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Posts Tagged ‘new coach’

Former Wolf Katie Kiel (left), seen with lil’ sis Kacie, is back in the Coupeville Middle School gym, this time as a coach. (Photo courtesy Lanie Kiel)

“Well first I’d like to say Aloha to everyone again!”

There’s a familiar face in the gym, as Katie Kiel, a three-sport athlete and Coupeville High School Class of 2013 grad, returns to the same hardwood floors where she once played in a Wolf uniform.

This time out, she’s joining Cris Matochi as a volleyball coach at Coupeville Middle School, and the duo will lead the spiker program into a new era.

Kiel’s hiring is official when the school board approves it at its next meeting, but in the meantime she’s already out on the floor, with practice having just started.

The CMS spikers play their first matches Sept. 29, with Langley coming to Coupeville.

For Kiel, who was a Wolf cheerleader as well as a basketball and volleyball player, the chance to give back to her alma mater is huge.

During her high school days, she volunteered with the Boys and Girls Club, coaching kindergarten and first grade students during basketball season.

Now she’s getting paid for wielding a clipboard, and loving every minute.

“This is my first official gig as a coach, and I’m excited about it!,” Kiel said. “I love this sport (volleyball), and I can’t get enough of it.”

She joins Matochi, who worked with the CMS spikers during a pandemic-altered season last school year, forming a potent duo.

“So far we’ve only had one day of practice, so we’re figuring it out together!” Kiel said.

Cris and I make a great team, so I think as far as coaching duties go, we both pick up where the other lacks, and we both have our places where we really shine.”

Kiel springs from a volleyball-mad family — younger sister Kacie also played for the Wolves all through middle and high school, while dad Steve is a frequent linesman for matches.

As she moves into coaching, Katie hopes to take the lessons she learned as a player, and incorporate them into helping to build new Wolf stars.

“My goals for the upcoming season for my players are for them to learn volleyball terminology, get comfortable with the basics, and learn how to be a great teammate,” Kiel said.

“My goal for this season as a coach is to make it a fun and inclusive place where these girls can feel supported and share my love for this sport,” she added.

“As for long-term, I would love to see these girls go all through high school together, pushing each other every day to make each other better.”

Kiel will aim for wins, but also knows personal growth is huge, especially at the middle school level.

“I hope they take away the life lessons, honestly,” she said.

“Being responsible for more than just yourself, being confident in your ability to learn and progress, and working hard for something you love, because it WILL pay off!”

The Kiel sisters were always two of the more outgoing athletes in Wolf Nation, hard workers who also embrace the laid-back, fun-loving Hawaiian-style life of parents Steve and Lanie.

For Katie, she wants to find that balance between being a friend and a mentor to her young athletes.

Reintroducing herself to the fan base she once played in front of, Kiel preaches positivity as she looks towards a bright future.

“I would like for them to know that as a person I love to talk and I’m (almost) always in a good mood, so feel free to chat me up!,” she said.

“As a coach, I would like them to know that school comes first, and while I love volleyball, grades are what’s most important.

“I would also like them to know that raising kids takes a village, so I encourage all Wolf fans to get involved!”

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Jennifer Morrell

Coupeville High School is staying in-house with the selection of its next cheer coach.

Jennifer Morrell, who works as a nurse for the school and is a former Wolf cheerleader, has been recommended for the position, CHS Principal Geoff Kappes confirmed.

Her hiring will be official when the school board approves it Aug. 23 at their monthly meeting.

Morrell, who patrolled the sidelines for Coupeville’s cheer squad in the mid-’90s, replaces BreAnna Boon, who stepped away to focus more time on an off-Island job and her children’s ever-expanding athletic endeavors.

Former CHS cheer guru Sylvia Arnold is through the roof over seeing one of her former athletes follow in her footsteps.

Jen was an amazing cheerleader for Coupeville High School back in my early coaching days! Back in 1995!!,” Arnold said.

“She is going to be exceptional as a coach … one who will bring the spirit back into our exhausted sports programs!

“She definitely understands what it means to be a part of Coupeville, a caregiver of lives, and a conduit of joy in the midst of uncertainty!!”

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Paige Spangler, a successful runner in her own right, is the new Coupeville High School cross country coach. (Photos courtesy Spangler)

There’s a new Wolf on the trail.

Paige Spangler has been tabbed to take over the Coupeville High School cross country program, a hire which becomes official after she receives school board approval.

She follows on the heels of Natasha Bamberger, Luke Samford, and Elizabeth Bitting, who all worked tirelessly to rebuild the program after it returned from a two-decade-plus absence in 2018.

Bitting, who coached the CHS harriers last season on the condition it would be a one-year gig, returns to her first love — shepherding Coupeville’s middle school runners on the path to success.

With the high school job opening back up, that gave Spangler, who moved to Whidbey in 2020 with her Naval aviator husband, a prime opportunity.

“I was attracted to the job because running is something I’m very passionate about,” Spangler said. “And I love sharing that enthusiasm I have with others.

“When I saw the opening, I knew I would enjoy working with these young adults and help them become stronger, faster, and learn valuable skills that apply to running and beyond.”

Spangler has been actively involved in athletics almost from day one, competing in cross country, soccer, softball, basketball, and weightlifting.

An avid runner for more than a decade, she’s currently training for her second marathon, which comes after an assortment of 5K’s, 10K’s, 15K’s, and half-marathons.

After Spangler and her husband Garrett arrived on Whidbey, she nabbed a job as a personal trainer, and a lot of the skills she uses in that position will carry over to the world of high school cross country.

“I have worked in strength and conditioning with several clients with various athletic backgrounds,” Spangler said.

“I am hoping to take the solid foundation that these athletes (CHS runners) have, and build their strength and athletic skills so we can have a highly-competitive season.”

Spangler and her canine companion explore a forest trail.

As schools return to more-traditional competition after a Covid-altered 2020-2021 school year, the Wolf harriers have three league meets scheduled, as well as four invitationals.

Coupeville hosts a regular-season showdown at Fort Casey with Northwest 2B/1B League rivals Orcas Island and Mount Vernon Christian, then welcomes those same schools back to Whidbey for the league championships.

While state meet veteran Catherine Lhamon graduated after winning all four of her races as a senior, there is a deep roster of returning runners.

“My main goal for this season is to build on the solid foundation that Elizabeth Bitting has set these runners up with,” Spangler said. “And work on increasing strength and speed so we can have a great season.

“Overall, the athletes having a great time and loving what they do is the goal, but winning meets and seeing improvements in their times is something we will strive for.

“I want the athletes to leave this season with a passion for running, great memories with their team, and wins under their belt.”

The first day of practice arrives Monday, Aug. 23, and Coupeville’s newest coach is ready and rarin’ to get going.

“I’m so excited to work with these athletes and see them grow during the season!,” Spangler said. “I’ve heard great things about the team, and can’t wait to start working with them!”

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Hunter Smith drills a jumper back in the day. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Coach can shoot.

Coupeville High School is reaching into its recent past to add to its coaching staff, with Hunter Smith coming out of retirement to take over the reigns of the JV boys basketball team.

Smith, a 2018 CHS grad, needs to be officially confirmed by the school board, but that’s 99.2% certain.

In a unique twist, Hunter replaces his dad, Chris Smith, who stepped down from the JV boys basketball job after moving off-Island.

The Wolf young guns will have a chance to learn from three of the program’s biggest stars of yesterday.

Smith rippled the nets for 847 points during his varsity hoops career, placing him 12th on the all-time CHS boys basketball scoring list.

Wolf varsity coach Brad Sherman is 8th on that chart, with 874 points, while volunteer assistant Greg White is 30th, having tallied 604 points on the high school hardwood.

In addition to his hoops highlights, Hunter Smith owns half the record board for CHS football, and was a star pitcher and shortstop for Wolf baseball.

The middle of Charlotte Young’s three children — trailing CJ and preceding ScoutHunter holds the school’s career records for receiving yards, receiving touchdowns, and interceptions.

He also holds single-season marks in all three of those categories, and the single-game record for receiving TD’s.

With the start of a pandemic-shortened basketball season just around the bend, Sherman and his assistants — longtime coach Randy Bottorff is helping out as well — are primed to go.

“Really excited to have Hunter coming onboard,” Sherman said. “To be able to bring in someone of such high character, who not only knows the game, but is passionate about the success of the program, is a huge win for our athletes.

Hunter is a great fit to lead our JV team and I know the whole coaching staff can’t wait to get started in a couple weeks.”

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Basketball coach Alex Evans (red shirt) is making the jump from middle school to high school. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Alex Evans is movin’ on up.

After two seasons of coaching girls basketball for Coupeville Middle School, the former Wolf star is making the jump to join the staff of new Coupeville High School girls hoops coach Scott Fox.

Evans joins Megan Smith, already named as the JV coach.

Final approval will come from the school board.

“I’m real excited to add Alex to my coaching staff,” Fox said. “He brings a great passion for the game, along with the ability to connect and teach the athletes.

“Most of the tine you’ll see me sitting between Alex and Megan, using their knowledge about basketball and game strategy,” he added. “I’m really looking forward to all of us coaching together.”

During his playing days, Evans was a three-sport star for CHS, playing football, basketball, and baseball.

As a basketball coach, he worked with SWISH teams, then put in two highly-successful stints guiding middle school programs.

His 7th grade team went 8-2 in 2017-2018, then Evans moved up to run the 8th grade squad in 2018-2019, guiding that Wolf team to a 9-0 mark.

The trio of Fox, Smith, and Evans replace David and Amy King, who retired after a seven-year run in charge of the CHS girls hoops program.

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