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Posts Tagged ‘Soccer’

Chayse Van Velkinburgh and dad Dustin – two generations of goal-scoring soccer hotshots. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

You can’t contain him, and you certainly can’t stop him.

While his playing time has been limited as the world battles through a pandemic, Coupeville soccer ace Chayse Van Velkinburgh has taken advantage of his opportunities.

Back on the field Sunday, the CES 4th grader knocked in a pair of goals to spark his U9 NWU squad to a 5-2 win over Deception FC.

What made the two-goal game an even bigger feat was Van Velkinburgh spent the game playing on the back line, anchoring the NWU defense.

But given a brief shot at blue sky, he made like dad Dustin back in the day, and sent the ball careening towards the net, hitting pay dirt.

It was the second game for the younger Van Velkinburgh and his teammates this season.

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Lauren Marrs basks in the glow of helping her basketball team win a SWISH championship. (Emili Marrs photo)

Lauren Marrs is the type of player every coach appreciates.

She can control a game by herself, seems to have little fear on the hardwood or pitch, and is already quite-polished for an athlete headed into her freshman year of high school.

But as talented as Marrs has been while playing with middle school and select squads, it is the way she embraces being part of something bigger which truly sets her apart.

She can be a star, if that’s what you need, but she can also be part of an ensemble, if that’s what you require.

All while displaying the same passion and positive attitude, regardless of her role.

For Marrs, that just comes naturally.

“I enjoy everything about being an athlete,” she said. “I love being a part of a team.

“I just want to keep working hard and learning,” Marrs added. “I want to keep improving in all areas of the sports I play.”

In her middle school days, the younger sister of former Wolf standout Jaden Marrs played sports year-round, with volleyball, basketball (school and SWISH), and select soccer on her resume.

As she makes the jump to Coupeville High School, Lauren plans to fine-tune her focus, putting an emphasis on basketball, where she’s a deadly shooter and fluid ballhandler, and soccer, which is her burning passion.

“My favorite sport is soccer,” Marrs said. “I have been playing for 10 years, select for the last six.”

On the pitch, she’s a lock-down enforcer in net, playing goaltender for the SW Reign the past three seasons.

“I love the position I play and I would like to continue on playing it throughout high school and college,” Marrs said.

She plans to play both sports all four years of high school, and pledges, “I want us to work hard and win.”

Off the field, Marrs enjoys her health and PE classes, is a big fan of The Goonies and the Indiana Jones movies, and finds numerous ways to stay busy.

“I like to spend my time playing and watching sports,” she said. “I also like to swim, hike, play b-ball, go to the beach, and spend time with my friends and my family.”

Whether she’s knifing big, bad King’s on the hardwood, nailing a three-ball from somewhere out in the parking lot as mom Emili high-fives everyone within a five-mile radius, or pulling off a sweet shutout on the soccer pitch, Lauren keep things simple.

“I look up to my parents and listen to and respect what my coaches say.”

Sounds like a star to me.

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Tia Wurzrainer: three sports, 1000% effort. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Numbers don’t always tell the full story.

And that’s why, to fully appreciate what Tia Wurzrainer brought to Coupeville High School athletics the past four years, you needed to see her play in person.

From a distance, she didn’t score a staggering amount of goals on the soccer field, and didn’t net a record-busting number of baskets on the hardwood.

But watch Tia play in person, whether it was soccer, basketball, or tennis season, and you would quickly gain an appreciation of why she was so valued by coaches, and so beloved by her teammates.

The young girl who once sat quietly eating her sandwich back in a corner at her family’s restaurant, Christopher’s on Whidbey, emerged as one of the hardest-working, far-tougher-than-expected athletes to ever pull on a Wolf jersey.

Tia did the dirty work, and then asked for more, always with a smile.

On the soccer field, she sacrificed her body game after game, a defender who seemingly feared no scoring ace, and wasn’t gonna take no crap from no one, no matter how fancy the rival school might be.

She protected her side of the field with a burning intensity, slamming into frays, chasing down breakaways, fighting for every 50/50 ball, making life considerably easier for the CHS goalkeepers who camped out behind her.

Give her a chance to score, and she could, but Tia made her name holding down the backline, where she netted All-Conference honors and earned mad respect from anyone foolish enough to challenge her.

As fall faded into winter, she would move from the pitch to the basketball court, but her persona as a quietly tough-as-nails roustabout never changed.

Tia slices to the hoop for a bucket in a big win over arch-rival South Whidbey.

The kind of “glue” player every coach needs, she was that rare teen athlete who not only accepted her role, but openly embraced it.

Need a lock-down defender?

A hustler and a scrapper?

A pass-first player who could help keep her team flowing under big-time pressure?

A staunch supporter of each and every one of her teammates?

Tia was the answer for all those needs, and she always seemed to play with the same intensity and effort regardless of whether she was starting or coming off the bench.

Proving she was a true three-sport star, she never skipped a season, joining Avalon Renninger to form a deadly doubles duo on the tennis court each spring.

Always a deadly assassin on the tennis court.

The pair meshed almost flawlessly, both in playing style, and with the grace and drive they exhibited match after match.

Team leaders, captains, and stellar competitors, the duo were on the fast track to make it to the state tourney, only to see their senior season derailed by COVID-19.

While Tia and Avalon didn’t get the chance to make a run at glory in Eastern Washington, that shouldn’t detract in the slightest from what they accomplished when given a chance to play.

While reflecting on their net careers, CHS tennis guru Ken Stange marveled at what Wurzrainer had brought to his program.

Tia … calm, cool, and collected.

“She would probably argue with me, but I think Tia is perfect.

“Kind, intelligent, intuitive, and hard working. I don’t think I ever heard a single negative word pass through her lips.

“Her work ethic was second to none. Anyone would be happy to have her as a partner, me included.”

Some athletes get a chance to put up big numbers, making it easy for people in far-off states or other countries to have at least a loose idea of what they accomplished.

But it’s those like Tia, the ones you need to be camped out in the bleachers, or on the bench, or out there on the floor with her, to really appreciate, who make an impact which can’t be matched.

If you know, you know.

And, if you don’t know, you really, truly missed out.

Today, we swing open the doors at the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame and welcome Tia to our hallowed digital hideaway, where she is reunited with Avalon, her tennis doubles partner.

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

All in all, a very appropriate choice of words to describe two of the best, as athletes and as people, to ever emerge from Coupeville.

Wurzrainer and Renninger? They were kind of a big deal.

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Erin Rosenkranz makes with the fancy footwork back in her Whidbey Islanders select soccer days. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Modern-day Erin, killin’ it in the classroom. (Photo courtesy Kerry Rosenkranz)

She shoots and scores, one more time.

Former Coupeville soccer standout Erin Rosenkranz continues to win awards, but these days most of them come in the world of academics.

The CHS grad was honored Friday by Western Washington University, named as the school’s 2020 Outstanding Biochemistry Student.

The award is named for Professor Sea Bong Chang, who taught at Western from 1964-1972.

Rosenkranz, who competed in soccer and track and field for the Wolves, is working towards her Masters in Biochemistry.

During her high school days, Erin was a top-notch student and a stellar athlete, one who earned enshrinement in the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame.

She is joined in the digital shrine by mom Kerry (McCormick) Rosenkranz, a top CHS cross country runner in the ’80s, and dad Scott, one of the soccer coaches who fueled a boom in the sport on Whidbey Island.

Balancing two soccer teams, as she also played for the Whidbey Islanders select squad, Erin Rosenkranz was a First-Team All-League pick during her senior season at CHS.

She also took home the team MVP award that year.

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A vibrant star on the soccer pitch and basketball court, Mia Littlejohn is our newest inductee into the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

You bought a ticket, she put on a show.

Across two years of middle school athletics, and three years of high school action in Coupeville, with heapin’ helpins’ of travel ball tossed in, Mia Littlejohn never failed to entertain.

She was feisty, she played at times like she had a chip on her shoulder and at other times like she had wandered in off of a playground in Jersey, and she brought the heat to all of her sports.

On the soccer field, she was a goal-scoring dervish who also could step back and set up her teammates with precision passes.

On the basketball hardwood, she was a run ‘n gun floor leader, a point guard who slashed away, charging right at the heart of the defense.

Come up on her, and she’d wheal and deal, peppering passes to all directions.

Back off, even for a split second, and Mia would turn her defender’s legs into jelly, putting some shake and bake on her moves as she filled the basket up herself.

She has an older brother, Zepher Loesch, who played with the same wild abandon, and a lil’ sis, Kalia Littlejohn, who often matched her in making the flashbulbs pop with electrifying play.

Mia never finished her run in Coupeville, opting to transfer to Oak Harbor for her senior year, where she graduated in purple and gold, instead of red and black.

But, while the move denied her the chance to add to her CHS stats, wandering up the Island should do nothing to diminish the impact she had while playing for the Wolves.

It’s why we welcome her today to the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame, acknowledging Mia’s skill, her passion, and her style of play – a freewheeling, pedal-through-the-metal flow which few have matched.

After this, if you look up at the top of the blog, under the Legends tab, you’ll find Miss Littlejohn rightfully perched where she should be.

Mia was already drawing “oohs” and “ahs” long before she hit the hallways of CHS.

She grabbed attention for her exploits as a middle school hoops sensation, a travel ball soccer ace, and, for a hot moment, as a key player on a Central Whidbey Little League softball squad which went undefeated and advanced to the state tourney.

Once in high school, she never slowed down, landing on the varsity soccer and basketball squads from day one.

On the pitch, she spent her freshman and sophomore seasons as a pass-first player, rolling up assists in great gobs, while still finding time to hammer home eight goals across the two campaigns.

Mia holds the single-season and career CHS girls soccer scoring records.

Mia’s junior season was something else, though, as she went on a goal-scoring blitz like none ever seen at CHS.

By the time she was done, and off packing ice on her scoring leg to get it to cool down at least a little, she had found the back of the net an astonishing 27 times.

That stands as the school single-season record, girl or boy, and is 12 more goals than any other Wolf girl has ever notched during a single year.

Selected as the Olympic League co-MVP, Mia finished her junior season with 35 career goals, a total which endures as the CHS girls top mark.

As good as she could be on the soccer pitch, I personally think basketball was her best sport.

On the hardwood, she always played with a little something extra.

Some will say it’s because basketball is my favorite sport, while soccer … isn’t.

But put her on the hardwood and Mia could be truly special at times.

She ran the point with precision, while also scoring a fair amount, finishing with 317 points in three seasons, putting her #35 on the Wolf girls all-time career scoring chart.

Not bad, considering Mia’s prep career coincided with those of the program’s #3 (Makana Stone), #19 (Lindsey Roberts) and #30 (Kailey Kellner) scorers, putting a premium on getting buckets.

Mia got her points in a variety of ways, spinning and popping jumpers while on the move, dashing into the paint to dare the big girls to try and catch her, or converting breakaways.

She was an opportunistic defender, and lived to bat balls away, to slide up behind a rival and pick their pocket, or just to jump down their throat as they came up-court, arms waving, screaming like a banshee.

That was where the Jersey in her game came to the forefront, as she made rival players crack, then danced away, big grin on her face.

Mia was always talented, but, most of all, she was entertaining, all day, every day.

When you pulled up a seat to watch her play, in any sport, there was never a doubt you were going to get your money’s worth.

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