Posts Tagged ‘Kristin Bridges’

   CHS coaches, l to r, top to bottom, Chris Smith, Ashley Herndon, CJ Smith, Justine McGranahan, Mike Etzell, Lincoln Kelley, Luke Pelant, Chad Felgar, Gary Manker.

   Bob Martin, Jordan Ford, Amanda Jones, Neil Rixe, Brad Sherman, David King, Jon Atkins, Josh Welshans, Jerry Helm.

   Steve Hilborn, Ron Wright, Aaron Lucero, Kevin McGranahan, Sylvia Hurlburt, Kyle Nelson, Emily Stevens, Greg Thomas, Cory Whitmore.

   And the trio with the most seasons as Wolf coaches — Randy King, Ken Stange and Amy King.

A new champion will arise.

And a totally imaginary trophy will be waiting for them when they do.

With last year’s top two vote-getters, Ryan King and Kristin Bridges, taking a break from coaching this year, the 2nd annual CHS Coach Supreme should be a wide-open affair.

The rules are simple — 30 coaches enter the arena (whether they want to or not) and, 48 hours later, one emerges with a chance to do their best Sally Field impersonation.

“You like me, you really like me.”

No, there’s no real trophy, or plaque, or even a commemorative t-shirt, just a warm glow in your chest from a heapin’ helpin’ of internet love cascading over you.

To be eligible, you had to be a Coupeville High School coach during the 2017-2018 school year.

No slight intended to middle school coaches, but you are being excluded this time around. The name of the “award” starts with CHS, not CMS.

Voting rules? There are none.

Vote as many times as your little fingers desire, or your internet provider allows, over the next 48 hours.

The poll goes live Monday morning at 8:06 AM, and shuts down Wednesday at 8:06 AM (or whenever I stumble from bed).

It’s the Wild West out there. If you want the “award,” work for it. If you don’t, how dare you not take my silly, imaginary award seriously??????????

He said with a grin.

And, yes, if the poll seems like it arrived a bit earlier this year, it did.

I decided to jump the coach poll up from May to April to provide a bit more room (and for your voting fingers to un-cramp) between it and the poll of polls, the 6th annual CHS Athlete Supreme.

That one, where everyone loses all sense of dignity and decorum, while fighting for … an imaginary award … returns mid-May.

I’m still debating on whether to return that poll to one vote per person after internet scamps pulled off shenanigans last year to dramatically tip the results in favor of one athlete.

We shall see.

For now, like I said, this time out is Wild West rules. May the coach with the craftiest, most dedicated fan base win.

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   Our first-ever Coupeville Sports Coach Supreme winner, Ryan King, passes on some of the wisdom he picked up playing in the trenches. (John Fisken photo)

Well, it’s a nice (imaginary) parting gift.

Ryan King, who recently stepped down after stints as a football and basketball coach at CHS and CMS, is the first-ever recipient of the title of Coupeville Sports Coach Supreme.

He held off Wolf JV volleyball coach Kristin Bridges and jack-of-all-trades Bob Martin to win our 48-hour poll, pulling in 4,883 votes.

Bridges (3,797), Martin (1,429) and CHS softball gurus Kevin (1,090) and Justine McGranahan (919) round out the top five.

The contest pitted 35 coaches against each other in an internet battle royale created mainly to give me tons of extra page hits (it worked) and is a companion to our annual Coupeville Sports Athlete Supreme.

That contest has run for five years now, with Nick Streubel, Amanda Fabrizi, CJ Smith, Hunter Smith and Joey Lippo taking home top honors from 2013-2017.

Like those five, King wins nothing concrete, as I’m too cheap to have an actual trophy.

But he does get a brief moment of fame, maybe a few glares from those he vanquished, and a warm feeling in his chest from knowing the internet is on his side … today.

So, he’s good.

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Best in the biz. 14 of the 15 girls who played in a Wolf JV volleyball match this season. (John Fisken photo)

   Best in the biz. 14 of the 15 girls who played in a Wolf JV volleyball match this season. (John Fisken photo)

Screw the five-year waiting period.

Unlike some Hall of Fames that make you wait for induction, here at the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame, we have no such guidelines.

So, less than 24 hours after it wrapped its season, we welcome the 2016 Coupeville High School JV volleyball squad to these hallowed digital walls.

As the sole inductee in the 71st class to be enshrined, the 15 players and two coaches who just finished one of the best seasons ever put together by a Wolf team, at any level, get the stage to themselves.

After this you’ll find them at the top of the blog, under the Legends tab.

And why not? They played like legends.

Under the guidance of coaches Kristin Bridges and Ashley Herndon, the Wolf JV went 12-2, won 10 straight matches (a five-week-plus winning period) and dominated their league in a way few teams have.

Coupeville’s young guns went a flawless 9-0 in 1A Olympic League play, the fourth CHS squad to do so, but the first that wasn’t a girls’ basketball team.

And they did so in particularly convincing fashion.

Over the course of their showdowns with Port Townsend, Klahowya and Chimacum, the Wolves won an astounding 23 of 24 sets.

In fact, the only set they lost to a league rival came in the very final set they played this season.

Having already taken the first two sets (and the win) at Port Townsend Saturday, they apparently decided to give the rest of the conference the smallest glimmer of hope by surrendering just a smidge.

In a year where the Wolf varsity went 8-1 and roared to its first league title since 2004, the dominance of the JV is just further proof that Coupeville is ready to rule the volleyball standings for years to come.

With Bridges and Herndon meshing their styles expertly with that of first-year head coach Cory Whitmore, the spiker program is booming, both in terms of bodies in uniform and skills shown on the court.

The JV squad proved it had a short memory, as well, rebounding from a loss to 2A Sequim to drill their fellow Wolves while on the road later in the season.

So don’t think these spikers won’t remember that one lonely little set they gave up to the RedHawks and seek revenge next season.

How were they so good, so quick?

The CHS freshman class this year is extraordinarily deep in talented female athletes, young women who have honed their skills and grown used to winning in all of their sports, at the middle school, SWISH and little league levels.

They also show a willingness to learn and a commitment to hard work which bodes well as these spikers spill over into other programs such as basketball, softball and track.

Unlike a lot of JV teams, Coupeville didn’t struggle to get their serves in, which is huge at any level.

Every Wolf who served in matches operated strictly overhand and many of them laid down scorching aces on a regular basis, putting the burden squarely on the other team.

Then, once the ball was in play (or, in many cases, IF the ball was in play) they attacked as one, scrambling for balls and putting down kills with regularity.

They also seemed to enjoy themselves immensely, and while winning always helps with that, it seemed like more with this squad.

Every player who took the floor showed a burning desire to be good, to be winners, and, maybe most importantly, to pick each other up, in good times (and relatively few) bad times.

The young Wolves never splintered, never pointed fingers at each other on the rare missed shot and were quick to congratulate each other — all traits they shared with their varsity counterparts.

For the moment, though, they get to step away from their older teammates.

The Wolf varsity is a spiffy 11-4 entering the district tourney, the most wins by a CHS varsity squad since 2004, but only one volleyball team made it all the way through league play undefeated this season.

For this moment, we hail the JV’s achievement, for what it means today and what it will mean for tomorrow.

Inducted into the Hall o’ Fame, together, as a team:

Kristen Bridges (coach)
Ashley Herndon
Hannah Davidson
Maddy Hilkey
Nicole Lester
Emma Mathusek
Jillian Mayne
Lucy Sandahl
Scout Smith
Maya Toomey-Stout
Zoe Trujillo
Raven Vick
Willow Vick
Peytin Vondrak
Melia Welling
Allison Wenzel
Sarah Wright

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Hannah Davidson (John Fisken photo)

   Hannah Davidson controlled play at the net during a weekend tourney in Sequim. (John Fisken photo)

(Photo courtesy Cory Whitmore)

Bundled up for an early-morning ferry ride. (Photo courtesy Cory Whitmore)

Improvement, always improvement.

That’s what JV coaches are looking for first, last and always, and it’s exactly what Kristin Bridges witnessed Saturday.

Having taken her Coupeville High School volleyball squad to Sequim for a weekend tournament, the Wolves responded with some of their best play of the season.

A team that sits at 5-2 in regular-season play sparkled in a multi-school environment.

“The tournament was exactly what the JV team needed,” Bridges said. “They learned a lot and really began to own the court with a bit more confidence.

“Honestly, every player demonstrated such great improvement from the beginning of the season, which is what I really wanted to see as a coach.”

Competing strongly against everyone they faced, the Wolves drew big praise from their coach.

Emma (Mathusek) was our libero, playing incredible defense,” Bridges said. “At one point I referred to her as a spider monkey because she was just everywhere on the court, covering the pass, covering the block, and digging.

“Her serving was on point as well, often bringing Coupeville back in the game or gaining us a bigger lead.”

Numerous other Wolves also stepped forward and captured their moment in the spotlight.

Hannah (Davidson) had a very aggressive day on the net. She was killing it even from the 10-foot line,” Bridges said. “Her ability to adjust to the set is really quite impressive.

Lucy (Sandahl) and Scout (Smith) had beautiful assists to Hannah, Allison (Wenzel), Zoe (Trujillo), Maya (Toomey-Stout), Peytin (Vondrak) and Nicole (Lester).”

With the team having focused on passing in practice, seeing her players respond in pressure situations brought a smile to the coach’s face.

“Our passing was extremely reliable and consistent,” Bridges said. “To see those practices pay off was encouraging. Now we can shift our focus and really fine-tune different areas of our game.

“Personally, it was a very emotional day as a coach,” she added. “I am just really proud of the improvement, team work, and leadership.

“We will always have something to work on, but it’s a good day when you are able to shift your focus because they really “have it” now.”

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Kristin Bridges (John Fisken photo)

   A former state high school player of the year in Louisiana, Kristin Bridges is now imparting volleyball wisdom to young Coupeville spikers. (John Fisken photo)

A fighter and a survivor.

That’s what Coupeville High School has in its new JV volleyball coach.

Kristin Bridges, who is off to a 2-1 start in her debut season at the helm of the Wolf young guns, is a highly-accomplished spiker who has overcome daunting conditions to get to where she is today.

A state player of the year in Louisiana, she and her family lost their home during Hurricane Katrina.

During the rebuilding process, Bridges and her teammates had to scramble to find other playing options, as their high school was closed down.

As hard as going through the devastation of one of America’s worst natural disasters was, having volleyball to fall back on helped in a time of crisis.

“During evacuation, I had to attend another high school while my own was being repaired,” Bridges said. “Their volleyball team welcomed me with open arms.

“This team made me feel like I was one of their own immediately. It didn’t matter that we were competitors, at that moment we were family,” she added. “I think that’s when I really knew that volleyball was my number one love in sports.”

Midway through the year, her school reopened and she was able to reunite with her original teammates.

“It was hard playing sports and having our parents rebuilding our homes but I think we all needed something to keep us together during that trying time,” Bridges said. “Volleyball was that something.”

The sport she first picked up age five (“I fell in love”) carried Bridges on to college, though an early stint at the University of Mobile was cut short by health issues.

After moving back home, she attended the University of New Orleans and began to transition into a new role as a coach.

Her initial job came at the middle school level, where she was an 8th grade assistant at Ursuline Academy.

“It was the most fulfilling role I’ve ever held and I’m excited to be coaching once more,” Bridges said.

Having replaced Heidi Wyman, who stepped down after a season to focus on family, Coupeville’s newest coach is part of a Wolf dream team which includes first-year varsity coach Cory Whitmore and fellow assistant Ashley Herndon.

The trio are building an exciting program, expanding on what former Wolf coaches Wyman and Breanne Smedley started.

Bridges is approaching her mix of freshmen and sophomores with a three-step plan for success.

“I have three goals for the JV team this year,” she said. “Increase speed, physicality and aggressiveness, draw the team closer to the varsity level and increase their comfort and confidence on the court.”

Having the opportunity to pass on what she learned from her time on the court as a player has been a thrill for the young coach.

“I really enjoy coaching student athletes,” Bridges said. “I love seeing how hard they work in practice and watch it translate to the court.

“There is so much potential in each player; not just athletically, but academically and professionally as well,” she added. “It’s wonderful to see the drive in each of them and know that they are going to really make a difference in the world.”

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