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Coupeville High School cross country runners hang out before Thursday’s meet in Shoreline. (Dawnelle Conlisk photo)

One mission accomplished, and another begins.

The Coupeville High School cross country squad capped its first regular season in 20+ years Thursday with an appearance at a three-team meet in Shoreline.

Now, after dueling King’s and South Whidbey across a 2.4 mile course, the Wolves will have some time to rest, rehab and prep for the postseason.

The North Sound Conference meet hits Oct. 20 and will be held at Lakewood High School.

After that comes the district meet Oct. 27 at South Whidbey, and then, if any of the Wolves qualify, the state meet Nov. 3 in Pasco.

Last year, when the CHS harriers were just three guys training and traveling with South Whidbey High School’s team, Danny Conlisk advanced to the big dance.

The Wolf senior is looking for a return trip to state, while sophomore Catherine Lhamon has been putting up times which would also punch her ticket.

She missed Thursday’s meet, however, as she’s healing from a pulled muscle she suffered at the end of the Nike Hole in the Wall Invitational last weekend.

 

Thursday’s results:

 

GIRLS:

Alana Mihill (14th) 19:25.88

 

BOYS:

Danny Conlisk (11th) 14:09.02

Sam Wynn (25th) 15:34.20

TJ Rickner (34th) 16:35.92

Uriah Kastner (35th) 16:41.13

Kyle Burnett (39th) 17:47.48

Chris Ruck (43rd) 18:48.05

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Even with a loss Tuesday to the defending state champs, Ashley Menges and Coupeville volleyball are a strong 5-1 on the season. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Maddy Hilkey and her Wolf soccer teammates are back playing at home Thursday.

Welcome to Hell Day.

Tuesday offered Coupeville High School female athletes a reminder there are six schools in the North Sound Conference, and five of them are chasing the sixth.

King’s, one of the true premier, sports-orientated private schools in the land, entered this year as the defending state champs in both volleyball and girls soccer, and little has changed.

Both Knights squads are undefeated in league play, with just a single non-conference loss to a 3A school from the Metro League (soccer) and a 4A school from Kingco (volleyball).

So, it comes as little surprise that the Wolves, despite putting up strong effort Tuesday, were swept aside by King’s on the road in Shoreline.

 

Varsity volleyball:

The big match-up of the night, as Coupeville and King’s entered play tied for first-place.

The Knights, whose only loss was to undefeated 4A North Creek, held steady, winning 25-12, 25-13, 25-15.

The loss drops the Wolves to 3-1 in league, 5-1 overall, while King’s rises to 4-0, 6-1.

Coupeville didn’t go down easily, fighting for every point and scraping shots off the floor.

“It got progressively better and more competitive,” said CHS coach Cory Whitmore. “Just let a few strings of points get away from us without coming up with our own.

“We dug the ball tenaciously, which we can be proud of, and made them earn their points,” he added. “That definitely was the strongest part of our game and we received compliments for our grit.”

The teams will meet again in three weeks, when King’s visits Whidbey Oct. 23, and the Wolves will be ready.

“We need to take a look at some things in practice and be ready to take on our next opponent, looking to take care of business,” Whitmore said. “Then we’ll get a second chance at them second half of season.”

Scout Smith paced the Wolves with 17 assists and two service aces, while Emma Smith (five kills, two aces), Maya Toomey-Stout (four kills, three digs) and Chelsea Prescott (two kills, three digs) provided solid back-up.

 

JV volleyball:

Coupeville was swept in three sets, but JV coach Chris Smith liked the fight his players showed.

“King’s played well,” he said. “We battled and kept our chins up.

“We just have to keep working. We have a lot of good things to learn playing a team like King’s.”

With the loss, the young Wolves slip to 1-3 in league play, 2-4 overall.

 

Varsity soccer:

King’s tied its season-high in goals, routing Coupeville 9-0.

The Knights, who lost their season opener 1-0 to 3A Lakeside, have won eight straight, while outscoring foes 45-2.

The Wolves, meanwhile, drop to 1-5 in league play, 1-8-1 overall. They have been shutout in six of 10 games this season.

“We lost to the defending state champs, and they showed that they look like possible repeat champs as well,” said CHS coach Kyle Nelson. “They are very tough on their home field.

“I thought in many ways we had a better game this time than when we lost to them 4-0 earlier in the season,” he added. “We had better ball movement, and for good portions we defended well against a very fast and dynamic Kings attack.”

One bright spot for the Wolves is the schedule gets easier the next couple of games.

CHS gets a break from conference action when it hosts former league rival Port Townsend (1-9) Thursday.

After that comes Coupeville’s final four league games, starting with a road trip to Sultan Oct. 9 to face a team it blasted 6-0 the first time around.

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Matt Stevens and the Coupeville defense stood tall Friday, as the Wolves came dangerously close to toppling King’s in a gridiron thriller. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Do not go gentle into that good night … especially if a deer is leading the way.

Throwing the fear of God into the Christian school boys, the Coupeville High School football squad came within a play or two of pulling off one of the great comeback wins of all time Friday, before running out of time in a 20-14 loss to visiting King’s.

The Wolves almost made it all the way back from a 20-0 fourth-quarter deficit, scoring two late touchdowns, one with a major assist from a hoofed mammal who wandered onto the gridiron in search of an apple, then ended up possibly dropping road apples as the lead blocker on a 95-yard TD run.

The narrow loss, coming in the North Sound Conference opener for both teams, drops the Wolves to 0-1 in league play, 3-2 coverall.

King’s (1-0, 1-4), Cedar Park Christian (1-0, 3-1) and South Whidbey (1-0, 4-1) are tied for the early conference lead, while CHS, Sultan (0-1, 1-4) and Granite Falls (0-1, 0-5) sit a game back.

South Whidbey nipped Sultan 21-20 on a Kody Newman Hail Mary pass in overtime Friday, while CPC held off Granite 20-8.

The battle in Cow Town belonged to the visiting Knights for three quarters, as senior running back Josiah Seirs slammed across the line for a TD run in each quarter.

Other than a clanked PAT after the second score, King’s was in control, giving up a fair amount of yards to the Wolves, but bending and not breaking.

And then the deer appeared and everything went all to holy heck.

It came on the very first play of the fourth quarter, as Sean Toomey-Stout waited to receive a kickoff from the Knights, who had scored with a second on the clock in the third frame.

As “The Torpedo” bounced in place, the ball went airborne, then it plunged from the sky, right as our deer hero, who’ll we call Jebediah, came bounding from behind the soccer goal in the far end zone.

The football hit Toomey-Stout in the fingers, skipping away. The crowd wailed.

And Jebediah the deer, doing his best Arnie, screamed “Come with me if you want to live!!” and headed up the right side of the field on a dead run.

Circling back to snatch the ball off the turf at about the four-and-a-half yard line, Toomey-Stout sprinted from left to right, as Jebediah almost creamed the King’s kicker at mid-field.

Shedding one would-be tackler, and then another, and then two more, “The Torpedo,” under a full head of steam now, whipped down the same path carved out by the deer, almost catching his unexpected lead blocker.

As Toomey-Stout roared into the end zone, the crammed CHS stands rocked so enthusiastically the sound system in the press box bounced two inches off the counter it sits on.

Meanwhile, PA announcer Willie Smith, stopping in mid-chomp on a mini candy bar, dropped a perfectly-timed (and probably not fully-appreciated) “Oh, deer!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

And Jebediah?

He stopped for a moment right outside the end zone in which the Wolves were now pummeling Toomey-Stout, then leaned in and whispered to a CHS coach, “I’ll see you guys next week. Just leave the apples in the usual place.”

With Wolf soccer star turned football kicker Derek Leyva hammering the PAT kick high into the night sky to cap the play, a potential blowout was suddenly transformed.

And Coupeville responded.

Leyva pinned King’s deep on its side of the field with his kickoff, before the Wolf defense forced a three-and-out to get the ball back.

With the ball in his hands, Coupeville QB Dawson Houston led his team downfield, mixing a couple of quick swing passes with a couple of power runs from Toomey-Stout.

Facing third-and-goal from the 10, Houston dodged the incoming pressure, stood tall and pegged a pass through the heart of the defense to Gavin Knoblich, who made a sensational jumping catch to bring his squad back within a single score.

After Levya tacked on another extra point, he mashed a long, slicing kick-off, giving Matt Hilborn time to haul butt down-field and level the returner as he made his first tentative step.

Pinned deep in their own territory once again, King’s went to a pass play on third-and-six, but Wolf senior Alex Turner snapped off the receiver’s head, hauling him down well short of the marker and forcing a punt.

Five minutes on the clock, the ball in their hands, and their still-new stadium shaking like Candlestick Park during the earthquake that rocked the ’89 World Series, the impossible seemed possible.

A comeback for the ages, against one of the private school boogeymen that made life miserable for Coupeville back in the day.

It was there, and then it wasn’t, as not every prayer gets answered.

Houston hit Knoblich on another pass play, but a pair of sacks pushed the Wolves back and CHS couldn’t pull off a big play on fourth down, despite a little razzle dazzle with Houston lobbing the ball to Dane Lucero, who then fired an incomplete pass downfield.

King’s needed two first downs to run out the final three-minutes plus, and they got them, barely, with Seirs plunging through the line to convert on a fourth-and-five to cap things.

Through the first three quarters, Coupeville moved the ball well, with Toomey-Stout and Hilborn making for a very-effective one-two rushing attack.

But an interception, a missed field goal and a reffing brain fart, on which the guys in stripes ignored blatant interference by King’s on a punt, kept the Wolves from getting the ball into the end zone through the first 36 minutes of action.

While Seirs rambled in for his scores, the Wolf defense was electric most of the night, with Turner, Lucero, Matt Stevens, Andrew Martin, Gavin St Onge, Ryan Labrador, Chris Battaglia and Co. keeping the Knights largely bottled up.

Hilborn stuffed a King’s drive at the very last moment, stripping the ball and recovering the fumble inside Coupeville’s 10-yard line, while Shane Losey and Knoblich teamed up on the most thrilling play not involving a deer.

That came mid-way through the third period, when Losey, defending a pass, clipped the ball with one hand, popped it skyward, then juggled it from hand to hand (all while still in motion) before bumping it in the direction of Knoblich.

Spearing the gift out of the air, the Wolf junior pulled in the interception as he, Losey and the King’s receiver all went to the turf in a pile.

While he wanted a true win, and not just a moral victory, Coupeville coach Marcus Carr was still pleased with the never-say-die attitude shown by his team.

“It was an outstanding effort by our guys,” he said. “It’s a process and we want to keep improving, which is what we’re doing.

“The fight is there, we just need to tighten things up a bit on some of our drives; our running backs played hard and other than a play or two, our defense played outstanding – I’m amped at that,” Carr added. “I’m as happy as I could possibly be after losing a game.”

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Coupeville Middle School runners catch a quick photo op before competing Saturday in Shoreline. (Elizabeth Bitting photo)

Truly one team, one dream.

Competing Saturday at the King’s Roller Coaster Trail Run in Shoreline, the Coupeville Middle School harriers faced a larger-than-normal starting line.

That’s because this time out, both the girls and boys competed together, covering the 1.6-mile course in one teeming mass of humanity.

While it was a bit unusual, the Wolves rose to the occasion.

“There were some nerves but they all powered through,” said CMS coach Elizabeth Bitting. “The course was VERY HILLY and all appreciate the hills around Coupeville for helping them make it up and pass others on the hills.”

The race also gave the young harriers an opportunity to cheer on and hang out with their older compatriots from CHS, who were taking part in the same meet.

“It is a powerful moment when you see two of your middle school runners walk up to a high school runner and congratulate them on a great run,” Bitting said. “Plus cheering on our high school counterparts was so much fun!”

 

Complete results:

 

GIRLS:

Claire Mayne (11th) 12:26
Cristina McGrath (24th) 14:09
Erica McGrath (30th) 14:45
Allison Nastali (31st) 14:45
Sam McMahon (37th) 16:08

 

BOYS:

Hank Milnes (14th) 11:38
Aiden Anderson (28th) 12:32
Hayden Harry (33rd) 12:58
Andrew Williams (38th) 13:23
Alex Clark (53rd) 14:52

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TJ Rickner and his fellow CHS harriers ran Saturday at a 14-team meet in Shoreline. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

The trail was littered with PR’s.

Running Saturday at the 14-team King’s Roller Coaster Trail Run in Shoreline, Coupeville High School’s cross country runners brought great joy to their coach.

“Super excited about the team today!,” said Natasha Bamberger. “All the way down the list Coupeville runners getting their personal bests today.

“The team has been working very hard and they are starting to see the results of their hard work pay off,” she added. “It was an exciting day! I could not be happier with their results!”

While Coupeville’s top runner, Danny Conlisk, was missing in action as he recovers from a bout with illness, two Wolf sophomore shone brightly.

Zinging across the three-mile course, Catherine Lhamon dropped nearly a minute from her previous best, while Sam Wynn shaved almost 50 seconds off his PR.

Both are putting in the work during practices, and it’s paying off big time.

Catherine’s goal is to break 20 minutes and she is well on her way to achieving that goal,” Bamberger said. “Sam crushed his PR; this is really good for him to be hitting his PR this early in the season.

“On Thursday we were running hill repeats, and Sam missed his PR last week by three seconds,” she added. “I could tell all week he was working extra hard because he really wants that PR.

“When everyone was done with their seven hill repeats, Sam said, you know what, I’m doing an extra!!”

 

Complete results:

 

GIRLS-varsity:

Catherine Lhamon (13th) 22:02
Alana Mihill (34th) 24:34

 

BOYS-varsity:

Sam Wynn (37th) 19:39

 

BOYS-JV:

Uriah Kastner (40th) 22:53
Kyle Burnett 
(50th) 23:43
TJ Rickner 
(51st) 23:45
Chris Ruck 
(57th) 24:07

 

**Coupeville Middle School runners also competed in Shoreline, but times haven’t been posted due to technical issues. A separate story will run here on Coupeville Sports when times are released.**

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