Posts Tagged ‘Jae LeVine’

Jae (left) and Heidi LeVine step into a new world. (Photo courtesy Sean LeVine)

She was a first ballot Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Famer, a bright, shining supernova whose awesomeness couldn’t be contained by a single nickname.

So, at various points, Jae LeVine, one of the bravest athletes I have written about, and the only one whose Senior Night made me cry — after I left the field — has been known by many monikers.



Joltin’ Jae.

Lil’ Miss Awesome.

A softball star who blasted game-winning hits off the best pitcher in the league, then danced on second base — like full-on, body-poppin’, boogy-time moves — she has never allowed her ongoing serious heart issues to slow her down.

Jae played basketball until doctors took the game away, pumping her fists while backpedaling after draining three-balls.

She played volleyball, sprinting in and out of the gym and hitting dad Sean in the face with her discarded second uniform, until the same medical folk said no more.

Put drumsticks in her hands, and Jae brought the gym alive, her impish grin telling the true tale as she went off on her own riff, music teachers be danged.

Flash has survived intense surgeries, shared her story to provide comfort and hope for others, has established her own career in the medical world — like mom and pop before her — and now, as of Wednesday, gotten hitched.

As Jae and Heidi (Littrell) LeVine head off to start their wedded life, Coupeville Sports joins all of those wishing the couple all the best.

I told myself I wouldn’t cry … but we know how that worked out last time.

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Step to Izzy LeVine on the mat and you’ll regret it. (Photos courtesy Sean LeVine)

Casteel High School rules the wrestling world.

The youngest is making her mark.

Former Whidbey Island resident Izzy LeVine, sister of Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Famers Micky and Jae, rules the wrestling mats in Arizona these days.

Now a freshman at Casteel High School in Chandler Heights, the young woman who told me I should write about her and not her sisters back when she was in elementary school, continues to soar.

Her latest achievement?

Winning four of five matches Wednesday to claim 2nd place in the 120-pound division at the Fierce Filly Showdown.

Izzy’s wins all came by pins, and she helped Casteel claim the team title from a field of 14 schools.

Her recent run of excellence comes on the heels of a standout performance at the Jerry Benson Tournament in Buckeye, Arizona earlier in the month.

Casteel topped 30 other teams at that event, with Izzy going 5-1, again claiming all of her wins by pins.

The LeVine family, which is headed up by parents Sean and Joline, lived in Coupeville for 14 years.

Mom and pops both worked for the hospital, dad coached highly successful girls’ soccer squads, and Micky and Jae both earned CHS diplomas.

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Izzy LeVine, queen of the wrestling mat. (Photos courtesy Sean LeVine)

You can take the LeVine family out of Washington state, but you can’t stop them from being awesome athletes.

A 14-year stint in Coupeville, with both parents working for the local hospital while two of three daughters graduated from CHS, made for an impressive run.

I used to sometimes refer to big sis Micky as “Two Fists,” after she once offered to punch any fool from Tacoma who was dumb enough to try and rough up her Whidbey Islanders soccer teammates on the pitch.

And middle (wild) child Jae, who danced down court after hitting three-balls as a young hoops star, then KO’d big, bad Klahowya on the high school softball diamond, has the biggest heart of any athlete I’ve ever written about.

They, along with paramedic dad Sean, a soccer guru who led Whidbey Island girls teams which routinely walloped big city squads, are all in the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame.

Meanwhile, mom Joline is a shining supernova in the medical world, and one of the nicest people in the world.

Or, more appropriately, the entire universe.

A family move to Arizona a while back deprived Wolf Nation of ever inheriting Micky and Jae’s lil’ sis, the irrepressible Izzy.

She’s the one who once gave me a rock at a softball game when she was in elementary school, then told me I should write about her, and not worry about her sisters.

So, here we go.

And while Izzy won’t rep the red and black like her siblings, the youngest LeVine is making so much noise at her new home that it has echoed all the way back to Whidbey.

Hanging out with one of her biggest fans, dad Sean.

A strong soccer player when she lived on The Rock, Izzy also now throws down on the wrestling mat, beating both boys and girls.

Saturday, the Casteel Junior High School 8th grader hit the big time, winning the 115-pound weight class at the Arizona Junior High & Middle School State Championships.

Wrestling in Queen Creek, Izzy opened with a bye, thanks to her strong record in previous tournaments, then closed with a pair of wins by pin over female grapplers.

After toppling her first foe in the second round, she blitzed her rival in the championship match in a brisk 46 seconds.

Izzy is the first girl in CJHS history to win a state title for the school.

Her title continues a trend of mat dominance, as both the Casteel Junior High and High School wrestling teams are 88-0 in regular season matches since the schools opened in 2015.

Saturday’s tourney drew a large field, with a combined 57 schools and wrestling clubs participating.

Next up for Izzy, who has primarily been thumping boys during the eight tourneys she’s grappled in over the past six months, is her school’s regular season.

That’s co-ed, and LeVine, who will wrestle at 111 pounds, is on the Casteel varsity, having beaten all the boys in her weight class.

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Jae LeVine, owner of the biggest heart of any athlete I have ever written about. (First three photos by JohnsPhotos.net, final one courtesy Sean LeVine)

Jae LeVine is my hero.

Athletes come, and athletes go, and they tell you not to play favorites, and yet, without a doubt, I do.

We can construct our Mount Rushmore for Wolf athletes, and argue endlessly about who will get the other three spots, but the first face we’re going to see is that of JaeLynn.

Miss LeVine is everything wonderful and amazing in this world, and when I get tired of people, I think of “Flash” and things seem a little better.

Joltin’ Jae has fought for her life since the day she was born, just a hair over 21 years ago, and has remained one of the happiest, kindest people I know, despite, or maybe because of, the challenges thrown at her by her own body.

“How you doin’?”

Born with a congenital heart defect, JaeBird has her second (and hopefully final) open-heart surgery today.

My hope for her is that she recovers quickly and with as little physical and emotional pain as possible.

That Jae can return to her family – parents Sean and Joline, sisters Micky and Izzy, and girlfriend Heidi – and be covered in love.

That everything she wants in life comes her way, and that she is rewarded every day.

As she went through middle school, then high school, here in Coupeville, doctors took sport after sport away from her.

Concerns over her heart removed Jae from the basketball hardwood and volleyball court, but she got to stay on the softball diamond and she sparkled until her final mic drop.

On the wall in front of my computer, the place where I write this blog, there are various letters, pictures, and memorabilia from eight years of Coupeville Sports.

Jae is represented by a softball team photo, by her graduation announcement, by her Senior Night writeup, and by her autograph on a box score from the first time CHS softball beat Klahowya.

“With this bat, I will rock you.”

That’s the game where The Mighty Mite opened a can of whup-ass, smashing a single, double, and triple off the best pitcher in the region, with the two-bagger providing the game-winning RBI in a 7-6 victory.

I will always remember Jae’s Senior Night speech, probably the most emotional moment for me personally while doing this job, but that Klahowya game also looms large.

The image of “Flash” bouncing on the bag at second after her big hit, using her fingers to fire imaginary lasers at her teammates going bonkers in the dugout, is nothing but pure joy.

Just like Jae herself.

So, as she goes into surgery today, I need everyone to do two things for her.

One, if you pray, please pray for Jae.

If you don’t pray, think good thoughts.

Whatever you’re comfortable with.

And two, when “Flash” gets out of surgery, she will be by herself in the hospital at first, because of COVID-19 restrictions.

Her mom expects Jae will be in the hospital for a week, then home with the family for 2-3 weeks.

“I am asking for family, friends, friends of friends, neighbors, and acquaintances to cheer her on and give her encouragement and love through the mail,” Joline said. “Jae is a people person and I know that being alone during the recovery time while in the hospital is what scares her most.

“If we can reduce her anxiety by flooding her with love during this time, I know she will be forever grateful.

“I plan to make a care basket for her while in the hospital and I know she would love to have letters to read to pass the time. She also LOVES scratch tickets!”


Mail letters to Jae at 1555 SW Downfield Way, Oak Harbor, WA, 98277.

“Let’s get this party started!”

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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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