Posts Tagged ‘Paige Spangler’

Elizabeth Bitting (left) replaces the departing Paige Spangler (right) as Coupeville High School cross country coach.

Same trails, new boss.

Well, except the new boss is also the old boss.

Coupeville Middle School cross country guru Elizabeth Bitting, who coached the Wolf high school team in 2020, is returning to reclaim the position, but this time for good.

Bitting replaces Paige Spangler, who exits after two seasons at the helm of the CHS program.

The reason for the departure?

Spangler is moving to the East Coast after her husband, who’s in the military, recently received new orders.

Bitting has been the heart and soul of Coupeville’s running programs since they were relaunched in 2018 after a two-decade absence, building the middle school program into a huge success.

CMS boasted 30+ runners this fall, an extraordinary number for a school of its size.

A huge part of that is Bitting, who infuses her students with joy, regardless of whether they are hardcore runners or first-time athletes.

While she has piloted the middle school program the past five seasons, the high school harriers have had four different coaches.

Natasha Bamberger and Luke Samford each did a season before being pulled away by real-world jobs, Bitting agreed to coach both programs for a season, then Spangler joined her on the trails.

This time, Bitting is making the jump to the high school job for good, and the middle school coaching position will be posted.

“I am truly excited about the move. It is time,” Bitting said. “There’ll be no stepping down this time! I have plans! Lots of plans!”

A lifelong runner herself, Bitting was a team captain on a state title-winning harrier team at Mt. San Antonio College.

She also helped launch Dash for the Bash (later renamed Race the Reserve), which raises money for each year’s senior class at Coupeville High School.

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Paige Spangler (right), here running with fellow coach Elizabeth Bitting, competed in Sunday’s Chicago Marathon. 

She leads by example.

Coupeville High School cross country coach Paige Spangler wasn’t with her team at this weekend’s Nike Hole in the Wall Cross Country Invitational.

That’s because the harrier coach, a dedicated runner herself, was halfway across the United States, camped out in Illinois.


Because Sunday morning Spangler was one of 40,000 runners to hit the line at the Chicago Marathon, the fourth-largest race in the country by number of finishers.

The Wolf running guru completed her 26.2-mile trek in five hours, 17 minutes, 14 seconds, placing her in the top 2,300 in her age group.

Now, with the marathon experience to guide her, Spangler will return to Whidbey Island, where she’ll lead CHS to the Northwest 2B/1B League Championships Oct. 20 in Mount Vernon.

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Elizabeth Bitting (left) and Paige Spangler, always ready for a run. (Photos property Spangler)

They’re ultra-committed.

On a day when the heat and humidity in Coupeville sapped most folks, Wolf cross country coaches Paige Spangler and Elizabeth Bitting couldn’t be stopped.

The duo overcame the weather Thursday, pounding their way through an ultra-marathon.

Darkness comes, and they’re still going strong.

Averaging 5.2 miles every four hours across a 24-hour span, Bitting and Spangler ran a 50K, which breaks down to 31.2 miles.

They kicked things off at 5 AM, finishing the sixth and final leg at the Coupeville pier as midnight approached.

The finish line!

As Spangler and Bitting prep for the start of the school running season — the former is the high school coach, while the latter heads up the middle school program — they lead by example.

Spangler is training for the Chicago Marathon, which goes down Oct. 9.


If you’d like to help the Wolf harrier coach with expenses, pop over to:


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Coupeville High School cross country coach Paige Spangler will also head up the town’s middle school track and field program. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Their rivals await.

With the pandemic waning, Coupeville Middle School track and field athletes return to competing against students from other schools this spring.

After being restricted to intramural events for a chunk of the Age of Coronavirus, the Wolves reunite with other Cascade League foes and have a six-meet schedule ahead of them.

Coupeville will draw competitors from grades 6-8, with all meets set to kick off at 3:30 PM.

The first day of practice is April 11.


The schedule:

Wed-Apr. 27 — HOME
Wed-May 4 — @ South Whidbey
Wed-May 11 — @ Lakewood
Wed-May 18 — HOME
Thur-May 26 — @ Cascade League Prelims (Lakewood)
Wed-June 1 — @ Cascade League Finals (Lakewood)

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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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