Posts Tagged ‘Ethan Spark’

Ethan Spark celebrates a well-timed three-ball. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

A superb passer and a dangerous scorer, Spark was electrifying on the soccer pitch.

“Just give me the dang ball!”

Splash. Splash. Splash.

It’s the sound of a high-arcing three-point bomb dropping back to Earth and gently snapping the bottom of the net while knifing the collective heart of five rivals.

It’s the sound a soccer ball makes after it travels half the length of the field, exploding off the toes of a marksman, then whistling past defenders and the goalie to bury itself, improbably but wonderfully, in the back of the net.

It’s the sound Ethan Spark made when he worked.

The 2018 Coupeville High School grad was a cold-blooded killer and thriller during his time in a Wolf uniform, and it’s for that we induct him today into the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame.

After this, when you look at the top of the blog, up under the Legends tab, you’ll find Spark hanging out with big sis Jenn, as both of Kali Barrio’s children take up residence in our little digital hall o’ wonders.

During his time on the pitch and hard-court, Ethan was Coupeville’s answer to Scottie Pippen, and I mean that with a deep amount of respect.

Michael Jordan was Michael Jordan, but never forget Pippen was an NBA Hall of Fame player, a six-time champ, and one of the best to ever pick up a basketball.

Spark played alongside Hunter Smith on the basketball court, and the Leyva cousins (Abraham, Aram, and Derek) plus Will Nelson, on the soccer pitch, some of the most electrifying athletes CHS has witnessed.

But they, like Jordan, became better because they had Pippen running alongside them.

On the basketball court, Spark was a fearless shooter, one who lived to gut other team’s with three-balls a-droppin’.

He fully believed he could hit any shot, from any angle on the floor, at any point of the game, and he backed that up more often than not.

And every time Spark elevated, slight smirk on his face, and drilled the bottom out of the net, he opened things up for Smith, and made it tougher for other teams to focus on the high-scoring rampager.

Across two varsity hoops seasons, Spark dropped in 352 points, which puts him #68 on the CHS boys career scoring list, a chart which covers 102 seasons of Wolf basketball.

He could have finished higher if he had been more selfish, but Spark was also a strong, and willing, passer who often delighted in sucking the defense to him, then dishing it to a suddenly wide-open Smith, Joey Lippo, or Gabe Wynn.

Ethan was also fond of teaming up with Hunter Downes as the duo burrowed deep into their rival’s heads.

Not afraid to exchange elbows with larger players, both played with nice lil’ chips on their shoulders, provoking their opponents into lapses in judgement, then strolling away, smirks intact, as the refs punished the other guy.

That carried onto the soccer pitch, where Spark played rough ‘n ready, while also showcasing one of the best scoring touches in the game.

Like his older sister and her bionic leg, Ethan was the guy the Wolves went to when they needed someone to crush a ball from deep in his own territory.

He could air the ball out, but also showed a sometimes uncanny touch, using his long shots as weapons, and not just as a way to clear the ball from his own side of the field.

With 17 career goals, Spark stands #5 on the CHS boys soccer career scoring chart, though he’s being a bit short-changed.

Injuries took away much of his senior season, preventing him from keeping pace with Nelson, who tallied 20 scores across four seasons.

But, when he was healthy, Spark was Pippen, fully capable of roasting teams by himself, but also a highly-efficient set-up man, his passes slicing through defenses to set up the Leyva trio for a hail of goals.

And yet, with all the three-balls and the game-busting penalty kicks, the moment I will most remember from his career didn’t involve a single point.

It came during his freshman season, when he was a fast-rising JV hoops star intent on blowing up everyone in his sight.

Sometimes literally.

Chasing a loose ball as it careened towards the sideline, Spark reached the point where 99% of players would stop, then jammed the gas pedal through the floor.

Flinging his arm out at the last millisecond to redirect the ball back onto the court, he exploded through a wall of chairs.

CHS players and coaches flew through the air like bowling pins, as Spark spun towards the locker room door and completely, absolutely destroyed a large water jug that was minding its own business.

Complete devastation ruled the land. Referees stood with their mouths agape.

Bodies and chairs were everywhere, and in the middle of where the tornado touched down stood Spark, drenched head to toe in water.

From somewhere to his left, Wolf coach Dustin Van Velkinburgh plucked himself from the floor, shaking his head.

“You crazy man! You crazy… and I like it!!”

Slight nod, slight smirk, and Spark loped away to the other end of the court, having taken the first step on a rampage which would carry him to the Hall of Fame.

Scottie Pippen would have been proud.

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Jacob Smith catches a ride with Sofia Hassapis at the lock-in before the Senior trip. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

The Class of 2018 boasted a strong class of athletes, including (l to r) Hunter Downes, Nick Etzell, Hunter Smith, William Nelson, Ethan Spark and Cameron Toomey-Stout.

Julian Welling takes Katrina McGranahan for a spin.

Maddy Hilkey was on hand to celebrate Spark’s graduation.

Homecoming King Dylan Hummel snags a photo op with Abby Parker (left) and Kyla Briscoe.

Homecoming Queen Mira Mostafavinassab celebrates graduation with mom Jen.

Toomey-Stout wows the lil’ kids as Wolf seniors walk the hallways at Coupeville Elementary.

   New grad Claire Mietus has the full backing of her family as she takes the next step in her life.

   Ariah Bepler (left) and Jesse Hester join Parker and Briscoe for Senior Brunch at Camp Casey.

   One family, two graduations. Allison Wenzel (high school) gives big sis Rachel (college) a tour of the dock.

We’re playing a little game of catch-up here.

My month-long “vacation” kicked off right after the state track meet, so I missed running any graduation pics for the Coupeville High School Class of 2018.

Well, better late than never.

Sort of like using the headline above, which references Lost, a TV show which debuted way back in 2004 … before this year’s seniors were even in school.


Want to see more? Pop over to:

Senior parade and brunch:




Lock-in before senior trip:


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Ethan Spark rolled to a win in the 6th annual Coupeville Sports Athlete Supreme poll. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

The early days of a future champ.

Early in his high school basketball career, Ethan Spark blew up an entire bench.

Chasing a loose ball, he exploded through a wall of chairs, knocking other players left and right, before ultimately spinning and completely destroying a large water jug that was minding its own business.

In the aftermath, with bodies, chairs and water everywhere, Spark surveyed the scene and a small smile graced his face.

I’d like to think he was wearing the same face over the past 100 hours as his fan club carved a bloody path through the voting for the 6th annual Coupeville Sports Athlete Supreme.

Team Spark hit hard and fast, built a pretty-insurmountable 8,000 vote lead for its Wolf senior, went quiet for a bit, then dropped the hammer in the final stages.

The supporters of sophomore Scout Smith, trying to carry her to a win like older brothers CJ and Hunter, made a sustained 24-hour run to carve the lead in half.

But, once the lead dipped below 4,000 votes, Spark’s support crew went ballistic.

Throwing down 100 votes in 10 seconds at one point (seriously) they made sure their guy would come out on top.

And, of course he did, joining Nick Streubel, Amanda Fabrizi, CJ Smith, Hunter Smith and Joey Lippo (who still holds the record for most votes tallied in a single year) as “winners” of a totally fake award.

After 100 hours of voting, the top five from a field of 25 were:

Spark (18,374 votes)

Scout Smith (8,787)

Danny Conlisk (1,300)

Kyle Rockwell (782)

Matt Hilborn (746)

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   An ankle injury has kept CHS soccer captain Ethan Spark sidelined for the last week-and-a-half. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Three men down, they came up two goals short.

Missing starters Ethan Spark, James Wood and Sam Wynn, who have combined for eight goals this season, the Coupeville High School boys soccer squad fell 5-3 Friday in a high-scoring affair at Port Townsend.

The loss drops the Wolves to 3-3 in Olympic League play, 4-6-2 overall, and into a tie with the RedHawks (3-3, 3-7) for second-place in the four-team conference.

With Coupeville’s defeat, Klahowya (6-0, 9-2-1), which has a three-game lead with three to play, and holds tiebreakers on CHS and PTHS, clinches its fourth-straight league crown.

With Chimacum (0-6, 0-8) mired in the basement, both the Wolves and RedHawks seem likely to earn playoff berths, but the rubber game of their three-game season series will likely decide who gets the #2 playoff seed.

In an unusual twist of scheduling, that game arrives almost immediately, as Port Townsend travels to Coupeville Tuesday for a 4 PM game.

Barring a miracle, the Wolves will almost certainly be without Spark for that clash.

The senior captain severely sprained an ankle competing for a ball in practice a week-and-a-half ago, said mom Kali Barrio, and has been unable to bear weight on the leg ever since.

The one positive is x-rays came back negative on a fracture.

“We’re hoping for no torn ligaments, but only time will tell and a possible MRI,” Barrio said.

Missing key players, the Wolves came out a bit flat.

“We failed to match their energy and intensity, and Port Townsend seemed to get the lucky bounce,” said CHS coach Kyle Nelson.

Down 2-1 at the half, the Wolves swapped goals with the RedHawks in the second half and were still within 4-3 with 15 minutes on the clock.

Coupeville was unable to get the equalizer, however, and gave up a final score in the waning moments.

One bright spot Friday came courtesy sophomore sensation Derek Leyva, who torched the RedHawks for two goals while playing on his birthday.

The scores were #19 and #20 on the season for the first-year Wolf, and the second tally ties him with cousin Abraham Leyva for the CHS boys single-season scoring record.

Coupeville’s other score was helped along by its rivals, as Port Townsend inadvertently scored an “own goal.”

With 44 goals and three regular-season games remaining, this year’s team is in hot pursuit of the 2016 Wolf booters.

That squad, led by Abraham Leyva’s record-setting senior season, scored 48 goals, the most CHS has recorded in the past decade.

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   Junior goaltender Brian Roberts is one of 11 returning letter winners for the CHS boys soccer squad. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

One last chance to take down the big dog.

As the Coupeville High School boys soccer team enters its fourth, and final, season in the 1A Olympic League, the Wolves will once again be on the chase to topple Klahowya.

The Eagles have been the dominant program in the conference, and boast a 21-0 mark in league play across the past three seasons.

Meanwhile, the Wolf booters have three consecutive third-place finishes, meaning they need to knock off Port Townsend as well as KSS.

“Klahowya has qualified for the state tournament the last few years and is always the team to beat in our league,” said Coupeville coach Kyle Nelson.

“Port Townsend has had our number the last couple of years, but we will be looking forward to our continued tight rivalry.”

The Wolves have a 15-game schedule, kicking off the season by helping debut their school’s new stadium Saturday, Mar. 10 against 2A Olympic.

Growth and development will go hand-in-hand with trying to notch wins.

“My goal is to form a well-organized, disciplined, exciting to watch squad,” Kyle Nelson said. “And with anyone who watches us play this year seeing improvement through the course of the season.

“I would like to finish with a winning record and a berth to the district playoffs.”

Coupeville’s biggest strength will be its veteran players, as the Wolves return 11 letter winners from last year’s squad.

Senior midfielders William Nelson, a three-time All-Conference pick, and Ethan Spark head up the team as captains.

Joining them are senior defenders Laurence Boado, Hunter Downes and Axel Partida, junior defenders Uriah Kastner and Teo Keilwitz and junior goaltenders Dewitt Cole and Brian Roberts.

Sophomore midfielders Aram Leyva and James Wood round out the key returnees.

“We are returning quite a few starting varsity players in most positions on the field,” Kyle Nelson said. “We also have a number of players who played with a select team in the off-season.

“So, we have experience on our side this year.”

Leyva and Spark are the top returning goal scorers, as each beat rival goalies six times a year ago.

William Nelson (4), Downes (2), Wood (2) and Boado (1) also found the back of the net in 2017.

Coupeville’s coaching staff, which includes first-year assistant Luke Pelant, a former All-Conference player for the Wolves before his graduation in 2013, is also hopeful of getting help from several newcomers.

“We will also be looking to incorporate some new players who look to be important to our team,” Kyle Nelson said. “But it can take a while for both the defense and the new players to fully integrate.”

Three who have a solid shot at seeing consistent playing time are foreign exchange student Pedro Gamarra, sophomore Derek Leyva and freshman Sam Wynn.

The first two can slide between playing at the forward and midfield slots, while the young gun is a defender.

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