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Posts Tagged ‘Hall of Fame’

Yashmeen and Richard Wilson.

One of Coupeville’s most talented grads is in the fight of her life.

Yashmeen (Knox) Wilson, a three-sport star who has held the school’s record in the high jump for 22 years, was diagnosed in January with two forms of breast cancer.

This comes at a time when she, husband Richard (who has held the CHS boys record in the high jump since 2000), and their family are living in a hotel after their house was flooded.

Yashmeen was diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma Stage 2A/Grade 2 and Ductal Carcinoma in Situ Stage 2A/Grade 2.

She begins chemotherapy this coming Monday, and is scheduled for a double mastectomy in June.

In addition, current plans call for Yashmeen to be on Herceptin for a year and Tamoxflin for 5-10 years.

During her time at CHS, she was a standout student who also starred for Wolf volleyball, basketball, and track teams.

While she excelled in all of her sports, her legend has lingered longest in the world of track and field, as her name still sits on the school’s record board in the Coupeville gym.

Yashmeen’s best performance in the high jump — five feet, two inches in 1999 — has yet to be touched.

Of the 35 records on the CHS board (18 for the girls, 17 for the boys) her mark is one of just 10 remaining from the ’80s or ’90s.

For those who would like to help Yashmeen, Richard, and their children, there are several ways.

 

There is a meal train here:

Meal Train for The Wilson Family

 

And donations, which will be used to help with meals and medical bills, can be sent through Venmo, using @yazzy_land.

Venmo – Share Payments

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Chloe Wheeler let her bat do her talking. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

The quietest Wolf was loudest when it mattered most.

During the spring of 2019, I did something I haven’t done in the eight-year history of Coupeville Sports — attend every single game, home or away, for one team.

Writing this blog is a delicate, often tricky, balancing act, trying to be “fair” to all teams, and all sports.

You’ll always have some people who are grateful for whatever coverage their preferred rooting cause gets, and some who claim bias or neglect. It is what it is.

But in spring 2019, while still writing about every CHS track and field, baseball, tennis, and soccer contest — and attending a lot of those games and meets in person — I absolutely played favorites.

I hit the road with Darren and Kelly Crownover, parents of homer-thumping first-baseman Veronica, making it to every road game — even the ones rained out moments after we got there.

And, even when presented with multiple events on the same day here in Cow Town, I opted for the softball sluggers.

Turned out to be a smart choice, as that was the Wolf squad which went the furthest as a united team, returning to the state tourney for the first time in five seasons, and winning a game there for the first time since 2002.

As the guy forever hanging around the edge as CHS softball made its run, filled with a few heartrending losses, and a lot of epic wins, I had a chance to see the Wolf players in all their many moods.

Whether dancing on a rain-soaked field after a long, fruitless trip to Sultan, going bonkers after freshman Izzy Wells struck out the league’s most-dangerous slugger to cap the win which sent them to a league title, or just killing time on countless ferries, it was a team made up of wildly-diverse personalities.

One of my favorites quickly became Chloe Wheeler, a junior who bopped along like a feminine version of Matthew McConaughey, her grin often her only statement to the outside world.

As the season played out, I found out more about her — Darren Crownover can make anyone talk — and her plans for the future.

Chloe is highly-intelligent, a kind, caring young woman who proved on the diamond, and off, to be exceptionally-strong.

On a 2019 Wolf team which boasted the big bats of Sarah Wright and Veronica Crownover, and the explosive talents of young stars such as Chelsea Prescott and Scout Smith, she didn’t play every day.

But Chloe was ready every day.

Plug her in to the lineup, and she responded, giving you every ounce of hustle she had in the field and at the plate.

And, time and again, she proved to be an absolute killer in the spotlight.

A quiet assassin at the plate.

Her first high school hit was a thing of beauty, coming deep in the wilds at Granite Falls against the team which gave Coupeville its biggest struggle.

The Wolves and Tigers split four games in 2019, with CHS winning the last two, including a key playoff game which sent Granite home.

But, earlier in the season, as Coupeville tried to rally in the twilight, Chloe strode to the plate and launched a missile, rifling a two-run double to the deepest, darkest part of left field.

After watching her teammates struggle with the bat all afternoon, the quiet one mashed the crud out of the whirling orb, and it lit a fire under her fellow Wolves.

Hanging on the dugout fence, screaming Chloe’s name, they were reinvigorated, recharged, and rowdy as all get-out.

Granite Falls didn’t know it then, but what seemed like a surefire path to a league title and a trip to state for the Tigers vanished in that exact moment.

For the first time, you could see the Wolves really, truly no longer feared their hit-happy foes.

And, while that rally fell just short, they haven’t lost to Granite since.

As she quietly bounced on the bag at second, slight smile on her face, Chloe was already locked-in on CHS coach Kevin McGranahan, working over in the third-base coaching box.

Always ready, always watchful.

The moment was big, it was impactful, and it could have been the highlight of Chloe’s season.

But then she went to the biggest dance, and went bonkers.

Chloe started the state tourney on the bench, part of the support crew as Coupeville was drilled by eventual state champ Montesano.

Given a pinch-hit at-bat late in the game, however, she proved to be the one Wolf who was absolutely perfect against the reincarnation of the 1927 Yankees.

Breaking up Montesano’s bid for a shutout, and pissing off its thoroughly irritating coach, Chloe crunched an RBI single to right-center.

Her refusal to back down against a dominant team, and a loudly-braying coach, earned her the start in games #2 and #3 on a long day for Coupeville.

Chloe’s bat stayed scorchin’ down the stretch, as she racked up three more hits across a 14-2 demolishing of highly-ranked Deer Park and a gut-wrenching 8-6 loss to Cle Elum.

With four base-knocks in Richland, she had made a name for herself while the biggies in the sport watched.

After one of her hot smashes back up the middle, the coach from perennial power Castle Rock, camped in the bleachers during his team’s break, pointed at Chloe, and softly said something to his assistant.

The words were unclear, but the approval was obvious.

Coming within a play (or two, at most) of advancing to day two of state and likely earning some hardware, the Wolves capped the second-best performance in program history.

While there was sadness in the aftermath, there was hard-earned pride, and the unmistakable feeling this was the start of a run of success for the Wolf diamond queens.

Chloe likely would have been a full-time starter her senior year, and I firmly believe she was on her way to a true breakout season.

The pandemic denied her that opportunity, but her rep as a big-game killer was already set in stone.

When we talk about the highlights of CHS softball during its four-decade-plus run, Chloe Wheeler, the quiet assassin with the wicked bat, will forever hold a place in that conversation.

So today, we take a moment to pay tribute to her, inducting her into the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame for being an inspiration to local athletes at every level.

She worked and she fought, and when Chloe got her chance, she made the absolute most of it. The way you hope every Wolf does.

After this, when you stroll past the top of the blog, you’ll find her hanging out under the Legends tab.

And why not? She earned it.

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SarahRose Bernhardt, the very definition of “a truly lovely human being.” (All photos poached from her Facebook account)

SarahRose Bernhardt is special.

Always has been, always will be.

It takes a special talent to light up every room you enter, to make others feel good about themselves, to achieve and inspire without asking for credit.

But that is SarahRose.

We live in a world which has grown harsher in the past few years.

Or, at the very least, one in which people are much more inclined to be abrasive to each other, to demean and ridicule.

There are days where it feels like there is little hope of kindness reclaiming the public mood.

Which is why SarahRose is like a light at the edge of the world, buffeted like the rest of us, but not willing to give up the fight.

In the same year that the Coupeville High School grad and her fiancée, David, returned to find their home burning to the ground, she has endured, and she has prospered.

As a new year dawns, SarahRose is not sitting back. She has moved to the front of the crowd, pursuing a medical calling at the height of a worldwide pandemic.

In the pictures she and her proud parents have posted, we see a young woman who pulls on fire gear, hefts a saw half the size of her body, and moves into action.

“Badass” Bernhardt (far right), ready to battle whatever comes her way.

We see a brilliant student, a talented dancer — an actress and cheerleader during her high school days — who, clad in PPE from head to toe, brings healthcare right to the front doors of those in need.

Working for Dispatch Health out of Seattle, SarahRose is, like the others she works with, a reassuring face in a troubled time.

That she would make this decision, to be part of the solution at a moment of crisis, is not surprising to me.

While I don’t think I’ve seen her in person since back in the Videoville days, SarahRose, like her parents and siblings, was always something special.

She graduated from CHS in 2004, after being a member of the Hi Q Academic Quiz Bowl team, serving as a school board rep, participating in the Learning Partner program, and being a group leader for Honor Society.

Not content to stop there, SarahRose was also a tutor, an active volunteer in the community, and a team leader for the Wolf cheer squad.

Graduation from the University of Washington, after a similar string of accomplishments, arrived in 2008.

In her post-school days, she used her love of dance to inspire countless people through her work at places such as Barre3 Bellevue and Daybreaker Seattle.

And now, a frontline worker in a troubled time, a continuing ray of hope in all she achieves, and how she reaches those goals.

A day at the beach with her fiancée and the doggos.

As I said before, SarahRose has never been one for beating her chest, screaming out why she rules (even if she does), and expecting folks to get in line and bow to her.

Too bad, cause we’re going to do the latter part right now.

That’s because we’re capping 2020 by inducting SarahRose Bernhardt into the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame.

Since it’s technically a digital shrine to athletic achievement, she’ll be listed as a cheerleader, even if she’s really going in for that and a billion other things.

After this, if you wander past the top of the blog and look under the Legends tab, that’s where you’ll find her hanging out.

At least on-line.

In real life, SarahRose will be found where need arises, where her skills and hard work will accomplish much, where she can leave behind an impact on the world she moves through.

She is a badass, and she is the light, and she makes her hometown proud, every day.

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Mekare Bowen, who turns 24 today, is a special human being. (Photo courtesy Dea Bowen)

In a world of grey, she is the sunshine.

Not just a ray, but the whole sizzlin’ ball, lighting up the universe with her every action and word.

I’ve known Mekare Alora Bowen since she was born — which would be 24 years ago today — as her mom, Dea, worked with me at Videoville and Miriam’s Espresso back in the day.

From the moment Mekare popped into the world, (politely) bellowing “Let’s get this party started!!,” she has amazed me.

She is incredibly smart, not just in a “do well at school” sort of way, but where you look at her in awe, and wonder not whether she will accomplish something, but just how much she’ll accomplish.

Mekare wrote a 550-page fantasy novel, Flying Fast: Untouchable, during her teen years.

If a computer crash hadn’t eaten her work, it’s likely no one would be paying any attention to J.K. Rowling and Stephanie Meyer right now.

Her passion for writing was captured in this quote, when she agreed to let me write about her after much tut-tutting that there were others who should be featured ahead of her.

“I have a new idea every day. I’ve had a lot lately, but I typically forget them and then they come back to me randomly,” Mekare said back in 2012.

“I love those moments actually, because it’s like somebody punched you in the face with flowers wrapped around their knuckles.

“It’s a bittersweet moment because half of you is ecstatic to have the idea back, the other half is mad that you forgot it in the first place, and the idea typically hits you again at the most inconvenient time.

“Actually, if someone were to punch me, I’d probably punch them back — without the flowers. But I think you get the picture.”

While some would spend years wailing over their tech misfortune, our Hemingway just jumped right back in, continuing to write, while also developing a subtle touch with the camera.

As younger sister Aria also grew up, she could often be found on the other end of Mekare’s lens.

A photo from a few years back, capturing sister Aria at play. (Mekare Bowen photo)

The same was true for family and friends, every animal she could find, and a thousand other subjects, animate or inanimate.

Whatever the world wanted to show, Mekare was there to capture and immortalize.

A boat slices through the sun-dappled water. (Mekare Bowen photo)

Anyone can click a camera and call themselves a photographer.

But it takes a special skill to make those images come alive, and Mekare and her equipment work in often uncanny union.

When she hit high school, moving from private to public, Miss Bowen wanted a new challenge, and so she jumped head-first into cheerleading, joining legendary 20-year coach Sylvia Arnold’s final squad.

Sylvia Arnold with Mekare Bowen. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Mekare was an immediate hit with the sideline crew, joining close friends like Julia Felici and forming a vibrant, loud ‘n proud team.

Julia Felici and her nephew Drake join Mekare to celebrate a Coupeville win. (Shelli Trumbull photo)

Whether traveling to other countries to help those in need, picking up a new sport and embracing every aspect of it, or being quietly awesome without ever tooting her own horn, Miss Bowen has impressed me her whole life.

I’m sure, like all of us, she has her faults. But, if so, I have yet to see one.

There have been other Wolf athletes who have shown great skill and great kindness, finding a balance which is rare.

Breeanna Messner, Aaron Trumbull, Makana Stone, Hunter Smith, and Valen Trujillo immediately jump to mind.

But I put Mekare up on the top of this mountain peak.

She is, quite simply, the best of what Coupeville, and this world, have to offer.

Her continued success and high achievement in life, as she navigates the adult world, is a source of great happiness for me. And, I’m sure, for a lot of others.

In the grand scheme of things, induction into the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame probably isn’t on the same level as say, winning a Nobel Peace Prize or a Pulitzer.

Both of which could easily be in Mekare’s future. Just sayin’.

But it’s what I have to offer, and so we celebrate her birthday — which should probably be a national holiday — by welcoming her into our lil’ digital shrine.

After this, if you cruise by the top of the blog and look under the Legends tab, you’ll find Mekare hanging out, along with those other five former CHS athletes I mentioned just a second ago.

It’ll say cheer next to her name, since it’s a sports hall, but we’ll all know she earned her induction for a lot more than that.

For her talent, for her grace, for her kindness, for her care to all around her, and for being, each day and every day, the kind of person I would like to be if I ever grow up.

You’re the best, Mekare. Thank you.

Hangin’ out with mom Dea. (Beth Kuchynka photo)

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McKenzie Bailey, prairie legend.

All eyes on her.

McKenzie Bailey, vaunted member of the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame, and sharer (with sisters McKayla and Mollie) of the title of Prairie Photo Bomb Queen, continues to get noticed.

This time around she’s being honored by Central Washington University, named as one of three “Wildcats to Watch” for December.

Bailey, a 2020 CWU grad who is currently teaching 8th grade science in Ellensburg, was nominated “for her involvement as an intern in the STEM teaching program.”

Part of the Engle family, which has lived and farmed in Coupeville for decades, the middle of Rusty and Donna Bailey’s three daughters played volleyball, basketball, and tennis during her days as a Wolf.

 

To read all the details on why McKenzie is one to watch, pop over to:

Copy of Student Highlight Draft (cwu.edu)

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