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CMS athletes like Lyla Stuurmans could be back in action in January. (Corinn Parker photo)

Middle school sports have not been forgotten about.

As Washington state (and the world) deals with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, prep sports have been massively disrupted, with the loss of spring and summer seasons, and a push-back to any games during the upcoming school year.

Athletic directors, league officials, and the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association worked on creating opportunities for high school students first, but now they’ve turned their efforts to middle school as well.

As expected, middle school athletic programs will follow the lead of their high school counterparts, with no games until Jan., 2021, at the earliest.

Middle school athletes will not be totally sidelined until then, however.

The current plan offered by the WIAA will allow for an “open coaching season” from Sept. 28-Nov. 29, with this being available to middle and high school athletes.

Practices will be held after school (2:30-on), even if students are still in online learning and not in-person education, and will be posted on the Coupeville School District’s Tandem calendar.

High school sports are currently set to begin actual competition with basketball up first. Practice would begin the last week of December, with the opening games the first week of January.

With middle school sports, it’s still very much a work in progress, said CHS/CMS Athletic Director Willie Smith.

The hope is for CMS teams to also begin play in January, but no schedules have been drafted yet.

That’s largely because only two schools in the Cascade Middle School League — Coupeville and South Whidbey — are in counties which have reached Phase 3 in the state’s reopening plan.

Granite Falls, Sultan, King’s, Northshore Christian, and Lakewood all are in counties currently in Phase 2.

“This is why we aren’t publishing any schedules, because we don’t know where the majority of our league will be in January,” Smith said. “We are hopeful that all will be in at least Phase 3.”

Of the sports CMS plays, boys soccer, volleyball, track and field, and cross country are considered Phase 3 sports, while girls and boys basketball require Phase 4.

If some sports can be played, but it requires moving seasons around to do so, that opens up other questions for the league athletic directors.

“When planning the seasons, it’s important to note that we have to look at gender equity, facilities, transportation, and officials availability,” Smith said.

If and when middle school teams are allowed to play, the Cascade League plans to have each season be comprised of two weeks of practice, and three weeks of games.

The WIAA and the sports medicine group it works with plans to waive the practice requirements, but league AD’s don’t agree.

“We didn’t feel it would be in the athletes best interest, either on a safety or a mental/physical preparedness level to follow those guidelines,” Smith said.

Though current WIAA plans call for high school teams to compete through the end of June, the Cascade League wants to wrap middle school sports by the end of May.

“This aligns with the ability of our middle school students and families to be able to focus on the last month of school, rather than extend the sports year all the way to the end of June as high school is being proposed to do,” Smith said.

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Scott Fox and other CHS coaches are adapting to changes wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Coaches like to control things.

It’s how they set their teams up for success, both in the short term and long term.

So life in the time of coronavirus has to be especially frustrating for the men and women who work the sidelines at Coupeville High School, since so much control has been taken out of their hands.

While spring sports were outright cancelled during the first surge of COVID-19, the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association has been working hard to find a way to keep prep sports alive when the 2020-2021 school year begins.

Tuesday, the WIAA Executive Board released a plan in which the state would go from a standard three-season athletic calendar to one which in the year would be chopped into four parts.

If the plan holds, football, volleyball, and soccer move from fall to March, where they might be joined by cross country and boys tennis, if those “low-risk” sports are unable to play in September.

Basketball stays in the winter, and spring sports such as track and field, softball, baseball, and girls tennis hope to return along with the sun.

You can read more about the plan here:

https://coupevillesports.com/2020/07/21/wiaa-tries-to-keep-school-sports-alive/

But, as WIAA officials admit, “everything is written in pencil” as the country deals with a pandemic which has claimed almost 150,000 lives in the United States, including 1,500 in Washington state.

Having had a few days to consider the new (possible) reality, Wolf coaches share their thoughts with us:

 

Marcus Carr (Football):

We expected this to happen. I am happy that it was moved to the spring and not canceled.

Would have hated for our seniors not to be able to play.

Hopefully things will be to a point where we can also have fans in the stands.

With the amount of hard work athletes put into practicing and getting better it would be a shame for them to compete with no one there to cheer them on.

We may have to wait a little longer but at least we know that a season is possible.

 

Scott Fox (Girls Basketball):

We still have a long way to go, but I’m excited that we have a plan in place to shoot for, no pun intended! 

This modified season will be a welcome breath of fresh air for everybody.

We are used to playing in the winter so basketball isn’t as affected as the other sports; we just have to realize that everybody is in the same situation that we are in.

It will be nice to have Thanksgiving and Christmas off, then ramp up for basketball.

I told the kids that if we are the first sport out of the gate, let’s set the tone in our new league about Coupeville sports.

We’ll be ready!

 

Kyle Nelson (Girls Soccer):

I appreciate that WIAA is getting creative to try and give everyone an opportunity to play this year.

Plus, I am familiar with soccer in the spring.

Just excited for a chance to play in our new league, even if I have to wait a bit longer.

 

Brad Sherman (Boys Basketball):

I’m grateful for the WIAA effort to make this work given the circumstances.

Certainly I really feel for our guys (and all of our CHS athletes).

None of this is easy. And I don’t think many realize how much these kids are giving up.

But I think the message has to be: We can spend our time being frustrated over things we can’t control, or we can focus on the things we can.

The date and structure of our season changed. But at the end of the day, it’s a date.

What hasn’t changed is how hard our boys worked this summer.

It hasn’t changed the big goals they set for themselves this season. It hasn’t changed how much they love the game.

We (coaches and players) just have a little more time to prepare for the season.

I’m proud of our guys and how they’ve responded to the adversity, and the work so many of them chose to put in this summer.

I have no doubt this group will be ready to go whenever that date comes, and it’s deemed safe for athletes to return to play.

In June some of our guys, from various grade levels, met and were asked to develop a motto that would be unique to the 2020-21 team.

It just needed to fit them, align with team values, and align with their goals.

And after a while they came back to the coaches with: “Nothing for Granted.”

Pretty profound if you ask me.

Team camp cancelled. Tournament cancelled. Retreat cancelled. Practices highly regulated. And a season in limbo.

And the message/mantra they decide on as a group is one of gratitude. Pretty awesome.

So while a season delay is tough, I certainly think our guys are in the right mindset to tackle the challenge head-on.

 

Cory Whitmore (Volleyball):

What odd times we live in and no doubt there will be more curveballs thrown our way (had to throw in a sport analogy).

I guess my thinking is that there is a lot to be grateful for in light of this new information from the WIAA concerning the change in seasons.

Sure, these adjustments make for some serious changes in our normal routines and future plans, but I’m very thankful that we have the tentative plan of actually having a season.

We can be thankful that fall sports have been adjusted instead of cancelled outright, as our spring 2020 athletic programs experienced. 

My heart goes out to all of the 2020 spring sport athletes, families, coaches and community members that were so looking forward to participating.

I’m cautiously hopeful that things will have improved greatly by the time our “Covid-season” rolls around in 2021 and we can get safely back to offering sports and activities for our Coupeville youth.

In the meantime, I’m going to try and focus on those things to be grateful for and encourage our team to try and do the same.

Knowing how important it is to keep kids active and social, we will definitely get creative to provide that within the safety of regulations.

It’s definitely hard to always “look on the bright side,” but I guess what else is there to do but be hopeful, grateful and take care of each other?

No doubt these kids and this community will bounce back.

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Spring sports approach, which means Maya Toomey-Stout is about to return to action. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

You can see the end from here.

The upcoming spring sports season, which kicks off March 2, is the finale for both the 2019-2020 school year, and for Coupeville’s two-year run in the North Sound Conference.

When a new school year rolls around in the fall, CHS will have dropped down a classification, from 1A to 2B, and will be off to rejoin old-school rivals in the Northwest 2B/1B League.

But, before we get there, five Wolf teams still have a season to play, with one squad — the softball sluggers — seeking to exit with back-to-back league titles.

As you peruse the schedules below, know that Mother Nature will undoubtedly wreak havoc with them at some point.

So, use them as a jumping off point, but also keep an eye out for changes, which you can find at a couple of places.

School website — http://coupeville.tandem.co/

League website — http://www.nscathletics.com/index.php?pid=0.60.0.0.200

In the varsity schedules below, asterisks indicate a league game, and to the surprise of almost everyone, four of the five Wolf spring teams have more home games than road trips.

And, while track and field is the only sport which will spend more time on the bus than hanging out in its own grandstand, the program has three home meets, which is still pretty dang good.

 

BASEBALL:

Tues-Mar. 17 — @ Friday Harbor (4:00)
Fri-Mar. 20 — Lynden Christian (TBA)
Sat-Mar. 21 — Overlake (1:00)
Mon-Mar. 23 — Cedar Park Christian* (4:00)
Wed-Mar. 25 — Cedar Park Christian* (4:00)
Fri-Mar. 27 — @ Cedar Park Christian* (3:30)
Mon-Mar. 30 — Chimacum (4:00)
Wed-Apr. 1 — University Prep (4:00)
Mon-Apr. 6 — King’s* (4:00)
Wed-Apr. 8 — @ King’s* (6:00)
Fri-Apr. 10 — King’s* (4:00)
Mon-Apr. 13 — @ South Whidbey* (4:00)
Wed-Apr. 15 — South Whidbey* (4:00)
Fri-Apr. 17 — @ South Whidbey* (4:00)
Mon-Apr. 20 — @ Sultan* (4:00)
Wed-Apr. 22 — Sultan* (4:00)
Fri-Apr. 24 — @ Sultan* (4:00)
Mon-Apr. 27 — @ Granite Falls* (4:00)
Wed-Apr. 29 — Granite Falls* (4:00)
Fri-May 1 — @ Granite Falls* (4:00)

 

BOYS SOCCER:

Mon-Mar. 16 — @ Mount Baker (4:30)
Thurs-Mar. 19 — Meridian (TBA)
Sat-Mar. 21 — Nooksack Valley (TBA)
Tues-Mar. 24 — @ King’s* (7:00)
Fri-Mar. 27 — @ Sultan* (7:00)
Tues-Mar. 31 — Cedar Park Christian* (6:45)
Fri-Apr. 3 — South Whidbey* (6:45)
Tues-Apr. 14 — @ Granite Falls* (6:00)
Fri-Apr. 17 — King’s* (6:45)
Tues-Apr. 21 — Sultan* (6:45)
Fri-Apr. 24 — @ Cedar Park Christian* (6:00)
Tues-Apr. 28 — @ South Whidbey* (6:00)
Thurs-Apr. 30 — Granite Falls* (6:45)

 

GIRLS TENNIS:

Tues-Mar. 17 — Oak Harbor (3:30)
Thurs-Mar. 26 — @ King’s* (3:30)
Thurs-Apr. 2 — Anacortes (3:30)
Fri-Apr. 3 — Bear Creek (3:30)
Tues-Apr. 14 — @ South Whidbey* (3:30)
Tues-Apr. 21 — @ Granite Falls* (3:30)
Thurs-Apr. 23 — Port Angeles (3:30)
Tues-Apr. 28 — King’s* (3:30)
Thurs-Apr. 30 — South Whidbey* (3:30)
Fri-May 1 — Friday Harbor* (3:30)
Tues-May 5 — @ Friday Harbor* (3:30)
Thurs-May 7 — Granite Falls* (3:30)

 

SOFTBALL:

Tues-Mar. 17 — @ Friday Harbor (4:00)
Fri-Mar. 20 — Lynden Christian (4:00)
Thur-Mar. 26 — @ Cedar Park Christian* (4:00)
Tues-Mar. 31 — Granite Falls* (4:00)
Thur-Apr. 2 — Sultan* (4:00)
Tues-Apr. 14 — @ South Whidbey* (4:00)
Sat-Apr. 18 — @ Meridian (1:00)
Mon-Apr. 20 — @ Cedar Park Christian* (4:00)
Wed-Apr. 22 — Granite Falls* (4:00)
Fri-Apr. 24 — Sultan* (4:00)
Tues-Apr. 28 — @ South Whidbey* (4:00)
Sat-May 2 — Forks (1:00)
Sat-May 2 — Forks (3:00)
Mon-May 4 — Cedar Park Christian* (4:00)
Wed-May 6 — @ Granite Falls* (4:00)
Fri-May 8 — @ Sultan* (4:00)
Tues-May 12 — South Whidbey* (4:00)

 

TRACK:

Thur-Mar. 19 @ Oak Harbor Jamboree (3:30)
Thur-Mar. 26 — @ King’s (4:00)
Sat-Mar. 28 — HOME (11:00)
Thur-Apr. 2 — HOME (4:00)
Thur-Apr. 16 — @ Granite Falls (4:00)
Sat-Apr. 18 — @ Lil Norway (11:00)
Thur-Apr. 23 — HOME (4:00)
Thur-Apr. 30 — @ Granite Falls (4:00)

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Thirteen days from today, Coupeville High School soccer star Derek Leyva and other spring athletes begin practice. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

A look out the window says winter, but a look at the schedule says spring.

Well, at least in terms of high school sports seasons, as we’re less than two weeks from the first practices.

Whether or not we’re still trapped in a new ice age at that point, Monday, Feb. 25 marks the start for Coupeville High School track, baseball, soccer, tennis, and softball.

The first game arrives Mar. 9, when the Wolf boys soccer squad welcomes Chimacum to town for a non-conference tilt.

As you mentally prepare yourself for a typical Central Whidbey spring sports season of sideways rain and howling prairie wind, as opposed to snow and ice, here’s a look at all the team’s schedules.

You may notice a few quirks which come along with being in a new league this season.

After bouncing from team to team in a haphazard manner in the Olympic League, Coupeville baseball gets to return to how life was back in the Cascade Conference.

Teams will play the same league opponent three times in one week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday), either going home, away, home, or away, home, away.

That gives squads a chance to play actual series, like college or MLB teams do, and forces coaches to make more adjustments as they take into consideration state-mandated pitch count limits and other factors.

Softball also plays each league foe three times, though those meetings are scattered across the schedule, and King’s doesn’t field a team in the sport.

Boys soccer and girls tennis face off with conference rivals twice, but the netters will see a different line-up than anyone else.

Neither Cedar Park Christian or Sultan have tennis teams, but Friday Harbor, the only school to play the sport in the 2B/1B Northwest League, is taking one of their slots.

It makes sense, as the Wolverines are a longtime Coupeville rival, and 1A, 2B, and 1B all compete in the same state tourney in tennis.

Finally, track and field boasts its most home meets in forever.

The Wolves, still enjoying the “new oval” smell of their renovated running surface, have a pair of three-team league meets and an invitational scheduled to play out in front of local fans.

With trips to Oak Harbor and South Whidbey also on the schedule, Coupeville will stay on Whidbey Island for five of nine regular-season events currently on the schedule.

And, one last word of warning — only a fool expects spring sports to play out 100% to schedule.

Unless the weather gods take pity on us after giving us the shaft this past week-plus, keep one eye peeled for updates.

 

Coupeville Schools:

https://coupeville.tandem.co/

 

North Sound Conference:

http://www.nscathletics.com

 

So, as of Feb. 12, this is where things are for CHS varsity teams, with * indicating a league game.

 

BASEBALL:

Tues-Mar. 12 — Friday Harbor (3:30)
Fri-Mar. 15 — @Lynden Christian (3:00)
Sat-Mar. 16 — Overlake (1:00)
Mon-Mar. 18 — @Cedar Park Christian (6:30)*
Wed-Mar. 20 — Cedar Park Christian (4:00)*
Fri-Mar. 22 — @Cedar Park Christian (6:30)*
Mon-Mar. 25 — Chimacum (4:00)
Wed-Mar. 27 — @University Prep (TBD)
Mon-Apr. 1 — @King’s (6:00)*
Wed-Apr. 3 — King’s (4:00)*
Fri-Apr. 5 — @King’s (6:00)*
Mon-Apr. 8 — South Whidbey (4:00)*
Wed-Apr. 10 — @South Whidbey (4:00)*
Fri-Apr. 12 — South Whidbey (4:00)*
Mon-Apr. 15 — Sultan (4:00)*
Wed-Apr. 17 — @Sultan (4:00)*
Fri-Apr. 19 — Sultan (4:00)*
Mon-Apr. 22 — Granite Falls (4:00)*
Wed-Apr. 24 — @Granite Falls (4:00)*
Fri-Apr. 26 — Granite Falls (4:00)*

 

BOYS SOCCER:

Sat-Mar. 9 — Chimacum (12:30)
Mon-Mar. 11 — Mount Baker (5:00)
Thur-Mar. 14 — @Meridian (4:30)
Sat-Mar. 16 — @Nooksack Valley (1:00)
Tues-Mar. 19 — King’s (6:45)*
Fri-Mar. 22 — Sultan (6:45)*
Tues-Mar. 26 — @Cedar Park Christian (6:00)*
Fri-Mar. 29 — @South Whidbey (6:00)*
Mon-Apr. 1 — @Forks (3:30)
Tue-Apr. 9 — Granite Falls (6:45)*
Fri-Apr. 12 — @King’s (7:00)*
Tues-Apr. 16 — @Sultan (7:00)*
Fri-Apr. 19 — Cedar Park Christian (6:45)*
Tues-Apr. 23 — South Whidbey (6:45)*
Thur-Apr. 25 — @Granite Falls (6:00)*

 

GIRLS TENNIS:

Mon-Mar 11 — @Port Angeles (4:00)
Thur-Mar. 28 — King’s (3:30)*
Mon-Apr. 8 — @Chimacum (4:00)
Tues-Apr. 9 — South Whidbey (3:30)*
Thur-Apr. 11 — @Friday Harbor (3:30)*
Tues-Apr. 16 — Granite Falls (3:30)*
Tues-Apr. 23 — @King’s (3:30)*
Thur-Apr. 25 — @ South Whidbey (3:30)*
Tues-Apr. 30 — Friday Harbor (3:30)*
Thur-May 2 — @Granite Falls (3:30)*

 

SOFTBALL:

Tues-Mar. 12 — Friday Harbor (3:30)
Fri-Mar. 15 — @Lynden Christian (3:00)
Sat-Mar. 16 — Lakewood (1:00)
Thur-Mar. 21 — Cedar Park Christian (4:00)*
Tues-Mar. 26 — @Granite Falls (4:00)*
Thur-Mar. 28 — @Sultan (4:00)*
Sat-Mar. 30 — @Forks (1:00)
Sat-Apr. 6 — Meridian (1:00)
Tues-Apr. 9 — South Whidbey (4:00)*
Mon-Apr. 15 — Cedar Park Christian (4:00)*
Wed-Apr. 17 — @Granite Falls (4:00)*
Fri-Apr. 19 — @Sultan (4:00)*
Tues-Apr. 23 — South Whidbey (4:00)*
Thur-Apr. 25 — Chimacum (4:00)
Mon-Apr. 29 — @Cedar Park Christian (4:00)*
Wed-May 1 — Granite Falls (4:00)*
Fri-May 3 — Sultan (4:00)*
Tues-May 7 — @South Whidbey (4:00)*

 

TRACK AND FIELD:

Thur-Mar. 14 — @Oak Harbor Jamboree (3:30)
Thur-Mar. 21 — HOME vs. S. Whidbey, Granite (4:00)*
Thur-Mar. 28 — @King’s (4:00)*
Sat-Mar. 30 — Coupeville Invite (11:00)
Thur-Apr. 11 — HOME vs. King’s, Cedar Park (4:00)*
Sat-Apr. 13 — @Cashmere Invitational (12:00)
Thur-Apr. 18 — @Sultan (4:00)*
Sat-Apr. 20 — @Lil’ Norway Invitational – N. Kitsap (11:00)
Thur-Apr. 25 — @South Whidbey (4:00)*

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Seven weeks from today, junior Hannah Davidson will likely help Coupeville kick off a new basketball season. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Seven weeks.

It’s both an eternity and a quick flick of the calendar.

And, as of today, seven weeks is exactly how long until the first official high school basketball game tips off.

Coupeville’s squads, led by David and Amy King (girls) and Brad Sherman and Chris Smith (boys) hit the courts Nov. 12 for the first day of practice, while the Wolf girls host Meridian Nov. 27 to start the 2018-19 season.

In preparation of that, CHS Athletic Director Willie Smith officially released the buffed, shined and (hopefully) final version of the schedules Tuesday afternoon.

As Wolf hoops kicks off its first voyage through the North Sound Conference, the two squads sit with 10 league games and eight non-league games apiece.

The girls get a true split schedule, with nine at home and nine on the road, while the boys will spend a bit more time on the bus, with a 10-8 split in favor of off-Island match-ups.

The most intriguing game on the schedule for either teams might be the opener for the CHS boys.

The foe in that game, a home tilt Nov. 28, is the big school to the North, 3A Oak Harbor.

It’s the first time the two schools have faced off in a regular-season hardwood game since Coupeville stunned the Wildcats 66-61 way back on Dec. 21, 2009.

 

This winter’s schedules (times are for JV and varsity, and * = league game):

 

GIRLS:

Tue-Nov. 27 — Meridian — (5:15/7:00)
Sat-Dec. 1 — Bush — (4:45/3:00)
Mon-Dec. 3 — @Sequim — (3:45/5:30)
Wed-Dec. 5 — Friday Harbor — (5:15/3:45)
Sat-Dec. 8 — @Orcas Island — (1:00/2:30)
Fri-Dec. 14 — @Concrete — (7:30/6:00)
Tue-Dec. 18 — Sultan — (5:00/6:45) *
Thur-Dec. 20 — Port Townsend — (3:30/5:15)
Sat-Dec. 22 — @Nooksack Valley — (2:45/1:00)
Fri-Jan. 4 — @King’s — (3:30/5:00) *
Tues-Jan. 8 — @Cedar Park Christian — (5:00/6:45) *
Fri-Jan. 11 — @Sultan — (3:30/6:30) *
Tue-Jan. 15 — Granite Falls — (5:00/6:45) *
Fri-Jan. 18 — South Whidbey — (5:00/6:45) *
Tue-Jan. 22 — @South Whidbey — (5:00/6:45) *
Fri-Jan. 25 — Cedar Park Christian — (5:00/6:45) *
Tue-Jan. 29 — King’s — (5:00/6:45) *
Fri-Feb. 1 — @Granite Falls — (3:30/6:30) *

 

BOYS:

Wed-Nov. 28 — Oak Harbor — (5:15/7:00)
Sat-Dec. 1 — Bush — (3:00/4:45)
Mon-Dec. 3 — @Sequim — (5:30/3:45)
Wed-Dec. 5 — Friday Harbor — (3:45/5:15)
Sat-Dec. 8 — @Orcas Island — (2:30/1:00)
Tue-Dec. 11 — Sultan — (5:00/6:45) *
Fri-Dec. 14 — @Concrete — (6:00/7:30)
Thur-Dec. 20 — @Port Townsend — (4:30/6:00)
Sat-Dec. 22 — @Nooksack Valley — (1:00/2:45)
Fri-Jan. 4 — @King’s — (3:30/6:45) *
Tue-Jan. 8 — Granite Falls — (5:00/6:45) *
Fri-Jan. 11 — @Sultan — (5:00/8:00) *
Tue-Jan. 15 — @Cedar Park Christian — (5:00/6:45) *
Fri-Jan. 18 — South Whidbey — (5:00/6:45) *
Tue-Jan. 22 — King’s — (5:00/6:45) *
Fri-Jan. 25 — Cedar Park Christian — (5:00/6:45) *
Tue-Jan. 29 — @South Whidbey — (5:00/6:45) *
Fri-Feb. 1 — @Granite Falls — (5:00/8:00) *

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