Posts Tagged ‘Sandy Roberts’

Ulrik Wells dominates in the paint. (Photos by JohnPhotos.net)

Young whippersnapper Jon Roberts (right) hangs out with his parental units.

Logan Martin powers in for a bucket.

Wolf volleyball star Kylie Chernikoff gives her approval to the hardwood action.

Cody Roberts has the magic touch.

Living legends Hunter Smith and Payton Aparicio return to the gym where they set records.

Gavin Knoblich will not be denied.

Can you feel the love?

The night was alive with the sound of squeaking shoes and bouncing basketballs.

Drawn in by the noise, wanderin’ paparazzi John Fisken visited the CHS gym Tuesday, arriving in time to click pics of both the Wolf JV and varsity in action.

The photos above are courtesy him, but are just a small fraction of what he snapped.

To see everything Fisken shot, and possibly purchase a glossie or two for Gram and Gramps, pop over to:


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   The Big Bad (Coupeville) Wolf gets star billing on the 1956 CHS yearbook cover. (Jack Sell photos/yearbook courtesy Sandy Roberts)

   Sandy Roberts, grandfather of current Wolf three-sport star Lindsey Roberts, back when he was a bright-eyed 14-year-old freshman.

The 1955 CHS cheer squad was thin on numbers, but strong on lung power.

   Wolf hoops star Jack Elzinga. If I was alive and covering sports back then, I would have nicknamed him “The Zinger.”

   Principal, teacher, coach, class advisor — Mert Waller, father of current Whidbey News-Times Sports Editor Jim Waller, did it all in those days.

If you wanted a song, and not a cheer, this trio were who you called.

   After a four-year absence, the Wolves returned to the gridiron (and whomped Oak Harbor).

Certain years in Coupeville High School sports history stand out.

Try 1969-1970, which gave us the greatest show on Earth — or at least in Cow Town — as Jeff Stone tickled the twines for an astonishing 644 points in one season as the high-scoring Wolves became the first Whidbey Island basketball team to win a district title.

Or take a gander at 2001-2002, when the CHS girls went to state in volleyball, basketball and softball, bringing home banners in the latter two sports.

That softball run, with four wins in five games at the state tourney, losing only to eventual champ Adna, was the closest any Coupeville squad has come to winning a team state title.

But today we’re here to talk about 1955-1956.

And why is that?

Cause, thanks to Sandy Roberts, who was a bright-eyed freshman that year, I’m holding a pristine yearbook in my hand.

Roberts would go on to be an athlete and a scholar, a successful coach and a papa whose two sons and (so far) three of his grandchildren would all star for his alma mater.

These days, he’s a few years older, yet still just as bright-eyed.

Thanks to him, I now know the graduating class of ’56 was 26 students deep (14 girls, 12 boys) and helped spur a pretty decent sports year for the Wolves.

It began on the gridiron, where Coupeville returned to football after a four-year absence.

Playing under coach Mert Waller, the Wolves made their return an auspicious one, throttling Oak Harbor 24-0 behind senior QB Jerry Zylstra.

It was back to reality after that, as CHS dropped its final four games, though all were fairly close.

The Wolves fell 13-7 to Langley, 14-13 to Everett, 13-0 to Marysville and 18-6 in a rematch with pesky Langley.

All that was forgotten about as fall turned into winter, though, as Coupeville’s basketball squad roared out of the gate and never looked back.

With Waller unleashing a lineup led by senior Jack Elzinga, who topped the Wolves in scoring for a second-straight year, CHS blitzed through the regular season to a 14-3 tune.

That included a pair of wins over Oak Harbor (50-41 and 66-49) and Langley (41-33 and 46-38), and, more importantly, a sweep of La Conner (75-68 and 41-39).

While the Braves slipped away with the Northwest Tri-County League title by a whisker, Coupeville was the only conference team to hand them a loss.

Coming off their second-place league showing, the Wolves opened the district tourney with wins over Monroe (61-46) and Darrington (61-57), but were upended 65-54 by Twin City in the semis.

Coupeville then closed with a razor-thin 54-51 loss to La Conner, settling for second place.

The Wolves had come close to a district title, but, as history now tells us, were still 14 years away from making Whidbey Island history.

Somewhere a four-year-old Jeff Stone was biding his time, whispering “Soon, soon…”

Spring brought boys tennis and baseball, with the netters finishing 5-3 under the coaching of Jack Berry.

The Wolves won two of three matches against Oak Harbor, continuing a year of domination over their Northern rivals, but Friday Harbor nipped CHS for the league title.

On the diamond, Waller’s warriors had four batters top .314 at the plate (Meryl Gordon legged out five triples, while Harold Buckner smashed five doubles) to spark a 10-5 season.

This time around, the Wolves took three of four against Oak Harbor.

With ’56 being pre-Title IX, Coupeville girls did get a taste of sports, but just a taste.

There was cheer and the G.A.A. (Girls’ Athletic Association) also brought together 21 Wolves, led by President Norma Sinema and Vice President Janice Libbey, for Friday night competition in basketball, volleyball and baseball.

Those young women would one day see their daughters and granddaughters get the chance to compete in a way they were denied, but they were trailblazers for the time.

The members of the G.A.A.:

Patricia Clark
Vicky Criscuola
Barbara Hadaway
Dolores Harper
Judy Huffman
Kathy Johnson
Rocky Johnson
Hannelore Langanka
Peggy Lanphere
Janice Libbey
Arlie Lynch
Gladys Mackey
Pat Maurer
Marilu Pierce
Betty Jo Schreiber
Reva Scott
Susan Sherman
Sally Shrum
Norma Sinema
Beverly Vaughan
Marcia Vercoe

Thanks to the yearbook, I also have pristine stats for two of the four main sports, so numbers for basketball and baseball:



Player AB Hits Runs 2B 3B HR Avg.
Harold Buckner 57 20 16 5 2 1 .351
Bob Lanphere 60 21 14 1 2 .350
Jerry Zylstra 53 18 16 2 .340
Meryl Gordon 51 16 14 2 5 1 .314
Len Buckner 49 13 9 1 1 .265
John Moskeland 54 12 10 3 .222
Denny Zylstra 45 10 6 2 .222
Dick Yake 45 7 5 1 .156
Pat Clark 33 3 3 .091
Gary Hammons 19 1 5 .052
Peter Whelan 1 .000
Bill Grasser 1 1 .000
TOTALS 467 121 105 16 10 3 .259



Player Games FG FT Fouls Points Avg.
Pat Clark 21 58 71 61 187 8.9
Blaine Ghormley 20 63 41 46 167 8.4
Jack Elzinga 21 123 63 67 309 14.7
Harold Buckner 21 67 37 31 171 8.1
Jerry Zylstra 21 59 72 43 190 9.1
Doug Speers 19 9 15 19 33 1.7
John Moskeland 13 3 2 3 8 0.6
Len Buckner 13 7 2 4 16 1.2
Denny Zylstra 8 6 4 3 16 2.0
Gary Hammons 10 4 3 4 11 1.1
Meryl Gordon 6 1 2 1 0.2
Mike Criscoula 4 1
Gene Jaeger 5 1
David Vaughan 2
TOTALS 21 399 311 285 1109 52.8

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Fathers and sons (who became fathers). Top (l to r): Tony, Larrie and David Ford.

   Fathers and sons (who became fathers). Top (l to r): Tony, Larrie, David Ford. Bottom, Sandy Roberts, Jay Roberts and family, Jon Roberts and daughter Lindsey.

So, today is Father’s Day.

It’s also the 52nd consecutive Sunday I’ve inducted a class into the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame, which is kind of amazing in itself. So yay, me.

How to tie together these two milestones, you ask?

With a six-pack of honorees, as we present a unique class — two longtime, influential local coaches and the athletic sons they guided into manhood, where the sons have returned the favor to the next generation.

Today, two families, fathers and sons, as these hallowed digital walls welcome Sandy, Jon and Jay Roberts and Larrie, David and Tony Ford.

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

The four sons are part of a golden age for Wolf male athletes, guys who played three sports a year in the ’80s while also putting in time in the classroom and in the community.

They were among the leaders (along with classmates like Mitch and Marc Aparicio) during the Reagan years, a time when CHS routinely went to state in almost every core sport on a yearly basis.

Jon Roberts is the only one of the four to bag a Male Athlete of the Year Award, but the competition was cutthroat those years.

Or he’s just the best athlete of the bunch…

Let the family fightin’ begin!!

While Jon has his best in class award, it’s Jay’s name that sits up on the big board in the entrance way to the CHS gym.

Part of a quartet that set a school record in the 4 x 100 in ’86, he, along with Bill Carstensen, Tony Killgo and Rick Alexander, own the longest-standing track record in CHS history.

Both Roberts boys are matched by the Fords, who could grow better mustaches back in the day (though maybe not as lush as the Aparicios) and were rock-solid athletes in every sport.

Adding to their legends, three of the four (Jon, Jay and David) have gifted their alma mater with athletically-gifted children, as well.

David’s youngest, Jordan, shattered the school record in the pole vault this spring and was a three-sport letterman who played like his dad and uncle, with grit and determination.

Jay’s progeny, former softball slugger Madeline and current volleyball spiker/horse ridin’ sensation Ally, have carved a super-successful path, while Jon’s oldest, Lindsey, is the next great Wolf superstar.

As a freshman, she lettered in soccer, basketball and track, going to state in the latter two sports.

And, oh yeah, became the first female athlete in school history to win three medals at one state track meet, though the question remains — is Lindsey’s speed from dad, who loathed cross country during his one season as a runner, or from mom Sherry, who beat her husband into the Hall?

A lot of the success enjoyed by the Roberts and Ford boys, and their children, started with the guys they called dad.

Sandy Roberts and Larrie Ford might not be in the state record books like former Wolf football coach Sid Otton, but they are the very personification of what small town sports coaches should be.

They were there, always, wherever someone was needed, to guide, to inspire, to teach, to pat you on the back or kick you in the butt, depending on what the situation called for at the moment.

Larrie Ford’s greatest work might have come on the track oval, where he put in many years working with Wolf athletes, many of whom speak of him with deep respect, admiration and love.

A quality guy through and through, who always had time to talk to the press (he’s a personable guy with many a story to tell), he laid the groundwork for successful seasons, and, more importantly, successful lives.

He may have retired from working for CHS a few years back, but his impact will continue to be felt for decades.

And you can easily say the same for Sandy Roberts, who coached a ton of basketball (both at the junior high and high school levels) and who, to this day, continues to sprinkle wisdom onto current little league sluggers like grandson Landon.

Like papa Ford, papa Roberts is one of the nicest guys you could hope to meet, a huge smile and a firm handshake always waiting for everyone in his path.

And I’m not just saying that because he gave me a cushion to ease the agony of sitting through multiple games every week on the horrifyingly rock-hard bleachers in the CHS gym.

Though that certainly didn’t hurt his cause.

As we celebrate another Father’s Day, it just feels right to do it by honoring these six, sons and fathers all rolled into one.

May they, and their proud family legacies, continue to soar high as honored members of Wolf Nation.

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Lindsey Roberts: Woman of a 1,000 grins. (John Fisken photos)

Lindsey Roberts: woman of 1,000 grins. (John Fisken photos)

(Amy King photo)

   Celebrating with part of her hoops squad after winning the 1A Olympic League crown. (Amy King photo)

She is The Natural. The Chosen One. The Savior.

Is she blushing yet?

Daughter to two former Coupeville High School Athlete of the Year winners.

Granddaughter to a legendary Wolf coach.

Cousin, niece and older sister to a whole host of skilled athletes, all of whom have little to no fear of the camera, as well.

So it comes as no surprise to see Lindsey Roberts lighting up the world, one day at a time.

The CHS frosh, who has already lettered (and been a key player) in soccer and basketball, is about to blow the roof off the joint in track.

Her debut on the high school oval is three days away (Thursday at the Island Jamboree in Oak Harbor), but first, there are more important matters.

Like a little cake day, as she (and grandpa Sandy) share a birthday today.

As she celebrates, we want to take a moment to gush about Lindsey, while not going too overboard.

After all, we have 3 1/3 more years to do that, as she shatters all the records and takes all the awards.

Part of a very impressive Class of 2019 (from Sarah Wright to Ashlie Shank to Kalia Littlejohn to Emma Smith to Maddy Hilkey to Ashley Menges and on and on, the freshmen girls boast one of the deepest classes of athletes in years), Roberts is the early leader.

Not to jinx her, but she’s the only Wolf 9th grader, girl or boy, who remains on pace to win a full 12 varsity letters, something very few before her have accomplished at CHS.

Whether she makes it to the land of Hailey Hammer and Megan Smith or not, she is going to be a delight to watch.

The biggest reason?

Not her talent, which is unmistakable. Not even her hard work and dedication, which bolsters the talent.

It is, quite simply, her joy.

The joy that spills out of Lindsey in great waves whenever she takes the athletic stage, regardless of the sport.

She is a young woman who genuinely seems to love being an athlete, and it carries over to how she interacts with her teammates, coaches, fans and personal photographers.

And we have to mention that, because Roberts is on a very short list (with McKayla and McKenzie Bailey, Lauren Rose, Taya Boonstra and Hunter Hammer) when it comes to lovin’ her time in front of the camera.

She is solid gold, the go-to standard, because no matter if she’s sick, eating or grumpy, she will bring her A-game whenever she hears a camera shutter go off.

Coupeville Sports lives and thrives thanks to Lindsey and her ilk, and it is absolute kismet that, as we lose a transcendent athlete like Makana Stone to graduation, we gain such a bright ball of energy as Miss Roberts.

I can go on now. I have a reason to keep publishing.

Yes, well…

Anyways, I just want to wish Lindsey (and her grandpa) the best of birthdays.

Never stop being awesome, Lou. Just keep on being yourself.

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Lindsey Roberts flies up-court. (John Fisken photos)

Lindsey Roberts flies up-court. (John Fisken photos)

Lindsey with mom Sherry (Bonacci) Roberts, a former CHS Athlete of the Year.

Lindsey with mom Sherry (Bonacci) Roberts, a former CHS Athlete of the Year.

Hanging out with cousin Ally Roberts.

Hanging out with cousin Ally Roberts.

Lindsey Roberts is like a sponge, soaking up lessons from the athletes who have come before her.

From current Wolf basketball star Kacie Kiel (“the yin to my yang, who is also a really big role model on my life”) to the 10,000 stars that have sprung from her own family, the Coupeville Middle School eighth grader has plenty to draw from.

Start with grandfather/legendary CHS coach Sandy Roberts (the pair share a birthday today, as 14-year-old Lindsey was Sandy’s 60th birthday present), then head down to parents Jon and Sherry (Bonacci) Roberts, uncle Jay Roberts and cousins Madeline and Ally Roberts.

All have starred in a variety of sports while repping the red and black, but the most important lesson Lindsey may have picked up came from one of her siblings.

“I have always looked up to my oldest sister, Austin, especially in sports; she played basketball, volleyball, and tennis,” Roberts said. “She taught me that ‘Life isn’t about finding yourself. It’s about creating yourself’.”

What she has created so far is the beginnings of a legend that may one day eclipse all of her relatives, several of whom have framed photos on the CHS gym wall reserved for the school’s past Athlete of the Year winners.

Bouncing between soccer, volleyball, basketball and track, her ever-present smile beaming a ray of sunshine ahead of her — remarkably similar to her mom’s style back in the day — Roberts is a phenom.

But one who hugely enjoys goofing off with her friends for the cameraman, content to be one part of a crew where everyone is equal.

Though, when it comes to outside inspirations, she does draw on maybe the most famous basketball player of all time, Michael Jordan.

“When I miss a shot I just think of my favorite quote,” Roberts said. “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost more than 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeeded.”

Of all her sports, it is basketball, which she started playing in first grade, that gives her the biggest thrill.

“I enjoy playing basketball because of the feeling you get when you step on the court,” Roberts said. “For me, the sport comes easily and I don’t feel like the ball is a “hot potato” and I have to get rid of it right away. I take time to dribble and look to see if anyone is open.

“I love playing basketball because it is such an up-beat sport,” she added. “It’s never a slow-paced game, it always seems fast-paced because you are constantly moving and/or running up and down the court.”

During the fall Roberts had a chance to step up and play with a team comprised otherwise of all high school girls. The experience was transforming for her.

“Both my parents have always told me to follow my dreams,” she said. “I had so much fun playing up, and I made a bunch of new friends.”

She picked up valuable pointers from that team’s coach, Scott Hay, and has also greatly benefited from time spent working with CHS girls’ basketball coach David King.

“Coach King has been the most influential coach, because he helped me a lot with how I played defense, my shot, and how I controlled the ball,” Roberts said. “One thing that I won’t forget about him is he always said to me it’s all about how much confidence you have in yourself and you have to tell yourself “I’m going to make this shot.”

“Because if you think negative things like “It’s not going in,” then you probably aren’t going to make it,” she added. “There is this one quote that says “The people who say they can, and the people who say they can’t, are usually right about themselves.”

While she’s fine-tuning her offensive game (“I am not a very accurate shooter, so I have been working on my shot”), Roberts makes a huge impact on the other side of the ball.

“I would definitely say one of my strengths in basketball is defense,” Roberts said. “My coaches have said that peripheral vision is a great skill to have and I am pretty good at keeping my eyes on the ball and keeping track of my player at the same time.”

With her final middle school hoops season having just ended, Roberts heads into track next, while already looking ahead to her first day on the high school campus.

She’ll have to choose between soccer and volleyball in the fall (she’s leaning towards running the pitch), but basketball and track are locks to fill her other two seasons.

In her spare time, she participates in her church youth group and enjoys helping out with the nursery.

That’s sort of fitting — one fast-rising, super-talented young woman with a bright outlook on life helping shape the lives of other youngsters.

Just like her own family has done for her.

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