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Posts Tagged ‘freshman’

Just a freshman, Kai Wong is already a two-way starter on the line for the Coupeville High School football squad. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Football is just a small part of Kai Wong’s vibrant life.

While the Coupeville High School freshman has made an immediate impact for the Wolves, starting on the line in the season opener against Port Townsend, he’s a big-picture guy who doesn’t limit himself to life on the gridiron.

“Honestly, I’m interested in a little bit of everything in life,” Wong said. “Everything has a sort of beauty to it that I can’t lay a finger on, but can’t get enough of.”

When not on the field, he enjoys playing video games and hanging out with friends and family.

And while he enjoys his home town, having moved to Coupeville during the latter half of his eighth grade year, Wong is looking forward to seeing what’s out beyond the horizon.

“One thing I’d absolutely love to do, however, would be to visit another country,” he said. “I’m fascinated by the wonders of the world that I haven’t experienced for myself yet.”

Wong, whose mom Becky would love to see him give baseball a try in the spring, approaches football with a very Zen attitude.

“I’m not actually that interested in sports, I simply play it because it’s all I know, and it’s a good way to get my energy out,” he said.

“Now, just because I’m not interested in sports, does not mean I wouldn’t love watching a beautiful play in any of them, even better if I did one.”

Wong came up through junior football programs, and having made the jump to high school, he’s beginning to develop an appreciation for all it offers.

“Football is the sport I know the most about, and I’ve grown up with it in my life,” he said.

“To be honest, I never really realize how much I enjoy being an athlete until I’m asked it,” Wong added. “It’s a good way of spending your energy, keeping you in shape and your body active.

“Not to mention, when you’re in a group with others, it’s nice to know that the hardships you go through can help your teammates.”

One of 10 freshmen on the Wolf varsity roster, Wong has already jumped to the forefront, emerging as a dependable two-way player for CHS coach Marcus Carr.

While he’s having early success, the young lineman hasn’t let it go to his head.

“If I had to flatter myself and list my strengths as an athlete, I’d have to say that really the only thing going for me is my mindset to get better,” Wong said. “With this kind of mindset, I know that whatever I’m doing to get better will allow me to support others in some way.”

He wants to work on “my physical conditioning in general, especially my stamina,” with the intent of putting together a solid prep career for himself.

“As goals for high school and football, I wish to leave a legacy that I can be proud of,” Wong said. “And make sure my schoolmates have one under their belt too, thanks to me.”

Helping drive him forward, as a football player, student and young man with a bright future, is the support of those around him.

His coaches and friends have a decided impact on his life, but those closest to him remain his primary inspiration.

“My family. Without a doubt, my family,” he said. “They’re the best I could ever ask for, and they’re one of the greatest reasons I always push forward through life and its hardships.

“I doubt I could have gone nearly as far as I have already without them in my life.”

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Scott Hilborn, who will be a freshman at Coupeville High School this fall, rumbles for yardage in a middle school game. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

The younger brother is ready to make a big name for himself.

As he preps for his freshman year at Coupeville High School, Scott Hilborn is among the most-anticipated athletes headed towards their fall debut.

A standout football and baseball player during his middle school days, he has the same talent and drive which made older brother Matt a CHS star in the same sports over the past four years.

While his older sibling has graduated, Scott is ready to start writing his own success story.

“I really enjoy the opportunity to compete against others,” he said. “And, in addition, it helps me stay in shape.”

That, and farm work, as he gets plenty of time in the barn when at home.

Parents Steve and Wendi Hilborn own Penn Cove Farms, which makes Matt and Scott throwbacks to the olden days in Coupeville, when many top athletes toiled on local farms.

When he’s not knee-deep in the manure, the younger Hilborn enjoys math class, and proving himself on the diamond and gridiron.

He’s been at baseball longer, with his dad as his coach throughout little league play, and would give that sport the edge when it comes to picking a favorite pastime.

“Baseball is my favorite sport,” Hilborn said. “Just because I have been playing it since I was little and I just started football.”

When he steps back and takes a look at his skill-set, he sees strengths, but also wouldn’t mind a sudden growth spurt.

“I think I excel at agility and hand/eye coordination,” Hilborn said. “However, my size is really holding me back.”

But, while he might not be a tree topper heading into his freshman year, don’t sleep on him any time soon.

Having watched him play a couple of years, I’m here to tell you his speed, his tenacity, his strength (farm work, good for every Coupeville athlete!), and his intangibles make him one to watch.

If he has half the career his brother did, Scott Hilborn will walk away from high school with his fair share of praise and awards.

But, trust me, he wants more than just that.

“My main goal in high school is just to be better than my brother,” Hilborn said.

And then he went right back to work.

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Helen Strelow flies through the air while competing in the long jump. (Morgan White photo)

Helen Strelow couldn’t be stopped.

As she neared the end of her middle school days this spring, she nailed PR’s in two of her three events at the Cascade League Track and Field Championships.

Strelow saved her best performances in the 800 and long jump for that final meet, while also performing strongly in the discus.

Overall, she prospered under pressure the way every coach hopes their athletes will respond on the big stage.

Now, buoyed by that sweet swan song, she’s off to the next level.

Life as a freshman student/athlete at Coupeville High School awaits her this fall, and Strelow plans to keep running for team glory and personal accomplishment.

She’ll kick off a new school season with cross country, then return to track and field in the spring, keeping alive her status as a dual-threat.

Strelow was a strong competitor on a CMS cross country squad which helped bring the sport back to Coupeville after a two-decade absence, and she and the sport immediately meshed.

“I really enjoy cross country, because everyone is so nice and happy,” she said. “I enjoy running. It makes me happy, reduces stress, and I enjoy being part of a team.

“My parents encouraged me to join cross country and supported me,” she added. “Coach (Elizabeth) Bitting pushes me to run faster, as did my team.”

When she’s not out on the trails or hanging out at the track oval, Strelow can often be found creating new masterpieces in a variety of art forms.

“I am primarily interested in the arts,” she said. “I like drawing, building, reading/writing, and listening/playing music.

“I spend my time experimenting with the arts I love.”

Strelow also enjoys spending time with family, and hails Mary Poppins, Man from U.N.C.L.E, and John Wayne’s Hatari! as her favorite movies.

As she prepares for the move from middle school to high school, she’s been working on fine-tuning her skills. That includes attending the recent Falcon Running Camp at Fort Casey.

“I think one of my strengths is being able to realize what I have done wrong or right and how to make corrections,” Strelow said. “I need to work on pacing myself better.

“I would like to get higher placings and reach my full potential as an athlete.”

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Jordyn Rogers, heaving the shot put as an 8th grader, was a three-sport athlete at Coupeville Middle School. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Rogers put in strong work at a summer volleyball camp at the University of Florida.

There’s another one on the way.

When Jordyn Rogers hits high school in September, she’ll be following in the footsteps of older siblings Chris and Ashleigh Battaglia, who have both been successful in multiple sports.

But the little sister is intent on making a name for herself, and recently spent a chunk of her summer getting ready for her debut as a freshman volleyball player.

Rogers took part in a summer spiker camp at the University of Florida, a school she’d like to attend once she hits college age.

While there, the incoming Wolf freshman was selected as a camper of the day while fine-tuning her volleyball skill set.

A three-sport athlete at CMS, where she played basketball and competed in track and field to go with volleyball, Rogers plans to shake things up a bit at the high school level.

She currently plans to drop basketball, and switch out track and field for softball when spring rolls around.

The one thing staying the same is volleyball, which she has played at both the school and club level.

“Volleyball is my favorite sport because it makes me happy and it’s fun learning the different things about it,” Rogers said.

“I would like to focus mainly on volleyball and try my best to be a part of every function they have, but stay active throughout the school year.”

Away from the court, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, while, in the classroom, she’s fascinated with what’s happening in the atmosphere.

“I love to learn about weather and would like to have a future in that field,” Rogers said.

While her brother and sister have set a positive example for her, on and off the playing field, her parents, Brian and Amanda Rogers, have played a crucial role in her life.

“My parents have always believed in me,” Jordyn said. “And when I wanted a bigger challenge, they would help with that.”

Like all young volleyball players, she’s working hard on every aspect of her game, from serves to sets to spikes.

But she’s also focusing on the smaller, but sometimes even more important skills, such as meshing well with her teammates. Having a well-rounded game should translate to future success.

“Being an athlete challenges me to always do my best and helps me to be more of a team player,” Rogers said. “I think my strengths are sportsmanship and dedication.

“I would like to work on keeping my head up and always striving to be a better team player.”

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Nicholas Armstrong will be a freshman at Coupeville High School this fall. (Photos courtesy Tara Armstrong)

He plans to play football and basketball for the Wolves.

Nicholas Armstrong arrived just in time.

A recent newcomer to the Coupeville School district — he wrapped up the last month of his middle school days at CMS — he’s eager to provide depth to the high school football program.

Armstrong makes the jump to freshman status at CHS this fall, and has already been on the field, putting in time with the Wolves during spring practice.

A big fan of the TV show The Office, he has his heart set on one day winning a college football or basketball scholarship.

He’ll be adding hoops to his resume in Coupeville, as it’s one of the few 1A schools in the state not to offer wrestling, which he competed in prior to arriving in Cow Town.

Armstrong is an equal opportunity athlete, one who competes hard in any sport he plays, but football will always be his go-to favorite.

“(I like it) because it’s a team and contact sport,” he said.

Whether on the field, the mat, or the hardwood, Armstrong enjoys “being able to do any sport and being good at it.”

When looking at his strengths and areas he’d like to improve on, he hails “being able to run for a long time” as one of his best traits.

Armstrong would like to “build a little more muscle,” and, with the support of his parents and friends, plans to continue to chase his sports dreams.

And for a Wolf football program in need of every player it can find, consider his arrival a blessing.

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