabeth Bitting’

Through rain or sunshine (probably rain), the Coupeville Middle School cross country runners are ready for a new season. (Photo by Morgan White)

Cross country is booming.

A little over a week out from her team’s first meet, Coupeville Middle School coach Elizabeth Bitting has 27 runners on her roster, a group which includes a hardy mix of returning veterans and first-time competitors.

It’s an almost perfectly balanced roster as well, with 14 boys and 13 girls answering the call of the trail.

One new quirk is the addition of sixth-graders to the mix, as Washington state has opened cross country and track to them starting this school year.

The youngest members of the team won’t count towards point totals, but get a chance to discover the sport, which is invaluable.

“They will be attending all races with us and running in all races,” Bitting said. “They get to experience the whole adventure and get a sneak peak of their competition in the future. This is a good thing!

“Just last cross country season 6th grade athletes were not able to participate in any sport at the middle school level and now they can participate in cross country and track. Strides are being made.”

As the early practices have played out, Bitting has been thrilled to see how her runners are already embracing the sport.

“Week one has gone AMAZING!!!!,” she said. “All these students are incredible athletes. They have been working so hard and already showing so much dedication.

“I’ve even had to increase some of the runs because they were just up to it,” Bitting added. “For example, day one, I ran the route backwards and when I met up with the front pack I casually asked, “Up to running further?” Without a beat the leader answers, “Sure. Why not?” So they ran farther!”

The CMS harriers make their competitive debut Saturday, Sept. 21 at South Whidbey’s Carl Westling Invitational.


The roster:



Dianne Brown
Teagan Calkins
Aleksia Jump
Brynn Parker
Liza Zustiak


Edie Bittner
Aubrey Blitch
Lillian Stanwood
Ayden Wyman


Erica McGrath
Samantha McMahon
Sofia Milasich
Marlen Montiel




Cody Badger
Adrian Cunningham
Malachi Somes
George Spear


Jack Porter
Johnny Porter
Landon Roberts
Thomas Strelow


Alex Clark
Dayvon Donavon
Hayden Harry
Hank Milnes
Gabe Reed
Cole White

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Claire Mayne and her fellow CMS track and field stars are set to kick off a new season next month. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

On to the next sport!

Middle school girls basketball ended less than 24 hours ago, and already we’re looking ahead to the next season, as Coupeville’s 7th and 8th graders head outside in a few weeks.

CMS track and field kicks off practice Apr. 9, with the first meet set for five weeks from today.

The schedule, as it sits today:


Wed-Apr. 24 — @King’s (3:15)
Wed-May 1 — HOME vs. S. Whidbey, King’s (3:15)
Wed-May 8 — HOME vs. Sultan/Lakewood (3:15)
Thur-May 16 — @Sultan (3:30)
Wed-May 22 — @South Whidbey (3:15)
Tue-May 28 — @Lakewood (League Prelims) (3:15)
Thur-May 30 — @Lakewood (League Finals) (3:15)

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Cole White, here with Coupeville Middle School cross country coach Elizabeth Bitting, finished 9th Wednesday at the league championships. (Photo by Morgan White)

They saved their best for the final lap.

Competing at the league championships Wednesday, the Coupeville Middle School cross country squad compiled 12 PR’s and capped an impressive return to the sport.

CMS, which hasn’t fielded a harrier program in 20+ years, finished 3rd in the girls team standings and 5th in the boys. Host Langley won both titles.

“I can not say enough about how proud I am of these athletes,” said Wolf coach Elizabeth Bitting. “To hear them strategize, to see them get pumped and ready, to see them cheering for their teammates as well as other runners, was beyond anything I ever imagined!

“What a truly fabulous season!!”

Coupeville’s return to competition started and ended on the same course at South Whidbey High School, and seeing how her runners had progressed in their first season was a true joy for their coach.

“Not only did 12 of 15 runners PR, but they blew their first times out of the water!,” Bitting said.

Three Wolves — Allison Nastali, Helen Strelow and Hayden Harry — paced the pack, each dropping their best time by between one minute, 29 seconds and 1:32.

“Look at those improvements! 1:30 is HUMONGOUS in running! WOWZA!!,” Bitting said.

“If only we could have extended the season a few weeks longer!,” she added. “They worked hard. They were strong! They finished tired! Already looking forward to the next cross country season! So proud! Super proud!”


Complete Tuesday results – 1.7 mile course:



Carolyn Lhamon (9th)12:41.09
Claire Mayne (11th)12:45.78
Helen Strelow (19th)13:09.81
Allison Nastali (27th)14:35.08
Sam McMahon (29th)14:51.38
Erica McGrath (31st)15:07.69
Cristina McGrath (32nd)15:17.97



Cole White (9th) 11:30.95
Hank Milnes (17th)11:58.94
Aiden Anderson (21st)12:10.71
Tate Wyman (29th)12:37.28
Justin Wilkinson (37th)12:56.19
Hayden Harry (38th)12:56.61
Andrew Williams (53rd) 14:08.28
Alex Clark (65th) 15:20.95

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Coupeville Middle School cross country coach Elizabeth Bitting, winner of the “CHS/CMS Top Fall Coach” poll.

Bitting (back, second from right) has always been a pro at hitting the tape first.

I love it when a plan comes together.

In a blatant bid to spike my page views, Coupeville Sports launched the “CHS/CMS Top Fall Coach” poll Saturday morning, a battle royal in which the winner would get a warm glow in their chest, and not much more.

Spoiler alert: it worked. It worked really, really well.

The 48-hour poll-tacular gave me a strong Saturday, then carried me Sunday to the single-biggest day in the history of the blog.

Yep, you pound out 6,405 articles across six years and two months, and all it takes is a poll to break my little corner of the internet…

So, a big thank you to the 21 Coupeville coaches, and their rabid fan-bases, who went toe-to-toe for 48 hours. My page view counter appreciates you all!

And in the end, who was the other winner, you ask?

After a back-and-forth brawl in which at least five different coaches made sustained runs, the final hours turned into a showdown between CHS cheer coach BreAnna Boon and CMS cross country guru Elizabeth Bitting.

First one was ahead, then the other, then back to the first, then back to the second, as the war raged on across time and space.

In the end, as the 9 AM Monday deadline clicked past, it was Bitting who triumphed, finishing with 7,987 votes to her friendly rival’s 7,295.

She joins football assistant coach Ryan King and track head coach Randy King, both winners in polls from previous school years, in the pantheon of coaching poll champs.

Rounding out the top five this time around were three CHS assistant coaches — football’s Bennett Richter (4,036) and Tyson Boon (1,891) and cheer’s Hailey Bell (1,652).

And hey, while only one coach could be the big champ (of a prestigious, but totally non-existent award), they all helped Coupeville Sports’s bottom line.

Which makes them all the real MVP’s.

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Cristina McGrath (left) and Sam McMahon have helped lead the revival of Coupeville Middle School cross country. (Morgan White photo)

It took two decades to happen, so Elizabeth Bitting wants to enjoy every moment.

As the first Coupeville Middle School cross country season in 20+ years plays out, the Wolf coach has taught her young runners to embrace the moment, while building for the future.

Tuesday, the Wolves ran in their final regular-season meet down in the wilds of Sultan, and their effort continues to impress their mentor.

“Both boys and girls ran admirably!,” Bitting said. “Some had their eyes set on their competition and ran accordingly.

“I am very proud of the runner’s performances today,” she added. “They put their whole hearts into their races and ALWAYS have a good time!”

CMS wraps up its revival season Oct. 17 at the league meet, which will be held at South Whidbey High School. That will feature Granite Falls, King’s, Langley, Northshore Christian, Sultan, Lakewood and Coupeville.

“Next up are the championships!,” Bitting said “They gotta leave everything on the field next Wednesday!!”


Complete Tuesday results – 1.7 mile course:



Carolyn Lhamon 12:17
Claire Mayne 12:29
Helen Strelow 12:59
Erica McGrath 14:10
Cristina McGrath 14:34
Sam McMahon 14:45
Allison Nastali 14:46



Cole White 11:09
Hank Milnes 11:48
Aiden Anderson 12:00
Tate Wyman 12:34
Justin Wilkinson 13:14
Hayden Harry 13:25
Andrew Williams 13:53
Alex Clark 15:13


PS — If you’re wondering why a Tuesday race is just now hitting the internet on Thursday, it’s because we’ve been waiting almost 48 hours for meet officials to post times on athletic.net. Things move slowly in Sultan…

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