Posts Tagged ‘Lathom Kelley’

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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Matthew Ward hurdles into fall, amid an explosion of colors. (Morgan White photo)

Cameras clickin’ everywhere.

As I went back through the photos of 2022, I was struck by how many different photographers allowed me to use their work this year.

We’ve had an explosion of Coupeville High School yearbook students putting their photos out into the world, plus Wolf moms everywhere are still the backbone of the franchise.

By the time I was done picking my favorite 20 pics from the year, there were 14 photographers represented, likely the highest total for any of my year-end collections in the decade-plus Coupeville Sports has been around.

To them, I say thank you. This wouldn’t be the same without you.

Coupeville seniors Kai Wong (left) and Dominic Coffman embrace during the final moments of their state playoff game. (Becky Terry photo)

Nezi Keiper (left) and Carolyn Lhamon enjoy their time together on the soccer pitch. (Carlota Marcos Cabrillo photo)

Taygin Jump (right) and Mia Farris are on different wavelengths at the moment. (Jackie Saia photo)

The next generation of Wolf cheerleaders prepare to make their debut. (Lindsey Helm photo)

Coupeville celebrates its first boys’ basketball district title in 52 years. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Scott Hilborn races the sunset. (Bailey Thule photo)

CHS goalie Nick Guay gets group-hugged after a playoff win. (Morgan White photo)

Teagan Calkins knows where her cameraman is at. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Lathom Kelley, forever a prairie legend. (Bennett Richter photo)

Josh Upchurch hangs out with his fan club president. (Brittany Kolbet photo)

Tim Ursu makes ’em miss. (Helen Strelow photo)

Katie Marti just wants to spread the love to Madison McMillan. (Delanie Lewis photo)

Audrianna Shaw exits with grace, and humor. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

A man. A beast. A (sorta) love story. (Jodi Crimmins photo)

Coupeville’s best football season in three decades-plus started with a big showing at summer camp. (Nikki Breaux photo)

Aiden O’Neill is ready for his close-up. (Davin Houston photo)

Super excited about making it to the big dance. (Morgan White photo)

Scream ‘n holler all you want, Scott Hilborn’s not dropping this one. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Grey Peabody rules all that she sees. (Jackie Saia photo)

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Sean Toomey-Stout pauses to remember fellow Coupeville grad Lathom Kelley before Saturday’s University of Washington football game. (Photo courtesy Raven Vick)

Lathom’s memorial service. (Ben Smith photo)

It was a life well-lived.

Lathom Kelley, who died in a kayak accident in September, was a unique human being — large in personality, and always surprising.

He was a rugged athlete, a slick ladies’ man, a mama’s boy, rough and tough, but kind and caring.

Lathom loved his family and treated virtually everyone he met as his family.

He could crack heads (often his own), but also sweep others up with a kind gesture and a smile which lit up the prairie.

From the first moments of Coupeville Sports a decade ago, when he was a cartwheeling freshman and I was just exploring this transition to blogging, Lathom was The Dude.

Your dude. My dude. The dude each and every one of us needed in our lives.

He will be greatly missed, but he will never be forgotten.


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Ryan Griggs (left) and Lathom Kelley, living large. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

“Yes, I’m planning shenanigans. My name is Lathom, isn’t it??”

A celebration of Lathom Kelley’s life is set for Saturday, Oct. 22.

The event starts at 1:00 PM at the Coupeville Recreation Hall, which is at 901 NW Alexander St.

Anyone who has special photos, videos, or stories about Lathom is asked to submit them to the Kelley family for inclusion in the memorial.

They ran, yes, but they looked cool doing it. L to r: Jacob Smith, Dalton Martin, Jared Helmstadter, Lathom.


From Lathom’s family:


Lathom McCrae Kelley, 25, died unexpectedly on September 10th, 2022, in a kayaking accident just off the coast of Guemes Island, WA.

He was born September 7, 1997, in Honolulu, HI, the son of Lincoln Kelley and Shawna Hunsaker Kelley.

Lathom graduated from Coupeville High School, class of 2016.

Following graduation, he earned an Auto and Diesel Technology II Associates Degree from Universal Technical Institute in Avondale, AZ.

He served as a lead technician at Halterman’s on a team repairing RVs.

He, Ashley Barbour, and her son, Beau, formed a beautiful, young family until the time of the accident.

If you knew Lathom, you knew he enjoyed life and, in his presence, you probably did too!

His strength and energy exceeded the confines of every space he occupied.

His ability to conjure up some kind of crazy stunt or be encouraged to follow through kept the Kelley household on the edge of our seats.

We know this is a shock to you all, as it is for us.

He will always resonate in our hearts and minds and will be dearly missed.

He was predeceased by grandmother Kathy Hohnstein, grandfather Bobby Mitchael Kelley, and Uncle Wesley Hammer.

He is survived by immediate family Ashley and Beau Barbour, parents Shawna Kelley, Lincoln Kelley, Brad Barbour, Janet Barbour, brother Brandon Kelley, Grandmother Thelma Kelley, and many aunts, uncles, and cousins.


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Lathom Kelley’s jersey, and the prairie where he spent many a day. (Bennett Richter photo)

Wolf Nation is embracing one of its families.

Coupeville High School coaches, administrators, athletes, students, teachers, and fans will unite this Friday, Sept. 16 to honor Lathom Kelley and his family at halftime of a football game with Sultan.

Lathom, who graduated with the CHS Class of 2016, is believed to have died after a kayak accident Saturday between Guemes Island and Jack Island.

A search involving multiple police and fire departments and the U.S. Coast Guard recovered the kayak and an oar, which were stuck under the water’s surface in a kelp bed.

Lathom’s backpack was separately recovered, and it was confirmed he had not been wearing a life jacket.

A local diver with experience in operating in kelp braved the strong currents and high tide to lead a two-day search but a body has not been recovered.

After consultation with Lathom’s family, Coupeville High School Athletic Director Willie Smith issued the following statement Wednesday morning:


As you all know, CSD lost one of our own last weekend.

For those of you that didn’t know Lathom, he was one of those students that tested every ounce of one’s patience with his, at once crazy and limit-pushing behavior and in the next moment his positive and embracing behavior.

His father, Lincoln, worked for our district in the maintenance department for many years and was also part of our high school track program, coaching with Randy King for many years.

Brandon, his brother, also graduated from CHS and was an amazingly positive and quiet leader in his own right while at CHS.

Our football team (along with Ryan King, a former CMS/CHS coach), upon hearing of Lathom’s passing, immediately reached out to their coach with the idea of honoring Lathom with a presentation of his jersey, number #44, to his parents and family at halftime of our home game this Friday night.

They will also be wearing a #44 sticker on their helmets the remainder of the season in his honor.

The Kelleys are overwhelmed with this gesture by our football team, and it would go a long way in helping them deal with this unbelievable loss if we had a full showing of support for them at the game. 

Please join us this Friday at 7:00 PM as we come together and wrap a grieving family in the arms of our Wolf family. 

Lathom Kelley poses with parents Lincoln and Shawna, during Senior Night football festivities in 2015. (Gabe Wynn photo)

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