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   The student bodies of schools Coupeville faced at the Science Olympiad state meet. Almost all claim 500+ more students than CHS. (Mckenzie Meyer photo)

Mckenzie Meyer (left) and Anna Dion work on a project. (Neil Rixe photo)

They’re standing up for small schools everywhere.

Despite having just a fraction of the student bodies that their competitors do, the Coupeville High School Science Olympiad squad soared Saturday at the state meet.

While Camas, with 2,063 students to pull from, walked away with the team title, the Wolves finished 17th, one slot better than last year.

With a hair over 300 students, CHS also faces another hurdle.

Most of the other schools at state are staffed by students who focus 100% on Science Olympiad, while Coupeville’s competitors balance academics with other pursuits like track, soccer and drama.

Seven of the eight Wolves who claimed a Top 10 finish at state either are currently playing a sport or preparing for next weekend’s drama production.

Madison Rixe, who led Coupeville with three Top 10 finishes, is a prime example, juggling track, drama and Science Olympiad in addition to her normal classwork.

Coupeville’s Top 10 finishes:

Disease Detectives – Mckenzie Meyer (9th)

Herpotology – Anna Dion and Madison Rixe (8th)

Mission Possible – Meyer and Dion (8th)

Helicopters – Rixe and Luke Carlson (10th)

Rocks and Minerals – Rixe and Jakobi Baumann (9th)

Towers – William Nelson and Baumann (10th)

Write it, Do It – Carlson and Josh Robinson (10th)

Fermi Questions — Nelson and Seraina Weatherford (10th)

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   Anna Dion finished in the top three in three events Saturday, helping Coupeville’s Science Olympiad squad qualify for state. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Check out the big brains. (Photo property of Coupeville High School)

Little school, big results.

Powered by eight top-four finishes Saturday, the Coupeville High School Science Olympiad team finished fourth at regionals, earning an invite to the state meet.

The Wolves, who were led by second-place finishes from the duos of Anna Dion/McKenzie Meyer and Josh Robinson/Drake Borden, spent Saturday on the campus at the University of Washington.

There were 19 schools in Coupeville’s classification, and the only schools to finish ahead of the Wolves — Bothell and Inglemoor (which had three separate teams) — are both 4A schools.

CHS is one of the smallest 1A schools in the state.

State is April 14 at Eastern Washington University in Cheney.

Shine there and schools can earn a shot at advancing to the national tournament, which is held May 18-19 at Colorado State University.

Top-four finishes Saturday:

Mission Possible (2nd) — Mckenzie Meyer and Anna Dion

Mouse Trap (2nd) — Josh Robinson and Drake Borden

Game On (3rd) — Harris Sinclair and Jaschon Baumann

Helicopters (3rd) — Madison Rixe and Luke Carlson

Herpetology (3rd) — Dion and Rixe

Leaf (3rd) — Dion and Seraina Weatherford

Experimental Design (4th) — Sofia Hassapis, William Nelson and Borden

Towers (4th) — Nelson and Jakobi Baumann

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   Hot-serving Katrina McGranahan is one of seven seniors on this year’s state-bound Coupeville High School volleyball squad. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

   After missing her junior year with a leg injury, Kyla Briscoe returned to play a key role in the Wolves success.

Welcome to the Group of Death.

Coupeville’s first trip to the state volleyball tournament in 13 years comes with one small caveat — spikes are about to fly.

But, survive the beginning, and the finale could be sweet.

The 16-team, double-elimination tourney opens Friday with two matches for each team, and the Wolves companions are the deadliest to be found.

Coupeville’s block of four teams includes both remaining undefeated schools, including the defending state champs, who HAVEN’T LOST A SET THIS SEASON … and some rich, private school you all might remember named King’s.

The Wolves won at least one match in all four of their previous trips to the big dance, between 2001-2004.

To keep that going, though, they will have to play their best volleyball of the season.

The opening foe (3:15 PM Friday) is Castle Rock, which arrives bearing a 16-0 mark.

The Rockets were the regular-season champs of the six-team 1A Trico League, which also sends La Center to state.

Castle Rock captured the title at the District 4 tourney, with wins over King’s Way Christian and the aforementioned La Center, earning its 25th trip to state.

In their previous visits, the Rockets have emerged as state champs three times — 1987, 1993 and 2012. They were runner-ups in 1983, 2008 and 2011, as well.

Win or lose, Coupeville is guaranteed a second match Friday night, and that foe will either be former Cascade Conference rival King’s, or the hottest team in 1A currently, Lakeside (Nine Mile Falls).

The Knights, a longtime thorn in the side of the Wolves until CHS jumped to the Olympic League in 2014, are 15-2.

King’s only losses came to 2A Archbishop Thomas Murphy, a defeat it avenged late in the season, and fellow 1A power Lynden Christian.

That loss to the Lyncs kept the Knights from claiming a bi-district title, but they rebounded to drill Meridian to earn their 16th trip to the big dance.

Back-to-back state titles in 2008 and 2009 are the benchmark for King’s spiker program.

But while the Knights are undoubtedly top-drawer, they have a huge obstacle in front of them in Lakeside (Nine Mile Falls), which hails from Spokane.

After winning three straight state titles from 1999-2001, the Eagles captured their fourth championship in 2016, and are now back to take their 13th crack at the big dance.

Last year’s title win came against Lynden Christian, preventing the Lyncs from winning a third-straight championship.

While plowing through the eight-team 1A Northeast League, which also sends Freeman to state, Lakeside has been absolutely, positively perfect, winning all 48 sets it has played this season.

With Coupeville a tidy 13-3 itself, its four-team bracket carries a combined record of 60-5, a .923 winning percentage which far outweighs the other three groups.

Whidbey Island’s other state-bound team, South Whidbey, is joined by Charles Wright Academy, Chelan and Naches Valley, and their combined .761 winning percentage (54-17) is the lowest of any group of four.

The other two pods are 58-9 (.866) — La Center, Cascade, Kiona-Benton and Overlake — and 53-15 (.779) — Freeman, Lynden Christian, Bellevue Christian and Goldendale.

A breakdown of what’s coming this weekend:

What: 1A state volleyball tourney.

When: Friday and Saturday, Nov. 10-11

Where: Yakima Valley SunDome (1301 S Fair Ave)

Admission (all day/all tournament):

Adult — $11/$19
Student — $9/$15
Senior Citizen (62+) — $9/$15
Child (under 5) — Free

 

Team capsules:

 

Coupeville:

Season record: 13-3

League finish: #1 in 1A Olympic League

Sets W/L: 40-10

Coach: Cory Whitmore

Mascot: Wolves

 

Bellevue Christian:

Season record: 12-5

League finish: #2 in 1A Nisqually League

Sets W/L: 37-18

Coach: Jenna Bronson

Mascot: Vikings

 

Cascade:

Season record: 14-1

League finish: #1 in 1A Caribou Trail League

Sets W/L: 42-5

Coach: Marni McMahon

Mascot: Kodiaks

 

Castle Rock:

Season record: 16-0

League finish: #1 in 1A Trico League

Sets W/L: 48-9

Coach: Jeana Bayes

Mascot: Rockets

 

Charles Wright Academy:

Season record: 13-4

League finish: #1 in 1A Nisqually League

Sets W/L: 42-18

Coach: Mindy McGrath

Mascot: Tarriers

 

Chelan:

Season record: 12-4

League finish: #2 in 1A Caribou Trail League

Sets W/L: 39-13

Coach: Jenifer Rainville

Mascot: Mountain Goats

 

Freeman:

Season record: 14-3

League finish: #2 in 1A Northeast League

Sets W/L: 42-10

Coach: Eva Windlin-Jansen

Mascot: Scotties

 

Goldendale:

Season record: 12-5

League finish: #3 in 1A SCAC West

Sets W/L: 42-24

Coach: Jodi Bellamy

Mascot: Timberwolves

 

King’s:

Season record: 15-2

League finish: #1 (tie) in 1A/2A Cascade Conference

Sets W/L: 46-10

Coach: Jeff Fransen

Mascot: Knights

 

Kiona-Benton:

Season record: 15-2

League finish: #1 (tie) in 1A SCAC East

Sets W/L: 44-10

Coach: Jolene Calzadillas

Mascot: Bears

 

La Center:

Season record: 14-5

League finish: #2 in 1A Trico League

Sets W/L: 47-21

Coach: Cymany OBrien

Mascot: Wildcats

 

Lakeside (Nine Mile Falls):

Season record: 16-0

League finish: #1 in 1A Northeast League

Sets W/L: 48-0

Coach: Kara Moffatt

Mascot: Eagles

 

Lynden Christian:

Season record: 15-2

League finish: #3 in 1A/2A/3A Northwest Conference

Sets W/L: 49-12

Coach: Kim Grycel

Mascot: Lyncs

 

Naches Valley:

Season record: 14-4

League finish: #1 in 1A SCAC West

Sets W/L: 46-20

Coach: Sherri Partlow

Mascot: Rangers

 

Overlake:

Season record: 15-2

League finish: #1 in 1A Emerald City League

Sets W/L: 46-11

Coach: Justice Magraw

Mascot: Owls

 

South Whidbey:

Season record: 15-5

League finish: #3 in 1A/2A Cascade Conference

Sets W/L: 50-15

Coach: Mandy Jones

Mascot: Falcons

 

Bracket:

http://www.olympicleague.com/tournament.php?tournament_id=2451&sport=10

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   CWLL coach Mimi Johnson celebrates with daughter Stella. (Renae Mulholland photos)

Kylie Van Velkinburgh enjoys a post-game interview.

District 11 champs. (Photo courtesy Mimi Johnson)

They won when it mattered most.

After dropping a pair of one-run games to Orcas Island earlier in the season, the Central Whidbey Little League Juniors softball squad was hankering for some sweet revenge.

And they found it Saturday.

Playing at home in Coupeville, the Mayhem rallied for back-to-back wins, clinching the District 11 title and a trip to the state tourney.

The big dance kicks off June 27 in Monroe.

To punch its ticket, Central Whidbey erupted for five runs in the eighth inning to pull out a 10-5 win in the opener, then rallied for three in the bottom of the seventh to nab the nightcap 10-9.

The tying and winning runs came home on a two-run single off the bat of Jill Prince.

Central Whidbey’s lineup Saturday included eight players from its regular season roster — Coral Caveness, Audrianna Shaw, Melody Wilkie, Kylie Van Velkinburgh, Stella Johnson, Prince, Marenna Rebischke-Smith and Mollie Bailey — and three new additions.

That trio is Madelyn Tucker, McKenzie Hodges and Annabelle Thayer.

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   Clay Reilly, seen here on Senior Night, had Coupeville’s only hit Tuesday in a 2-1 playoff loss. (John Fisken photo)

We’ve seen this story before.

Two gunslingers working the mound on a sunny prairie afternoon, trading zeroes back and forth in a loser-out district playoff game.

And while one of the teams, and both pitchers, were different Tuesday than they were back in 2015, the result was the same — an agonizing one-run loss for the Coupeville High School baseball squad on its home diamond.

This time around, it was Bellevue Christian, and not Cascade Christian, which ended any hopes the Wolves had of contending for state glory.

Powered by the golden pitching arm of junior Eric Kats, who tossed a one-hit, eight-strikeout gem, the Vikings survived a seventh-inning crisis and escaped Whidbey with a 2-1 win.

The victory propels BC (8-10) into the double-elimination portion of districts — three of those four teams will punch a ticket to state — where it will meet Seattle Christian.

Klahowya, the Olympic League champ, plays Cascade Christian, which eliminated Chimacum 2-1 Tuesday afternoon.

Coupeville finishes 11-9.

A game where every one of the three (unearned) runs greatly mattered and where little miscues were unfortunately magnified, CHS coach Chris Smith could only shake his head afterwards.

“I love one-run games, love them … when we win,” he said with a soft smile. “It was a great baseball game. That’s why we play them. Just came down to the little things and we came up a little bit short.”

Still, he was pleased with the effort of his own pitcher, junior Hunter Smith, who whiffed five and gave BC few opportunities.

“Very, very happy with how he pitched,” Chris Smith said.

Coupeville has six seniors, three of whom were in the starting lineup.

Center fielder Clay Reilly, who had the most sustained success of any of the seniors over the past four years, lashed the only Wolf hit, a screamer down the left field line in the bottom of the first.

He also walked and scored Coupeville’s lone run.

Kats and Hunter Smith were lights out at the start, each giving up just a solitary base-knock through the first two innings.

BC couldn’t get its lone runner past first, though, while the Wolves stranded Reilly at second.

When the Vikings broke through in the top of the third, they did so without really doing much of anything special.

A Coupeville defense that was otherwise pretty spot-on had a rare lapse, committing two crucial errors, one on a misplayed grounder, the other on a throw that skipped under the glove at third.

That allowed a Bellevue runner who should have been out at least two, if not three times, to skip home with the game’s first run, then the Vikings plated a second man on a long sac fly to the deepest part of right field.

After that, Hunter Smith retired 12 of the final 16 hitters, allowing only one runner past first base from the fourth through the seventh.

The only problem was Kats, who was mixing up three to four different pitches very effectively, was keeping Coupeville’s hitters at bay.

The Wolves finally plopped a run on the scoreboard (no wait, the CHS scoreboard doesn’t work…) in the fourth, when Reilly walked, moved to second on a bunt by Julian Welling, then scooted home on a two-out grounder off the bat of Dane Lucero.

It actually looked like Reilly’s run wouldn’t count, however, as the field ump initially called Lucero out on a bang-bang play.

After a discussion with the home plate ump, though, the call was overturned, Kats was charged with an error and Coupeville pulled within 2-1.

Bellevue Christian didn’t ruffle easily, though, and escaped on a two-out fly to center.

Down to their final two outs in the bottom of the seventh, the Wolves snapped their fans to attention, with what looked like it might be the kind of late-game rally on which legends are built.

Kory Score and Joey Lippo reached base on back-to-back errors in which the Viking infielders flat-out booted the ball and the tying and winning runs were in play.

It wasn’t to be, though as Viking catcher Cade Peterson, a freshman with the longest, silkiest locks of hair this side of a fashion runway, came up firing and threw Score out at third to blow out the embers before the fire could fully ignite.

The game ended, appropriately enough, on a final strikeout by Kats, and, even in defeat, it would be hard for even the most die-hard Wolf fan to not acknowledge the Viking hurler was superb on this day.

While Coupeville will lose Reilly, Score, Taylor Consford, Ethan Marx, Jonathan Thurston and Aiden Crimmins, it should return much of its core.

Chris Smith, who went 7-6 after taking over as head coach mid-way through the season when Marc Aparicio resigned, is already looking ahead.

“This is one of those games where you learn from the things that went wrong and erase those mistakes and come back strong next year. Tough one for our seniors, though.”

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