Posts Tagged ‘Izzy Wells’

Coupeville athletes like Lyla Stuurmans spent much of 2022 earning awards for their stellar play. (Photo courtesy Sarah Stuurmans)

Things got historical.

As the last days of 2022 play out, a look back at the year that was reveals huge highs and crushing lows.

The biggest story was almost certainly Coupeville High School’s male athletes finally making it back to the promised land.

Both the Wolf boys’ basketball and football squads advanced to the state tournament in ’22, snapping 34 and 32-year dry spells, respectively.

Off the schneid, and it feels so good.

Brad Sherman’s hoops squad was the last unbeaten 2B team in the state this year, crunching La Conner in the bi-district title game to get to 16-0.

With a different leading scorer almost every night, and an aggressive defense anchored by the Marauding Murdy boys — Xavier and Alex — the Wolves win their first league title since Sherman was dropping three-balls back in 2002.

The bi-district win is the program’s first postseason crown since 1970, and Coupeville plays strongly against top-ranked Kalama and always-tough Lake Roosevelt in their first trip to state since 1988.

Xavier Murdy (front) and Grady Rickner clamp down on defense. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Jump forward to the fall, and the Wolf gridiron squad, led by first-year head coach Bennett Richter, roars to a 7-2 mark, claiming its first league title and trip to state since 1990.

Coupeville hosts 2B power Onalaska in that postseason clash and pushes the Loggers to the last play, despite losing starting quarterback Logan Downes to injury midway through the third quarter.

With that in mind, a reflection on the year on its way out the door, and other stories which captured our attention.


Hello and Goodbye:

A handful of Wolf coaches leave their posts, for varied reasons, and new leaders rise in the ranks to take their places.

Out the door – high school: Randy King (track), Paige Spangler (cross country), Kyle Nelson (girls’ soccer), Will Thayer (baseball), Marcus Carr (football), Greg Turcott (JV girls’ basketball).

In the door – high school: Bennett Richter (football), Elizabeth Bitting (cross country and track), Bob Martin (track), Steve Hilborn (baseball), Katrina McGranahan (JV softball), Kassie O’Neil (JV girls’ basketball).

Out the door – middle school: Katie Kiel (volleyball), Kassie O’Neil (girls’ basketball), Kristina Forbes (girls’ basketball), Elizabeth Bitting (cross country and track)

In the door – middle school: Raven Vick (volleyball).


Still the King:

Coupeville grad Kyle King, a five-time state champ who went on to be an NCAA D-I athlete, wins the 47th Marine Corps Marathon, besting a field of thousands.

The race is the fourth largest in the United States and ninth largest in the world.

Kyle King, at rest. (Photo courtesy Randy King)


Big brains, fast feet:

The CHS girls’ cross country squad wins a league title, makes it to state as a team, and claims an academic state title for having the best GPA among all 2B schools.

Helen Strelow, Claire Mayne, Cristina McGrath, Noelle Western, Erica McGrath, and Reagan Callahan are joined at state by Wolf boys Mitchell Hall and Carson Field.


They rule the school:

Junior Carolyn Lhamon (soccer, basketball, track) and senior Xavier Murdy (soccer, basketball, baseball) are honored as Coupeville High School’s Athletes of the Year.

It’s a repeat for Murdy, who also won the year before.


Better than the state champs … for a day:

Friday Harbor goes on a rampage on the pitch, riding a hot streak all the way to the first boys’ soccer state title in school history.

The Wolverines lose twice all season. Once to state runner-up, and defending champ, Orcas Island, and once to Coupeville.

It’s true.

CHS senior Aidan Wilson nets a hat trick, while younger brother Cael is superb in net as the Wolves shock Friday Harbor, and the prep soccer world, winning 3-1 at Mickey Clark Field.


Bad break on the hardwood:

There were numerous injuries, but the one with the biggest impact comes in January, when basketball sharpshooter Alita Blouin breaks her ankle during pregame introductions.

She misses the rest of the 2021-2022 hardwood season, and both Wolf hoops programs bar their players from jumping during future roll calls.

But once she heals, Blouin returns to star on the volleyball court, is named Homecoming Queen, and is now back torching basketball nets as a senior.

Alita Blouin launches a serve. (Bailey Thule photo)


Change in the boardroom:

Longtime school board director Glenda Merwine retires with a year left in her term, citing health concerns, and is replaced by tireless school volunteer Alison Perera, who is plucked from a field of six candidates.


The Torpedo hits pay dirt:

Coupeville grad Sean Toomey-Stout becomes the first former Wolf to record stats for the University of Washington football program.

A sophomore in his second season with the NCAA D-I powerhouse, he plays in six games, inlcuding the Alamo Bowl, making seven tackles.

Plus, Toomey-Stout smashes another barrier, landing on a trading card as part of a set featuring U-Dub players, coaches, and the team mascot.


International woman of mystery:

Makana Stone is gettin’ paid.

The Wolf grad is in her second season as a pro hoops star, first playing for Leicester in England and now suiting up for Baerum in Norway.

Stone pours in 275 points and snatches 193 boards as a rookie and currently leads her second squad in scoring as she and teammates vie for a league crown.

Makana Stone rises to the heavens. (Photo property Marianne Maja Stenerud)


All your titles are ours:

Coupeville claims conference crowns in boys’ basketball, softball, baseball, girls’ tennis, football, and both girls’ and boys’ cross country in 2022.

Toss in a district title for boys’ track and a bi-district crown for boys’ basketball and the trophy case is getting (nicely) crowded.



Coupeville brings home league MVP awards thanks to Izzy Wells (softball), Xavier Murdy (boys’ basketball), Dominic Coffman (football), Hawthorne Wolfe (baseball), and Scott Hilborn (football).

Taking it to the next level, Murdy and volleyball spikers Maddie Georges and Alita Blouin play in All-State games, while Wolfe and Hilborn receive All-State honors for their work on the diamond.

Ja’Kenya Hoskins (left) and Izzy Wells enjoy each other’s company. (Katy Wells photo)


A net loss:

The CHS boys’ tennis program sits quiet for a third consecutive season, unable to attract enough players to form a competitive team.

The pandemic hurt, but Coupeville’s transition from 1A to 2B, with boys’ soccer moving from spring to fall — where football, cross country, and boys’ tennis also compete for athletes — has been a so-far fatal blow.


Rulers of the oval:

Coupeville sends 16 athletes to the state track and field meet in Cheney, with the Wolf boys finishing 7th in the team standings.

Ryanne Knoblich (high jump), Logan Martin (shot put, discus) and the 4 x 100 unit of Reiley Araceley, Aidan Wilson, Caleb Meyer, and Dominic Coffman claim 2nd place finishes.

When the official state meet is done, Martin moves on and also finishes 2nd in the hammer throw at an invite-only championship event.


Save your best shot for last:

Wolf senior Hawthorne Wolfe, denied a chance to make a full run at the all-time CHS boys basketball career scoring record when Covid interrupts two seasons, closes on a high.

Scoring 10 of his game-high 16 points in the fourth quarter of Coupeville’s state tourney finale, he knocks down a three-ball for his final high school bucket.

That gives Wolfe exactly 800 career points — one of just 14 Wolf boys to hit that mark for a program which launched in 1917.

Hawthorne Wolfe, skippin’ through life. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)


Remembering those who fell too soon:

Throughout the basketball season, and also on Graduation Day, Coupeville students keep the memory of Bennett Boyles alive and close to their hearts.

The former hoops star lost a battle with cancer just short of his 13th birthday but is with his fellow Wolves in spirit as they finish their high school journeys.

Late this year, Wolf Nation is rocked when Lathom Kelley, a badass with an unexpected huge heart, dies in a boating accident days after his 25th birthday.

Coupeville’s football program remembers its wild child, and his giddy, full-throated embrace of life, beating Sultan after an emotional halftime tribute which includes current players giving the family Lathom’s #44 jersey.


Still at it, huh?

Milestones, they keep on comin’.

Coupeville Sports turns 10 years old Aug. 15 – a testament to me frequently writing at 2 AM in hopes of getting free cookies from readers.

Some days are easier than others, but the march towards story #10,000 continues.

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Izzy Wells? A lovely human being, and a pretty darn good athlete, too. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

She was the serene superstar.

Now, I don’t live inside the brain of Izzy Wells, so it’s possible there were fireworks going off in there every single game.

Her stomach might have been dive-bombed by butterflies, and non-stop cold sweats may have been the rule.

If so, she hides it really, really well.

Throughout her athletic career in Coupeville — from little league exploits to middle school success on to high school excellence, Izzy projected such utter calmness in everything she did.

When she was in the pitcher’s circle on the softball diamond, she could be up by 10 runs or down by five, and she had an uncanny knack to look peaceful, yet determined every time.

It’s a rare trait, one which Wells displayed both as a newbie and as a grizzled vet, and it makes for a highly successful pitcher.

“I’m gonna throw it … but you’re not gonna hit it.”

Now, the Izzinator could break off a nasty fastball which drilled a hole through a rival’s bat as it finished its journey into a waiting catcher’s mitt.

She could chuck BBs with the best of them.

But it was that calmness which flowed out of her, and around her, which centered her team and was — in my opinion at least — her greatest weapon.

Izzy never seemed to get too high or too low, with just a small smile peeking out in rare moments when her sheer awesomeness overwhelmed even her.

Even with a pandemic making the middle part of her high school days a royal pain, she had a run of success which matches up with any Wolf hurler who ever stepped into the circle.

As a freshman, she was the staff ace for a team which got stronger as the season went on, roaring from behind to smack big, bad Granite Falls en route to earning a ticket to the state tourney.

Izzy, chucking liquid heat on her home field, stared down the most-feared hitter in the league, senior slugger Samantha Vanderwel, with a crucial game on the line late in the regular season.

The first time Coupeville faced the homer-happy Tigers, it lost badly. The second time, the Wolves were nipped.

Meeting #3 ended with Izzy firing a laser, Vanderwel swinging with every ounce of her strength and hitting nothing but air, and Wolf catcher Sarah Wright screaming like a banshee in celebration.

In the circle, a slight dip of her head, a half-smile, and then Wells vanished under a dogpile of her teammates.

It was the turning point, as Coupeville roared from behind to tie for a league title, earn a #1 seed to districts — where it beat Granite again — then go on to state for a three-game run which included eliminating highly ranked Deer Park.

The pandemic robbed Izzy of her sophomore season, but she endured, leading CHS to a 12-0 mark in a cut-down junior campaign and a 16-3 record as a senior — when her catcher was often lil’ sis Savina.

Savina (left) and Izzy — how it started…

How it’s going.

Coupeville went a truly impressive 43-13 during Izzy’s time in uniform, with her morphing from a young gunslinger to an all-around weapon as her batting skills boomed in her final two seasons.

She could crank the ball deep into the prairie clouds or slap hits past diving infielders and was always one of the smarter base runners to play for the Wolves.

And yet, as talented on the softball field as she was — and that’s my enduring image of her, Izzy standing motionless in the circle, eyes narrowing ever so slightly behind her face mask as she mentally mapped out her next strikeout — she was successful in everything she did.

A volleyball spiker, a soccer ace, and Miss Dependable on the basketball court, dropping in buckets with her patented super-soft layup.

“Scuse me, pardon me, coming through to score another basket.”

Izzy rang up 204 points across four seasons of varsity ball, finishing as the #3 scorer during both her junior and senior campaigns.

She could give you some of everything on the hardwood, bringing defense, teamwork, and a strong hoops IQ to everything she did.

When I call Izzy a “glue” player, it’s a high compliment.

She helped hold things together, and, again, was always the face of calm in the heat of athletic battle, whether her team was romping to a win or fighting tooth and nail to stay alive.

Hanging out with fellow seniors (l to r) Violette Huegerich, Mckenna Somes, and Audrianna Shaw.

Through it all, the happiest I saw her was when someone close to her, from sister Savina to friends like Ja’Kenya Hoskins and Mckenna Somes, were successful in their endeavors.

Izzy rightfully earned honors of her own — up to and including being named league MVP in softball — but seeing her pride and joy in other’s accomplishments truly highlights her quiet leadership.

In the classroom she was a talented scholar, finishing in the top 10 of all graduates from the CHS Class of 2022, and, in her spare time, she is helping raise what is arguably the town’s most-popular dog.

The Wells clan, featuring a scene-stealing pup.

Looking ahead, I can’t envision any world in which Miss Wells doesn’t go on to accomplish truly amazing things in her future.

Over the course of the 10-year run of this blog, Izzy has been one of my personal favorites, and I am very happy to induct her today into the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame.

After this you’ll find her hanging out up at the top of the blog under the Legends tab, a designation she more than earned.

It’s for Izzy’s play on the diamond and the hardwood, the pitch and the court, for her work in the classroom or with a musical instrument in hand, and for the way she remains one of the highest-quality people to ever rep the red and black.

She was ever-more successful as she got older, but the middle of Lyle and Katy Wells three children has been a truly lovely human being every step of the way.

It was always easy to root for you, Izzy, and that will never change.

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Izzy Wells, best softball player in the Northwest 2B/1B League. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

The Izzinator was a dominator.

Coupeville High School senior pitcher Izzy Wells capped her prep softball career by being tabbed as the Northwest 2B/1B League MVP.

Unhittable while chucking BB’s, and owner of a booming bat when camped out at the plate, she led the Wolves to an 8-0 mark in conference action, 16-3 overall.

Coupeville, despite losing a season-and-a-half to Covid, finished 43-13 during the Age of Izzy.

Allie Lucero rakes.

Wells wasn’t the only Wolf honored by NWL coaches, as the league champs landed six players on All-Conference teams.

Senior Audrianna Shaw joins freshmen Mia Farris and Madison McMillan in collecting First-Team honors.

Making the Second-Team list were freshman Taylor Brotemarkle and junior twin titans Maya and Allie Lucero.

Wolf head man Kevin McGranahan was tabbed as NWL Coach of the Year as well.

Mia Farris plays lock-down defense among the spring flowers.

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Audrianna Shaw erases another rival batter. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Wolf seniors (l to r) Violette Huegerich, Shaw, Mckenna Somes, and Izzy Wells led Coupeville High School softball to a 16-3 record this spring. (Jackie Saia photo)

It’s not over until all the awards are bestowed.

The Coupeville High School softball program put an official cap on things Tuesday, handing out letters and honors to a wide range of players.

The banquet marked the end of another very-successful season for the Wolves, with the varsity going 16-3 and the JV finishing 6-2-1.

Led by diamond guru Kevin McGranahan, CHS coaches doled out the following:


Varsity awards:

MVP — Izzy Wells

Offensive MVP — Audrianna Shaw

Defensive MVP — Madison McMillan

Rookie of the Year — Mia Farris

Hustle Award — Taylor Brotemarkle

Captains — Allice Lucero, Maya Lucero, Audrianna Shaw, Izzy Wells

Four-Year Awards — Audrianna Shaw, McKenna Somes, Izzy Wells


Varsity letter winners:

Taylor Brotemarkle
Mia Farris
Gwen Gustafson
Violette Huegerich
Allie Lucero
Maya Lucero
Madison McMillan
Melanie Navarro
Sofia Peters
Audrianna Shaw
Mckenna Somes
Izzy Wells
Savina Wells


Melanie Navarro swats another hit. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)


JV awards:

Offensive MVP — Melanie Navarro

Defensive MVP — Teagan Calkins

Hustle Award — Katie Marti

Most Improved — Edie Bittner

Heart of the Wolf — Jada Heaton


JV certificates:

Edie Bittner
Teagan Calkins
Camryn Clark
Alondra Cruz
Jada Heaton
Katie Marti
Chloe Marzocca
Candace Meek
Maya Nottingham

Teagan Calkins wants the pitch right there … or else! (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

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Covid turned four seasons of high school softball into 2.5 for Izzy Wells, but she led Coupeville to a 43-13 record during that time. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

What a long, strange trip it’s been.

Izzy Wells and Audrianna Shaw will be remembered as elite softball players, two of the best to ever wear a Coupeville High School uniform.

Their prep careers ended Saturday at Fort Borst Park in Centralia, as the Wolves fell 15-4 to Toledo in a winner-to-state, loser-out game.

But that final score is a bit deceptive, as the game wasn’t a blow-out until the very end, when the Riverhawks busted open a 5-4 thriller with 10 runs across the final three innings.

Coupeville finishes 16-3, while Toledo carries a 16-9 record as it preps for a trip to the 12-team 2B state tourney in Yakima.

For Wells and Shaw, the state tourney is where their high school diamond journey really got going.

As freshmen, the duo was part of a 2019 Wolf squad which played three games in one day at the 1A big dance, a run which included eliminating highly ranked Deer Park.

But then the world, and their softball dreams, took a major hit, with a pandemic shutting down school sports.

Wells and Shaw lost their entire sophomore season, before playing a chopped-down, 12-game junior campaign while wearing masks and having no chance for a postseason.

Jump forward to their senior year, and the duo led Coupeville to another league title, only to be stung once again by the vagaries of life.

CHS played the waiting game during an 18-day gap between the regular-season finale and Saturday’s playoff game.

The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association dictates you have to have 50 schools playing a sport for a 16-team state tourney, and 2B softball only had 49 this spring.

So, welcome to a 12-team championship event.

Welcome to Coupeville’s home, District 1, being told its champ would not automatically qualify for the big dance, as previously promised.

And welcome to the Wolves being forced to sit 18 days between games, travel 138 miles, then play a sudden-death contest against District 4’s #5 team for that elusive ticket to state.

A Toledo squad which was playing its third game of the day and sixth during the five-day District 4 tourney.

Which could have meant the Riverhawks would be tired. Or, more likely, that they would be in a groove.

Choose the latter, as Toledo, which began the season 4-6, won for the twelfth time in its last 15 games.

The Riverhawks won four of six at the D4 tourney, outscoring foes 75-23 and losing only to Forks and Pe Ell-Willapa Valley, which are also state bound.

In the early going, it looked like Coupeville would add another loss to Toledo’s record, as the Wolves jumped out to a 4-0 lead after two innings of play.

After Izzy Wells, prowling the pitcher’s circle, ended the top of the first with an emphatic strikeout, CHS pushed three runs across in the bottom of the frame.

Walks to Shaw, Gwen Gustafson, and Izzy Wells set the table, with freshmen Mia Farris and Savina Wells both coming up with well-placed singles to key the early onslaught.

Savina Wells is one of four freshmen who started this season for a 16-3 CHS diamond crew.

A third Wolf fab frosh, shortstop Taylor Brotemarkle, walked to open the second inning, before coming around to score on an RBI single from Farris.

Up 4-0, things were looking good, but, while it didn’t yet know it, Coupeville wouldn’t score again this season after Brotemarkle slapped home.

The Wolves put runners on base in every inning, finishing the day with seven hits and eight walks, but couldn’t sustain any late rallies.

That gave Toledo time to get its own bats poppin’, with the Riverhawks cutting the deficit to 4-3 in the third, before surging ahead 5-4 through four frames.

Two more tallies in the fifth stretched the lead to 7-4, with a pair of four-run innings in Toledo’s final at-bats making the score far more lopsided than expected.

“They hit the ball all over the field,” said Coupeville coach Kevin McGranahan. “Our girls played well, but the hits were all solid and well-placed.”

Even as the season wound down, the Wolves continued to scrap for every out, something which pleased their coach.

“The girls were focused and ready to play and left it all on the field,” McGranahan said.

Izzy Wells and Audrianna Shaw, four-year varsity players who got to actually play 2.5 years, depart, with fellow seniors Mckenna Somes and Violette Huegerich also set to graduate.

But Coupeville is built for the future.

Four of Saturday’s starters — Farris, Brotemarkle, Madison McMillan, and Savina Wells — are freshmen, while a fifth — leftfielder Teagan Calkins — is only an 8th grader.


Saturday stats:

Taylor Brotemarkle — 1 walk
Mia Farris — 2 singles
Gwen Gustafson — 2 walks
Allie Lucero — 2 walks
Maya Lucero — 1 walk
Madison McMillan — 1 single
Audrianna Shaw — 2 singles, 1 walk
Izzy Wells — 1 walk
Savina Wells — 2 singles

Mia Farris is ready to sprint into even more success.

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