Posts Tagged ‘Emma Smith’

Wolf mom Fawn Gustafson unleashes the bubbly as CHS baseball celebrates a league title. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Celebrations galore.

As we use the pandemic shutdown to continue our look back through the 23 million photos to run on Coupeville Sports, we arrive in the year 2016.

A mix of action, reaction, and, yes, celebrations galore, these are the 20 pics which I think best capture the year that was.

Sage Renninger eyeballs McKenzie Bailey.

Joey Lippo holds on to the ball with a death-grip during a collision at the plate.

Coupeville’s William Nelson (on right) gets his head into the game.

Stack ’em to the sky.

Booster Club shenanigans.

Yoinks! Emma Smith gets diabolical with her tip.

Brenden Gilbert is ready to settle down.

Megan DePorter (right) gives Kalia Littlejohn a victory hug.

Allison Wenzel, coiled like a panther ready to strike.

Abby Parker has taught her young protégé well. (Kathy O’Brien photo)

Clay Reilly stretches for the first down. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Sarah Wright is 5’9, or 6’4 with the hair.

Hope Lodell (left) and Payton Aparicio wait for the bass to drop.

Jae LeVine, scamp.

McKenzie Bailey responds to coach Ken Stange’s suggestion the team run wind sprints.

Hunter Downes (left) and Ariah Bepler frolic through the spring flowers.

Makana Stone gets tangled up.

Celebrate good times, come on!

Hunter Smith believes he can fly.

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Prairie legend Emma Smith, back in her days as a Coupeville volleyball ace. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Smith, right next to the helmet of the main football player, is front and center in the latest Montana State University football advertising blitz.

From Cow Town to Bozeman, Emma Smith is still in the spotlight.

The former Coupeville High School athlete, who went to state in both volleyball and track and field, is currently a freshman at Montana State University.

While there, she spent a chunk of her fall attending Bobcat football games, and now a photo featuring her and other MSU students is at the heart of the gridiron program’s latest advertising blitz.

The poster seen above popped up on Twitter Wednesday, quickly setting the internet abuzz.

Smith, who was a First-Team All-Conference pick as a hard-hitting volleyball spiker during her CHS days, is part of one of Coupeville’s strongest athletic dynasties.

Her branch of the Smith family includes aunt Joli, a three-sport supernova during my days writing at the Whidbey News-Times, and uncle Todd, an All-Conference pick on both sides of the ball for the ’90 CHS football team, the only undefeated squad in program history.

And then there’s grandpa Steve, one of the most physically-gifted athletes the town has ever witnessed.

Today, though, the spotlight is firmly on Emma, no matter what town she’s currently calling home.

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TJ Rickner rumbles down low. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Hawthorne Wolfe drops a dagger.

Cody Roberts prepares to launch a pass.

Jean Lund-Olsen lets the ball fly.

Miles Davidson ponders his options.

Past and present Wolf stars camp out in the bleachers.

Daniel Olson rains down buckets.

Jacobi Pilgrim (left) and Sean Toomey-Stout make life rough for a rival.

One final burst of hoops action.

Saturday’s matchup against visiting Nooksack Valley was the final time the Coupeville High School boys basketball teams will play this year, or this decade.

On hand to document the final shots, passes, and rebounds was wanderin’ paparazzi John Fisken, who brings us the pics seen above.

To take a gander at everything he shot, and maybe buy some glossies for the grandparents, pop over to:


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Emma Smith, part of one of the prairie’s most-successful sports families, follows her grandfather and aunt into the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Smith was a league, district, and bi-district champ in the shot put.

On the volleyball court, a Valkyrie unleashed.

Emma Smith was born to be good, but she made herself great.

Her grandfather, Steve, was one of the most physically-impressive athletes Coupeville has ever seen, and her aunt, Joli, remains, to this day, one of the most talented Wolves I have covered on a regular basis.

Toss in Emma’s parents, her sisters, her uncles, and her many, many relatives, and there is no question the Smith family can stand up there with the all-time success stories of prairie athletics.

So, she could have coasted. Could have let strong genes carry her to a certain point, and let it be.

But she didn’t.

Emma pushed beyond that, put in the work, year after year, practice after practice, camp after camp, road trip after road trip, and became a top-tier athlete.

She was often majestic on the volleyball court, rising up to the heavens to smash the ball, sending her rivals scrambling for cover and finding none.

Then, when spring came, you would find Emma off to the edges, lofting the shot put and letting the discus fly far away, content to bust PR’s in the relative quiet of field events.

Her track career ended, appropriately, with an especially-strong senior season, a campaign in which she torched the joint three weeks running.

Wins in the shot put at the league, district, and bi-district meet assured Emma of a trip to state (she also advanced in the discus), and gave her 10 first-place finishes during her high school days.

To that you can add five wins during her middle school career — three of those came in relays, proving she had speed to go with the upper-body strength — and you have a portrait of a track star who used her time and opportunities well.

But when we think of Emma, an intelligent, graceful young woman, what Wolf fans will remember most is her time on the volleyball court.

She is blessed with height, with reach, and with quick reflexes, and, to that, she added passion, heart, and fire.

On a volleyball court, Emma burned to be brilliant.

You could see it in how she carried herself, how she prepared, how she played.

During her junior season, Emma was an integral part of a Wolf squad which made it to the state tourney, the first CHS spiker unit to make the trek in 13 years.

Scan the stats for the past four seasons — she was the lone freshman listed on the full-time varsity roster back in 2015 — and her impact is obvious.

Playing alongside fellow big hitters like Katrina McGranahan and Maya Toomey-Stout, she rained down spikes, drilled winners, made the ball slash a chunk out of the court, then skid far, far away from the opposing team.

But while she could, and often did, fill up a stat sheet, Emma was someone you needed to see play in person to fully appreciate how good she was, and is.

She was an effective, often-dangerous, server, and someone who sold out time and again, fighting alongside long-time running mate and co-captain Ashley Menges, refusing to let plays die or big-name schools skate by on reputation alone.

The enduring image of Emma, though, will be of her elevating skyward, right arm swinging down to smash the air out of the volleyball, rival players scattering before a force of nature unleashed.

Well, that and her holding her niece after games while the lil’ girl beamed like 1,000 lights had all clicked on at once.

Emma is obviously a great aunt, and that image will endure, as well.

But, while the president of her fan club was being restrained in the stands, the image which transfixed Wolf fans, and rival coaches, who voted her as one of the league’s best, was of Emma going full-on Valkyrie.

No team felt the pain as much as South Whidbey, and the prairie terminator saved her greatest high school sports moment for the night of her 18th birthday — Sept. 25, 2018.

It was Armageddon, but bigger, with two high-flying teams going as toe-to-toe as you possibly can.

A look at the stat sheet afterwards showed the Wolves and Falcons virtually identical in every single category across five torrid sets.

The difference? Emma, having the sort of night every athlete should get at least once in their career.

I could recap it here, or you could go one better, bounce to https://coupevillesports.com/2018/09/26/there-can-only-be-one/, and marinate in the whole hyperventilating, hyperbole-filled article I wrote while the buzz of the gym was still reverberating in my ears.

It starts with “18 years to the day she was born, Emma Smith committed cold-blooded murder. And her mom loved every freakin’ second of it,” and then just keeps going bigger and bigger from there.

I like to think it’s a fitting testament to a young woman who is a great athlete, and a better person. Or, at least I hope so.

This article, the one you’re currently reading, is, probably quite obviously, a build-up to inducting Emma into the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame, the third entry from her immediate family.

After this you’ll find her at the top of the blog, under the Legends tab, right where she belongs, having earned her spot based on her play, her work, and her attitude.

I hope, as she goes forward and kills it in real life, she will occasionally look back and remember her prep sports days and nights.

I hope the good memories never fade for her, and that she will always take happiness in knowing how highly she was thought of by Wolf Nation.

And, one day, maybe when her own daughter takes the volleyball court for the first time, I hope Emma leans forward and whispers, “It’s going to be great. Your mom was a freakin’ Valkyrie, and you will be, too.”

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Coupeville High School senior Ryan Labrador received the US Marine Corp Athletic Achievement award Tuesday night. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Emma Smith spent much of her senior year collecting achievements and awards, and Tuesday was no different, as she was honored by the WIAA. (Konni Smith photo)

Dane Lucero joined Emma Smith in receiving the Cliff Gillies award. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Like Labrador, Ema Smith was honored by the Marines.

The awards flew fast and furious at Coupeville High School Tuesday night.

Along with the Male and Female Athlete of the Year winners being announced at the annual pre-graduation awards night, four other athletic honors were bestowed.

Ryan Labrador and Ema Smith received the U.S. Marine Corps Athletic Achievement award, while Dane Lucero and Emma Smith took home the Cliff Gillies Award.

The Marine Corps award recognizes athletes who are “exemplary young citizens and role models for younger students,” while having “exhibited the personal traits of courage, poise, self-confidence, and leadership while performing as a varsity athlete.”

The Gillies award is issued to a male and female athlete at each school in District 1, named in honor of the former Executive Director of the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association.

Gillies was the head honcho at the WIAA from 1982-93.

A longtime teacher, coach and administrator, he had a sizable impact during his time as Executive Director.

While Gillies fronted the association, it restructured the state football playoff system, developed a drug education program, and started a student scholarship/participation recognition award.

Lucero and Emma Smith were recognized for “their participation in student activities, academic achievement, sportsmanship and citizenship.”

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