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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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Coupeville seniors Sage Renninger (left) and Payton Aparicio placed 4th at the state tennis tourney, bringing a smile to coach Ken Stange’s face. (Photos by CoupevillePaparazzi.com)

Celebrating the best finish by Wolf tennis players in 13 seasons.

Coupeville poses with South Whidbey’s Alison Papritz (left) and Mary Zisette. (Ken Stange photo)

Four years of hard work, of sweat, of big wins and tough losses, of leadership and friendship.

The whole magical ride came to a close Saturday morning for Coupeville High School seniors Payton Aparicio and Sage Renninger, and it ended on an especially sweet note.

The duo, who were doubles partners from day one, bounced Elizabeth Grubb and Katie Keifer of Jenkins (Chewelah) 6-2, 6-3 to claim 4th place at the 1A/2B/1B state tennis tourney in Yakima.

The Wolves won three of four matches at the two-day event, falling only to the defending state champs in a three-set rumble.

The first CHS girl netters to medal in 13 seasons, they captured the second-best showing of any Wolf tennis players in the modern era, girls or boys.

Aparicio and Renninger stand with Taniel Lamb and Mindy Horr, who placed 2nd in doubles in 2005.

It was a great day, and weekend, for Whidbey tennis.

In a sport dominated by private schools, South Whidbey and Coupeville, both small, rural, public institutions, claimed 2nd and 4th in doubles.

Falcons Mary Zisette and Alison Papritz won their semifinal Saturday over Cascade Christian, then fell 6-1, 5-7, 6-2 in the final.

The tourney champs, for the second-straight year, were Amanda Lin and Maria Russinovich of Overlake, who outlasted Aparicio and Renninger in a three-set quarterfinal match.

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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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