Posts Tagged ‘state tournament’

Coupeville High School seniors Jonathan Valenzuela (left) and Scott Hilborn were nine-year-olds the last time Wolf baseball went to state. (Morgan White photo)

Party like it’s 2014.

Thrashing Friday Harbor 11-0 Saturday in Arlington in a game mercy-ruled after five innings, the Coupeville High School baseball squad continues to rack up honors.

With the victory, the Wolves, now 16-5 on the season, add the District 1/2 title to their Northwest 2B/1B League crown, while earning a trip to the big dance for the first time in nine seasons.

The last time a CHS hardball squad went to the state tourney, Willie Smith was still head coach, current assistant coach Morgan Payne was in the starting lineup, and Coupeville was nipped 2-1 by Rochester in a first-round loss.

This time around, the Wolves are one of 12 teams still alive in the hunt for the 2B crown.

They will learn their opening opponent and the location of the game Sunday when the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association seeding committee releases its bracket.

First round and quarterfinal games will be played May 20 at various sites, with the semifinals May 26 and the title game and 3rd/4th place game May 27.

The May 26 and 27 games are set for Johnson-O’Brien Stadium at Ephrata High School.

The first two rounds of state are single elimination, with the top four seeds earning a first-round bye.

To see the bracket — without teams in place yet — pop over to:


Wolf coach Steve Hilborn strolls off with the hardware. (Shannon Hamilton photo)

Coupeville baseball had to wait a bit longer than expected to earn its tenth trip to state, with bi-districts delayed thanks to Friday Harbor having issues with the state ferry system.

Once the Wolverines, the #2 seed from District 1, arrived in Arlington, they jumped all over District 2’s Northwest Christian (Lacey), running them off the field 16-0 in a loser-out game.

The day’s second game was also a blowout, but this time Friday Harbor was the one being battered senseless.

Coupeville hit the field hot and never relented, scoring in all four innings in which it sent batters to the plate.

The Wolves slapped three runs on the board in the first, netting all the runs starting pitcher Scott Hilborn would need.

Jonathan Valenzuela lashed a two-run double to center to get CHS going, then came around to score on a Friday Harbor wild pitch.

Hilborn, who struck out eight while limiting the Wolverines to just a pair of hits and a lone walk, was fairly flawless, while his defense removed one brief threat with a slickly turned double play.

From 3-0, Coupeville pushed its lead out to 7-0 through two, then made it 10-0 after three, and 11-0 coming out of the fourth frame.

The Wolves finished with 13 hits in four innings worth of at-bats, with seven different hitters racking up at least one base knock.

Chase Anderson drops a bunt for a hit. (Morgan White photo)

Aiden O’Neill and Peyton Caveness crunched RBI doubles in the second, then both came around later to swat RBI singles.

The last of O’Neill’s run-scoring hits plated courtesy runner Landon Roberts to close the scoring, before Hilborn ended the game with three straight strikeouts.

Coupeville’s stellar season has come courtesy of a young team, as seven of the 11 players sent into Saturday’s game by first-year CHS head coach Steve Hilborn are freshmen or sophomores.

Scott Hilborn and Valenzuela are the only seniors, while starters Chase Anderson, Coop Cooper, Camden Glover, and O’Neill are 9th graders.


Saturday stats:

Chase Anderson — Two singles
Peyton Caveness — Two singles, one double
Camden Glover — One walk
Scott Hilborn — Two singles
Aiden O’Neill — One single, one double
Jack Porter — One single
Johnny Porter — One walk
Jonathan Valenzuela — One single, one double, one walk
Cole White — One single

League champs. Bi-District champs. Ticket to the big dance punched. (Morgan White photo)

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Coupeville athletes like Lyla Stuurmans spent much of 2022 earning awards for their stellar play. (Photo courtesy Sarah Stuurmans)

Things got historical.

As the last days of 2022 play out, a look back at the year that was reveals huge highs and crushing lows.

The biggest story was almost certainly Coupeville High School’s male athletes finally making it back to the promised land.

Both the Wolf boys’ basketball and football squads advanced to the state tournament in ’22, snapping 34 and 32-year dry spells, respectively.

Off the schneid, and it feels so good.

Brad Sherman’s hoops squad was the last unbeaten 2B team in the state this year, crunching La Conner in the bi-district title game to get to 16-0.

With a different leading scorer almost every night, and an aggressive defense anchored by the Marauding Murdy boys — Xavier and Alex — the Wolves win their first league title since Sherman was dropping three-balls back in 2002.

The bi-district win is the program’s first postseason crown since 1970, and Coupeville plays strongly against top-ranked Kalama and always-tough Lake Roosevelt in their first trip to state since 1988.

Xavier Murdy (front) and Grady Rickner clamp down on defense. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Jump forward to the fall, and the Wolf gridiron squad, led by first-year head coach Bennett Richter, roars to a 7-2 mark, claiming its first league title and trip to state since 1990.

Coupeville hosts 2B power Onalaska in that postseason clash and pushes the Loggers to the last play, despite losing starting quarterback Logan Downes to injury midway through the third quarter.

With that in mind, a reflection on the year on its way out the door, and other stories which captured our attention.


Hello and Goodbye:

A handful of Wolf coaches leave their posts, for varied reasons, and new leaders rise in the ranks to take their places.

Out the door – high school: Randy King (track), Paige Spangler (cross country), Kyle Nelson (girls’ soccer), Will Thayer (baseball), Marcus Carr (football), Greg Turcott (JV girls’ basketball).

In the door – high school: Bennett Richter (football), Elizabeth Bitting (cross country and track), Bob Martin (track), Steve Hilborn (baseball), Katrina McGranahan (JV softball), Kassie O’Neil (JV girls’ basketball).

Out the door – middle school: Katie Kiel (volleyball), Kassie O’Neil (girls’ basketball), Kristina Forbes (girls’ basketball), Elizabeth Bitting (cross country and track)

In the door – middle school: Raven Vick (volleyball).


Still the King:

Coupeville grad Kyle King, a five-time state champ who went on to be an NCAA D-I athlete, wins the 47th Marine Corps Marathon, besting a field of thousands.

The race is the fourth largest in the United States and ninth largest in the world.

Kyle King, at rest. (Photo courtesy Randy King)


Big brains, fast feet:

The CHS girls’ cross country squad wins a league title, makes it to state as a team, and claims an academic state title for having the best GPA among all 2B schools.

Helen Strelow, Claire Mayne, Cristina McGrath, Noelle Western, Erica McGrath, and Reagan Callahan are joined at state by Wolf boys Mitchell Hall and Carson Field.


They rule the school:

Junior Carolyn Lhamon (soccer, basketball, track) and senior Xavier Murdy (soccer, basketball, baseball) are honored as Coupeville High School’s Athletes of the Year.

It’s a repeat for Murdy, who also won the year before.


Better than the state champs … for a day:

Friday Harbor goes on a rampage on the pitch, riding a hot streak all the way to the first boys’ soccer state title in school history.

The Wolverines lose twice all season. Once to state runner-up, and defending champ, Orcas Island, and once to Coupeville.

It’s true.

CHS senior Aidan Wilson nets a hat trick, while younger brother Cael is superb in net as the Wolves shock Friday Harbor, and the prep soccer world, winning 3-1 at Mickey Clark Field.


Bad break on the hardwood:

There were numerous injuries, but the one with the biggest impact comes in January, when basketball sharpshooter Alita Blouin breaks her ankle during pregame introductions.

She misses the rest of the 2021-2022 hardwood season, and both Wolf hoops programs bar their players from jumping during future roll calls.

But once she heals, Blouin returns to star on the volleyball court, is named Homecoming Queen, and is now back torching basketball nets as a senior.

Alita Blouin launches a serve. (Bailey Thule photo)


Change in the boardroom:

Longtime school board director Glenda Merwine retires with a year left in her term, citing health concerns, and is replaced by tireless school volunteer Alison Perera, who is plucked from a field of six candidates.


The Torpedo hits pay dirt:

Coupeville grad Sean Toomey-Stout becomes the first former Wolf to record stats for the University of Washington football program.

A sophomore in his second season with the NCAA D-I powerhouse, he plays in six games, inlcuding the Alamo Bowl, making seven tackles.

Plus, Toomey-Stout smashes another barrier, landing on a trading card as part of a set featuring U-Dub players, coaches, and the team mascot.


International woman of mystery:

Makana Stone is gettin’ paid.

The Wolf grad is in her second season as a pro hoops star, first playing for Leicester in England and now suiting up for Baerum in Norway.

Stone pours in 275 points and snatches 193 boards as a rookie and currently leads her second squad in scoring as she and teammates vie for a league crown.

Makana Stone rises to the heavens. (Photo property Marianne Maja Stenerud)


All your titles are ours:

Coupeville claims conference crowns in boys’ basketball, softball, baseball, girls’ tennis, football, and both girls’ and boys’ cross country in 2022.

Toss in a district title for boys’ track and a bi-district crown for boys’ basketball and the trophy case is getting (nicely) crowded.



Coupeville brings home league MVP awards thanks to Izzy Wells (softball), Xavier Murdy (boys’ basketball), Dominic Coffman (football), Hawthorne Wolfe (baseball), and Scott Hilborn (football).

Taking it to the next level, Murdy and volleyball spikers Maddie Georges and Alita Blouin play in All-State games, while Wolfe and Hilborn receive All-State honors for their work on the diamond.

Ja’Kenya Hoskins (left) and Izzy Wells enjoy each other’s company. (Katy Wells photo)


A net loss:

The CHS boys’ tennis program sits quiet for a third consecutive season, unable to attract enough players to form a competitive team.

The pandemic hurt, but Coupeville’s transition from 1A to 2B, with boys’ soccer moving from spring to fall — where football, cross country, and boys’ tennis also compete for athletes — has been a so-far fatal blow.


Rulers of the oval:

Coupeville sends 16 athletes to the state track and field meet in Cheney, with the Wolf boys finishing 7th in the team standings.

Ryanne Knoblich (high jump), Logan Martin (shot put, discus) and the 4 x 100 unit of Reiley Araceley, Aidan Wilson, Caleb Meyer, and Dominic Coffman claim 2nd place finishes.

When the official state meet is done, Martin moves on and also finishes 2nd in the hammer throw at an invite-only championship event.


Save your best shot for last:

Wolf senior Hawthorne Wolfe, denied a chance to make a full run at the all-time CHS boys basketball career scoring record when Covid interrupts two seasons, closes on a high.

Scoring 10 of his game-high 16 points in the fourth quarter of Coupeville’s state tourney finale, he knocks down a three-ball for his final high school bucket.

That gives Wolfe exactly 800 career points — one of just 14 Wolf boys to hit that mark for a program which launched in 1917.

Hawthorne Wolfe, skippin’ through life. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)


Remembering those who fell too soon:

Throughout the basketball season, and also on Graduation Day, Coupeville students keep the memory of Bennett Boyles alive and close to their hearts.

The former hoops star lost a battle with cancer just short of his 13th birthday but is with his fellow Wolves in spirit as they finish their high school journeys.

Late this year, Wolf Nation is rocked when Lathom Kelley, a badass with an unexpected huge heart, dies in a boating accident days after his 25th birthday.

Coupeville’s football program remembers its wild child, and his giddy, full-throated embrace of life, beating Sultan after an emotional halftime tribute which includes current players giving the family Lathom’s #44 jersey.


Still at it, huh?

Milestones, they keep on comin’.

Coupeville Sports turns 10 years old Aug. 15 – a testament to me frequently writing at 2 AM in hopes of getting free cookies from readers.

Some days are easier than others, but the march towards story #10,000 continues.

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Matthew Ward hurdles into fall, amid an explosion of colors. (Morgan White photo)

Cameras clickin’ everywhere.

As I went back through the photos of 2022, I was struck by how many different photographers allowed me to use their work this year.

We’ve had an explosion of Coupeville High School yearbook students putting their photos out into the world, plus Wolf moms everywhere are still the backbone of the franchise.

By the time I was done picking my favorite 20 pics from the year, there were 14 photographers represented, likely the highest total for any of my year-end collections in the decade-plus Coupeville Sports has been around.

To them, I say thank you. This wouldn’t be the same without you.

Coupeville seniors Kai Wong (left) and Dominic Coffman embrace during the final moments of their state playoff game. (Becky Terry photo)

Nezi Keiper (left) and Carolyn Lhamon enjoy their time together on the soccer pitch. (Carlota Marcos Cabrillo photo)

Taygin Jump (right) and Mia Farris are on different wavelengths at the moment. (Jackie Saia photo)

The next generation of Wolf cheerleaders prepare to make their debut. (Lindsey Helm photo)

Coupeville celebrates its first boys’ basketball district title in 52 years. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Scott Hilborn races the sunset. (Bailey Thule photo)

CHS goalie Nick Guay gets group-hugged after a playoff win. (Morgan White photo)

Teagan Calkins knows where her cameraman is at. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Lathom Kelley, forever a prairie legend. (Bennett Richter photo)

Josh Upchurch hangs out with his fan club president. (Brittany Kolbet photo)

Tim Ursu makes ’em miss. (Helen Strelow photo)

Katie Marti just wants to spread the love to Madison McMillan. (Delanie Lewis photo)

Audrianna Shaw exits with grace, and humor. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

A man. A beast. A (sorta) love story. (Jodi Crimmins photo)

Coupeville’s best football season in three decades-plus started with a big showing at summer camp. (Nikki Breaux photo)

Aiden O’Neill is ready for his close-up. (Davin Houston photo)

Super excited about making it to the big dance. (Morgan White photo)

Scream ‘n holler all you want, Scott Hilborn’s not dropping this one. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Grey Peabody rules all that she sees. (Jackie Saia photo)

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Willie Smith loves it when a plan comes together. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Academics. Athletics. Excellence.

Achieving high standards, Coupeville High School is ranked third out of 61 schools in the 2B classification in the first Scholastic Cup standings.

The rankings, which are compiled by the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association, “recognize performance in the classroom as well as on the playing surface.”

Team athletic performances at the state tournament level of competition matters, as does team academic performance, and school-wide sportsmanship.

Coupeville notched 355 points for the fall season, placing them behind just Saint George’s (585) and Okanogan (435).

Cle Elum-Roslyn and Liberty (Spangle) round out the current top five with 240 points.

Coupeville’s points came courtesy a number of teams.

The girls’ cross country squad collected 100 points for being the 2B scholastic state champs, and another 30 points for finishing 8th as a team at the state meet.

Wolf boys’ soccer picked up 80 points for having the second-best GPA among 2B teams, while Coupeville’s female booters brought in 30 for placing 7th in the classroom.

Football’s first trip to the state playoffs since 1990 was worth 20 points, while the gridiron giants earned another 30 points for being the 8th best scholastic squad in the classification.

Rounding out the effort, boys’ cross country notched 40 points for a 5th place GPA showing, while Coupeville’s athletic programs were handed another 25 points for school-wide sportsmanship.

Scholastic Cup standings will be updated after the winter season, with the winning schools announced at the end of spring sports.


To see a complete breakdown of the standings, pop over to:


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Dominic Coffman (left) and Jonathan Valenzuela could be celebrating again, if our computer overlords are correct. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Make it so.

Our computer overlords have spoken, and they have an early fondness for Coupeville High School boys’ basketball.

Evan Rankings went down to the basement, fired up its seer of seers, Newman, asked the computer to spit out which teams it projects to make the 2023 state tournament fields, and the Wolves made the list.

Now, not a single game has been played, with practice having only just started, something website guru Matt Evans acknowledges.

Plus, the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association has yet to officially release state allocations for each district, so there could be some movement on how many spots are available in each area.

But worry not about that.

Evans and Newman are “experimenting with an algorithm to see how well the computer can use some data from the previous season along with returning player data to see if it can project success.”

Or, as the human in the room sagely says, “If this works, cool. If not, whatever.”

At any case, we can all come back in late February to see how the projections held up.

Newman’s projected state tourney fields:


2B boys:


District 1 (one projected berth):



District 4 (six projected berths):

Chief Leschi
Morton/White Pass


District 5 (four projected berths):

Cle Elum/Roslyn
Columbia (Burbank)
Tri-Cities Prep
White Swan


District 6 (two projected berths):

Lake Roosevelt


District 7 (three projected berths):

Liberty (Spangle)


2B girls:


District 1 (one projected berth):

La Conner


District 4 (six projected berths):

Chief Leschi


District 5 (four projected berths):

Tri-Cities Prep


District 6 (two projected berths):

Lake Roosevelt


District 7 (three projected berths):

Liberty (Spangle)
St. George’s


P.S. — On the 1B side of things, Districts 1, 2, and 3 combine in the postseason and are projected to net six state slots for the boys and five for the girls.

Newman likes three of Coupeville’s Northwest 2B/1B League rivals to make the big dance — both Mount Vernon Christian teams and the Orcas Island boys.


To see Newman’s complete projections, pop over to:


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