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Longtime Coupeville tennis guru Ken Stange won’t have a chance to coach this fall. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

The rackets remain unstrung, and the courts are empty.

Coupeville High School has cancelled its boys tennis season due to a lack of players, Athletic Director Willie Smith confirmed Thursday afternoon.

It will be the third-straight non-season for the Wolf netters, as the program has been beset from all sides.

Friday Harbor, which was Coupeville’s most reliable tennis opponent, cancelled its fall sports programs at the height of the pandemic.

During that lost season, many Wolf tennis players migrated to soccer, helping save that program from its own cancellation.

The biggest stumbling block for the netters might simply be Coupeville’s move back to the 2B classification in 2020.

At the 1A level, boys soccer is played in the spring. In 2B, those booters join the girls in playing their season in the fall.

With football, cross country, tennis, and soccer all vying for male athletes in the same season at a small school, someone is likely to lose out.

So far, that’s been tennis.

Coupeville is the only one of seven schools in the Northwest 2B/1B League attempting to field four male sports teams in the fall.

The other NWL schools offer:

Friday Harbor — tennis, football, soccer
La Conner — cross country, football, soccer
Concrete — football, cross country
Mount Vernon Christian — cross country, soccer
Orcas Island — cross country, soccer
Darrington — football

While boys tennis sits idle, girls tennis remains strong, and the CHS courts should once again be filled with aces and overheads next spring.

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Mary Milnes flicks a return shot. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

The work of the high school sports scheduler is never done.

Especially in the spring, when weather and other issues frequently mess with the best laid plans.

Such is the case for the Coupeville girls tennis squad, which once again sees its schedule shifting.

A trip to South Whidbey this coming Monday, Apr. 18 has been bumped nearly a month out due to a conflict with a Falcon league match.

Meanwhile, a previously rained-out tilt with that same South Whidbey team, only with this match in Coupeville, has been rescheduled.

The new remaining schedule, knock on wood:

Monday, Apr. 25 — Friday Harbor (3:30)

Tuesday, May 3 — South Whidbey (3:30) — SENIOR NIGHT

Wednesday, May 11 — @ South Whidbey (3:30)

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Elizabeth Bitting leads off a look at CHS spring sports coaches. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

They are the guiding lights.

As spring sports play out, the men and women who have stepped up to be coaches at Coupeville High School are at the forefront of things.

In the pics above and below, a look at some of the often-unsung superstars who keep Wolf sports humming along.

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Coupeville High School tennis coach Ken Stange abides. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Ken Stange’s fall schedule just got less cluttered.

That’s not necessarily a good thing, however, as the longtime Coupeville High School tennis coach will see a second-straight boys net campaign fall by the wayside.

During the 2020-2021 school year, the Wolves lost out when Friday Harbor, the only other school in the Northwest 2B/1B League to play tennis, cancelled all of its fall sports programs due to Covid concerns.

With NWL schools not playing non-conference games in any sport during the height of the pandemic, that left Coupeville up a creek without a tennis racket.

This time around, things were looking up, with Friday Harbor back in action.

The two NWL schools were set to join South Whidbey this fall in playing Seattle-based private schools from the Emerald Sound Conference.

Unfortunately, things won’t go as planned, as the Wolf tennis program, which is competing against football, cross country, and soccer for male athletes, wasn’t able to draw enough players.

CHS Athletic Director Willie Smith confirmed Monday the season had been cancelled.

Stange, who will return to the courts next spring with the Wolf girl netters, remains deeply-committed to both Coupeville tennis programs.

“We will try again next year,” he said.

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CHS net guru Ken Stange and his boys tennis squad nabbed their second-straight Best Sportsmanship award from the Emerald City League. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

They still like us.

For the second-straight year, the ultra-exclusive, private school-dominated Emerald City League bestowed its Best Sportsmanship award to the Coupeville High School boys tennis team.

The award is a testament to longtime Wolf net guru Ken Stange, and the lessons he has imparted to his players.

CHS competes in the North Sound Conference for every sport except one, and that’s boys tennis, as South Whidbey is the only other school from that six-team league to heft rackets.

So the two Whidbey schools linked up with the ECL, widely considered the toughest 1A tennis league in the state.

The other schools involved include Eastside Prep, Bear Creek, Overlake, The Bush School, Seattle Academy, and University Prep.

Despite being one of only two public schools in the league, and the farthest trip for the Seattle-based private schools, Coupeville has held up well.

The Wolves finished in fourth-place in 2018, and, with a very-thin roster this year, which forced a number of forfeits at #2 singles, still won three league matches.

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