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In her final home game, four-year varsity vet Lindsey Roberts torched Sultan for 16 points in a Coupeville playoff win. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

The end of the road is always there, and no one can avoid it forever.

When the Coupeville High School girls basketball squad was eliminated from the playoffs Thursday, it capped the prep hoops career for three Wolf seniors.

And while Ema Smith and Nicole Laxton played with pride, hustle, and grit, always, honoring themselves and their program, it’s hard to argue the third departing player won’t leave the biggest hole.

Lindsey Roberts was that rare player who played varsity basketball, and never as a bench-warmer, from day one to her finale.

She was a key contributor as a freshman on a team which went to state, led Coupeville in scoring as both a junior and senior, and helped the Wolves win two league titles and narrowly miss out on a third.

It’s easy to spotlight points, since that’s the most concrete stat we have, and, hey, the team who scores most wins the game.

In that respect, Roberts goes down as one of the greats, finishing with 448 points, tied with Vanessa Davis for #18 on the CHS girls career scoring chart.

One less injury here, a few more playoff games there, and she might have been the 14th Wolf girl to crack 500 points.

But I think the fact she didn’t reach 500 almost marks Roberts as a better player.

She was always willing to do whatever was necessary for team success, and fit her game to mesh with those around her.

Need her to rebound? To defend?

To sprint the floor and haul in full-court baseball passes from Sarah Wright?

To look for her teammates with crisp, effective feeds?

She was your go-to girl.

Lou played a complete game, always, and her points were a bonus.

While she could be your give-me-the-ball Michael Jordan, which she showed in several big-time performances including this year’s home playoff game against Sultan, she was also willing to be Scottie Pippen.

That is a rare quality, and one which truly marks Roberts as one of the best Wolves hoops fans have witnessed.

A young Roberts welcomes teammate Lauren Grove to the floor for a game in which a win sent the Wolves to state.

Her freshman year, she ran the floor with senior Makana Stone, who was wrapping up a career in which she scored 1,158 points, third-most in school history.

After that, Roberts shared the ball with gunners like Kailey Kellner (#30 all-time on the girls scoring chart), Mia Littlejohn (#35), Ema Smith (#48), and Mikayla Elfrank (#49).

A lot of their buckets? Set up by Roberts crashing the boards, hustling down floor to create mismatches for the defense, and looking for an open teammate to feed when her own shot wasn’t there.

The Wolf teams Roberts played for achieved success in great part because she was a rock.

She didn’t scream or holler, at least that I could ever see from my perch in the stands, but she had an air about her which made other players gravitate to her side.

Perhaps it’s because she learned while shadowing Stone, the most serene superstar I have ever written about.

Roberts was remarkably similar to her close friend, leading by example, NEVER showing up her teammates, always embracing them.

Lou being Lou.

I’ve known Lindsey’s extended family for a very long time, even working with her aunt, Stephanie, for many years at Videoville, and have seen Lou grow from a precocious young child into a confident young woman, on and off the court.

That being said, I probably have exchanged a mere handful of words with her over the years.

I already feel like I’m invading the lives of the teenage athletes I cover just by writing about them all the time, and hesitate to infringe more than that.

But there are times when you want to say something a little more, and, since I struggle with social interaction, using writing is much easier.

There’s still much more ahead for Roberts.

Track season, should better weather ever arrive, is where Lindsey truly dominates.

After that comes college (she’s Wazzu-bound, cause she’s too smart to waste time at U-Dub) and what will likely be many, many years of success in the real world.

High school sports, while they have been important to her, are just a small stepping stone as Roberts conquers the world.

But, as she moves forward from one well-earned highlight to another, I just want to say thanks.

Basketball is my favorite sport, so while Roberts has also stood tall in soccer and wowed the crowds in track, her hoops exploits have always been the first to catch my attention.

From a chipper freshman to a seasoned senior, she wore her uniform with pride, honoring her family, her school, her town, and most of all, herself.

Others with deeper knowledge of the intricacies of the sport can break down for you how Roberts, and her game, truly compares to other Wolf greats.

But, while many writers settle for facts, I have based my entire scribbling career more on emotion.

Write the legend, build the myth, celebrate the extraordinary.

Even as I am almost completely sure she would roll her eyes at being told in person she was extraordinary, that’s what Roberts has been every step of the way during her hoops career.

I hope she enjoyed her four years on the floor as much as those of us who watched her play did.

Players come and go, and a few, a very few, burn brightly enough where we can honestly say they won’t be forgotten.

Lou is forever.

Off to state! Roberts was the last active player from this 2016 photo.

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Senior Julie Bucio helped lead Coupeville High School back to the world of competition cheer, where the Wolves placed 3rd Saturday at the state championships. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

They caught the cheer world by surprise.

Operating a competition cheer squad for the first time since 2011, Coupeville High School stormed the state championships Saturday, taking home 3rd place in the 1A Game Day Small division.

In its first year of operation, the North Sound Conference did extremely well, sweeping the top three slots in the event.

Sultan won the state title with 77.75 points, while Cedar Park Christian (69.00) and Coupeville (60.50) were hot on the Turks heels.

That the Wolves were even on the blue mats at Battle Ground was a bit unexpected.

While CHS cheer won a state title in 2006, then claimed 2nd in 2007 and 4th in 2011, the Wolves reverted to being just a sideline squad after longtime coach Sylvia Arnold retired.

Things took a change for the positive in 2018, when BreAnna Boon, who won state and national cheer titles during her days as a student in Oak Harbor, accepted Coupeville’s coaching position.

Operating on a short time table, and with few cheerleaders who had any previous experience in the competitive world, Boon expected the 2018-2019 winter season to be a nice learning process.

Instead, her 10-woman squad hit the mats strongly at its first meet, raised its score rapidly and steadily, then qualified for state at the last meet of the regular season.

With just one senior, Julie Bucio, on the competition squad, Boon and her team should continue to rise in the cheer world as they go forward.

The Wolf team, which will add a new plaque to the Wall of Fame in the school gym:

Ashleigh Battaglia
Julie Bucio
Kim Castro
Coral Caveness
Emily Fiedler
Ja’Tarya Hoskins
Marenna Rebischke-Smith

Mica Shipley
Bella Velasco
Melia Welling

 

PS — Coupeville’s neighbor, Oak Harbor, finished 4th in the 3A/4A Non-Tumbling Small division.

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A leg injury prevented sophomore Catherine Lhamon, Coupeville’s top-ranked cross country runner, from racing Saturday at districts. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

The season ended a hair too soon, but there was nothing but positive feelings at the end.

While the Coupeville High School cross country team failed to advance any runners to the state meet, with senior Danny Conlisk narrowly missing out on a second-straight trip, the Wolves finished the bi-district meet Saturday in South Whidbey heads held high.

For one thing, this was the first time in 20+ years a Coupeville harrier TEAM was even in competition.

After years of wandering the desert, with the occasional runner here and there training and traveling with other schools, CHS revived its cross country program this fall.

Led by coach Natasha Bamberger, a state XC champ in 1985 for the Wolves, Coupeville went eight strong, with six boys and two girls.

One of those female runners, sophomore Catherine Lhamon, was almost a sure shot to make it to state, based on her previous times.

Unfortunately, a leg injury late in the season prevented her from running Saturday.

Conlisk, who went to state in 2017 while training and traveling with South Whidbey, crushed his previous-best time on the SWHS course by 47 seconds, but just missed making the cut.

He needed to finish in the top 35, but hit the tape in 39th.

While she was hoping to get runners through to Pasco, and was planning to travel as a united team if they did, Bamberger exited bi-districts wearing a huge smile.

“They put it all out there today against a very strong district,” she said. “I am very proud of their effort today and for their first season as a cross country team for Coupeville.

“The team told me they don’t want the season to end,” Bamberger said. “I know what I can improve on as coach and we are all looking forward to off-season cross-training and building a good base for their track and the 2019 cross country seasons.”

Getting the chance to revive a program she once starred for was huge for Bamberger.

“I don’t know how to express how much I loved coaching this team,” she said. “Starting from scratch, this team has succeeded in building a culture around the love of running, working hard, pushing their limits.

“They are an exceptionally inclusive group that has fun while they are at it, which is not easy to do in a tough sport like cross country,” Bamberger added. “The team made some great friends out there on this journey, from coaches and other teams like South Whidbey all embracing and encouraging our new runners all the way.

“I can’t wait to see where my three seniors go next and how this young returning team builds on this year.”

 

Complete Saturday results (5,000-meter course):

 

GIRLS:

Alana Mihill (74th) 24:36.15

 

BOYS:

Danny Conlisk (39th) 18:11.02
Sam Wynn (81st) 20:28.09
TJ Rickner (93rd) 21:28.48
Uriah Kastner (98th) 23:10.12
Kyle Burnett (100th) 24:46.20

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Megan Thorn and her trusty steed, Rebel, are state bound after tearing up the Island County Fair. (Photo courtesy Thorn)

On a horse, with reigns in hand? That young woman is unbeatable.

Working in perfect tandem with her horse, Rebel, Coupeville’s Megan Thorn ruled the Island County Fair and is now bound for state.

The duo, who compete in poles, figure eight, two barrel flags, international flag, key pole, and Texas barrels, set the pace and never looked back.

Hurtling across the course with fire in their eyes, Thorn and Rebel earned gaming high point, beating all competitors in Western Gaming.

Now, the CHS junior and her trusty steed will compete at the state fair in Puyallup Sept. 13-16.

Thorn, who is also a member of the Wolf girls soccer squad, will be joined at state by Ashley Casey, who home schools in Coupeville.

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Ariah Bepler finds his moment of Zen at the state track and field meet. (Logan Martin photos)

Lauren Bayne visualizes her target.

Chris Battaglia is trapped in a mesh net of emotion.

This ain’t Randy King’s first time at the rodeo.

Bayne and Bepler gaze out at the action.

   A Lynden Christian runner moves in to congratulate Danny Conlisk after the Wolf junior busted a PR and claimed 2nd in the 400.

Yes, Battaglia does feel pretty good about the luxuriousness of his hair and how it’s holding up in the Cheney heat. Thanks for asking.

   Maya Toomey-Stout (left) celebrates teammate Lindsey Roberts’ success in the hurdles.

The heat of Cheney, the roar of the overflow crowds, the electricity of the races themselves — all done for another year.

But while the state track and field meet ended Saturday, the photos, such as the ones seen above, will linger on for some time.

The pics you’re gazing upon come to us from the camera of Coupeville Middle School camera bug Logan Martin, who took a break from his own athletic pursuits to capture the goings-on in Eastern Washington.

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