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Bree Daigneault being Bree Daigneault. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Daigneault prepares to launch a serve.

Some quality time with lil’ sis Noelle.

Bree Daigneault will save the world some day.

She’s that smart, that committed, that kind and caring, that environmentally-conscious, that much of a superhero disguised as a college student.

Two years after she graduated from Coupeville High School, Daigneault is off in the world, doing her best to light a fire under the rest of us, but in a really polite, friendly way.

During her days at CHS, when I used to watch her play soccer and tennis for the Wolves, it often amazed me how chipper she could be, win or loss.

Whether she demolished a foe on the tennis court, or went down after putting up a ferocious fight, when Daigneault departed the scene of the battle, something unusual always happened.

The other young woman playing against her, often a rival she had never met before that day, would walk off the court practically floating on air.

Even when they had just spent two hours trying, and failing, to stop Daigneault from cruising to a victory.

It’s because the player rockin’ the red and black, in between whipping forehands and crushing overheads, always dispensed a constant flow of friendly banter.

Daigneault showered her opponents with compliments, and not a single one ever seemed false or calculated.

That just was, and is, her personality. Open, friendly, receptive to all, and back to the two words which I think probably describe Bree better than any others – kind and caring.

That’s ingrained in her nature, so she complimented her opponent on their shot-making ability (even when she had just short-circuited it), their style, their fashion sense, and their intelligence.

There was one moment, when she faced off with Chimacum’s Renee Woods, sort of the off-Island mirror image of Daigneault, and the universe almost folded in on itself as Compliment Bowl went nuclear.

I don’t remember who won the match, but I do remember it felt so perfect, yet so alien, from my own days smacking tennis balls back at Tumwater High School.

In the late ’80s, the T-Birds tried to paste our own teammates with well-placed shots as much as possible, leaving precious little time to even think about complimenting players from Aberdeen or Olympia.

Probably why none of us went on to cure cancer or solve the world’s environmental problems…

But Daigneault is part of a different generation, and she was always at the forefront of things during her CHS days.

She was a regular presence on the theatrical stage, adept at drama and comedy in equal measure, was a student body rep to the School Board, and finished in the top 10 graduates for the Class of ’17.

Along the way, Bree found time to run the soccer pitch and slide across the tennis court, and did both as a polished varsity vet.

While she might not hold any school records, she was a vital part of both programs, both for her skills and her temperament.

Daigneault could launch shots into the back of the soccer goal, or zing winners down the line before a rival could reverse course and get to the tennis ball.

But, ultimately, she’ll be remembered by sports fans for many of the same reasons she’ll be remembered by theater addicts and education nuts.

Bree is, has been, and will likely always be, one of those truly amazing people who makes everyone else’s lives a little better by gracing the world we share.

Highly-intelligent, graceful, funny, a strong young woman with deep convictions and a burning desire to help others, whether by complimenting them or working to improve their lives, she is a rare one.

Daigneault has pulled in her share of honors, and that won’t stop anytime soon.

Today, we swing open the doors of the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame and induct her into our lil’ on-line community.

She goes in for her athletic ability across multiple sports, but also for the way she played her games – with fire, with passion, and with deep love and respect for her teammates, coaches, and opponents.

After this, you’ll find Bree at the top of the blog, up under the Legends tab.

In the grand scheme of things, this sports induction will probably be a minor honor for a young woman who will likely win all the real-world honors.

I said all of them!

She’s gonna do big things, change lives for the better.

You can take that to Vegas, bet the mortgage on it, and go to sleep with a smile on your face cause that’s as close to a sure thing as we have.

However her coming years play out, I hope that Bree, occasionally, will look back on her time in a Wolf uniform and smile.

I hope she’s as proud of herself as we all are of her.

And that she realizes with a word here, an action there, she made others smile, made them want to be better, made them want to treat others with as much kindness and care.

If people were paintings, Bree Daigneault would be a masterpiece, treasured and priceless.

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Alita “The Assassin” Blouin heads to Coupeville High School this fall, ready to turn hard work into success. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

They call her “The Assassin” for a reason.

Off the court, Alita Blouin is a strong, smart, highly-motivated young woman.

On the court, she’s all those things — and also a stone-cold killer.

Of all the athletes headed to Coupeville High School this fall, Blouin is the one I most feel confident in hailing as a star.

She has talent, which she has shown on the volleyball and basketball court, and will soon bring to the tennis court, but it’s more than that.

During her middle school days, Blouin showed a fieriness, an unwillingness to back down, which is too often missing in Coupeville athletes.

That was key to success in volleyball, where she was a leader, and in basketball, where she sliced ‘n diced rivals both as a passer and shooter for a Wolf 8th grade team which went undefeated.

You can read more of my thoughts on the rare qualities Blouin brings to Wolf sports by popping over and reading an article from last year:

https://coupevillesports.com/2018/12/30/heart-of-a-wolf-heart-of-a-champion/

Now, no one can truly know if middle school success will translate to high school stardom.

Sometimes everything clicks, other times life intrudes.

Most of all, it’s not fair to put too much pressure on a young woman yet to attend her first class as a CHS freshman.

But Blouin, with a solid support crew headed up by parents Shawn and June, and younger brother Ryan, seems built for success.

And it all starts with her positive attitude.

“My strengths as an athlete are taking criticism and applying it to how I play,” Blouin said. “I also always look for a way to give one of my teammates a good opportunity to succeed and work together in the process.”

She’s very close to many of those teammates, which helps her both be a leader and work together for the greater good of the team.

“Being an athlete helps me make a stronger bond with my teammates/friends,” Blouin said. “It helps me bring out my competitive nature.

“And playing sports is just overall really fun.”

Meshing well with the other young women on the court is one of Blouin’s primary goals, and it extends not only to those her own age, but to the upperclassmen she will soon join.

“My goal as a high-school athlete is to create stronger bonds with my older teammates, so that we can all have chemistry while we play,” she said.

“And also, so I can learn from them, since they have more experience than I do.”

While she’s already achieved some athletic success, Blouin isn’t content to rest on her laurels.

Instead, she has a clear vision of the future, and what she and her teammates can accomplish over the next four years, if they continue to grow, both as individuals, and in a team framework.

“I would like to work on my self-confidence,” Blouin said. “Many times I miss out on an opportunity simply because I don’t believe in my own abilities.

“Also, I would like to win, and maybe make it to state for at least one of my sports.”

While she enjoys basketball, and is looking forward to trying out tennis, the first high school sport she will play claims the biggest part of her heart.

“My favorite sport is volleyball, because when you are playing, you get rushes of adrenaline during rallies and this rush of energy makes the game so exciting,” Blouin said.

“Especially when the point is won and everyone is cheering, it just makes me really happy.”

When she’s not competing or practicing, Blouin also excels in the classroom, enjoying art, math, and computer design.

She helped create the CMS yearbook as an 8th grader, spends time painting and drawing at home, and will bravely tackle both geometry and algebra at the same time during her freshman year.

As she makes the jump to high school, Blouin knows she isn’t alone.

Her family and friends, many of whom play sports alongside her, will always be there to provide support at crucial moments.

“My teammates have had one of the biggest impacts on the person I am today,” she said. “Mostly (fellow basketball starters) Maddie (Georges), Gwen (Gustafson), Carolyn (Lhamon), and Nezi (Keiper).

“We all push each other and help each other improve as athletes,” Blouin added. “We are all very competitive with each other and that is why we are competitive when we play in games.”

Before and after she steps on the floor, she gets a different kind of support from her family, with extended members, from grandparents to cousins, often filling a chunk of the stands at her games.

“My parents also have always believed in me since day one,” Blouin said. “They always tell me what I do well and what I can improve on next time.

“Without them I wouldn’t have the opportunity to be an athlete.”

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Coupeville’s Avalon Renninger – a scary, scary woman on the tennis court. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Second time around, things got a little crazy.

Four days ago, the Coupeville High School girls tennis team swept Friday Harbor 5-0 while on a tour of the outer islands.

Jump forward to Tuesday, the Wolves were back at home, it was Senior Night for foreign exchange student Bruna Moratori, and everything spun off in new, and sometimes, exciting, directions.

Coupeville still won the rematch, but this time it was 4-0 as #1 singles, against all odds, ended in a tie.

Yes, a tie, and not even on the soccer field.

There were a lot of contributing factors.

Friday Harbor showed up a bit later than expected, and when you live in the outer islands, there comes a time when you have to sprint for the last ferry or forever be stuck on Whidbey to deal with rogue wandering bears.

But mainly it was because Coupeville’s Genna Wright and Friday Harbor’s Aida Must waged a war of attrition, mixing up styles of play, swapping power for precision, and refusing to give an inch.

Wright won the first set, Must the second, then the Wolf sophomore dug down deep to save herself in the final frame, roaring back from 5-3 down to knot things up at 5-5.

The only players still on the court as the sun dipped, and, far off, a ferry tooted a plaintive horn, the duo would have stayed out there all night if allowed.

But it wasn’t to be, as reality intruded and the Friday Harbor van screamed out of the Coupeville parking lot on two wheels, the last player diving through the open door on a dead sprint.

It capped a wild afternoon in which three of five varsity matches went the full three sets.

While Wright’s rumble didn’t quite reach the finish line, the Wolf duos of Moratori/Jaimee Masters and Eryn Wood/Emily Fiedler both rallied to pull out wins in a third frame.

The only two matches which went (fairly) quickly were Jillian Mayne at #2 singles, who was last on the court and yet still beat Wright off, winning in straight sets, and #1 doubles duo Avalon Renninger and Tia Wurzrainer.

The warriors in white (tennis dresses) demolished their foes, pounding the snot out of the ball, and leaving a notable impression on the players on the other side of the net.

“I’m not built to play that blonde girl!,” whispered one Friday Harbor netter as she marveled at Renninger’s wicked power. “She scared me sometimes!”

“And that other girl … zip, zip, zip, every shot,” murmured her partner as Wurzrainer walked away, twirling her racket like a sword.

With the back-to-back wins over Friday Harbor, the Wolves improve to 2-4 in North Sound Conference play.

Coupeville hits the road the next two days, traveling to Chimacum Wednesday, then Granite Falls Thursday.

The first of those matches is the team’s only non-conference tilt this spring, while the latter will be a doubleheader, as the North Sound Conference rivals finish a rained-out match, then play the regularly-scheduled finale.

The Wolves return to Granite May 7-8, taking two singles players and two doubles teams along for the district tourney.

 

Complete Tuesday results (varsity only):

1st Singles — Genna Wright tied Aida Must 6-3, 5-7, 5-5 (ferry)

2nd Singles — Jillian Mayne beat Alli Benz 6-3, 6-3

1st Doubles — Tia Wurzrainer/Avalon Renninger beat Katy Kulseth/Tori Polda 6-0, 6-1

2nd Doubles — Eryn Wood/Emily Fiedler beat Joely Loucks/Lucy Urbach 6-3, 4-6, 7-5

3rd Doubles — Jaimee Masters/Bruna Moratori beat Ayla Ridwan/Kai Di Bona 6-1, 4-6, 6-3

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CHS freshman Abby Mulholland and doubles partner Jaimee Masters displayed some impressive power Wednesday in their first varsity match together. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Finally.

After waiting a very, very long time, the Coupeville High School girls tennis squad kicked off its season Wednesday, falling 4-1 to visiting King’s.

While they would have preferred a win, just getting on the court and seeing a uniform other than their own was a victory.

The Wolf roster is jam-packed with young, talented, promising players, but thanks to scheduling issues, the netters sat while CHS baseball, softball, and boys soccer all played six games or more.

Once they were unleashed, the serve and volley crew brought tons of scrappiness and excitement while facing a seasoned foe.

Juniors Tia Wurzrainer and Avalon Renninger, making their debut as the new #1 doubles duo, lashed winners left and right, and were the only Wolves to win a varsity match.

Working effortlessly as one unit, the titanic twosome especially controlled the match at the net, pinging volleys which ripped off a chunk of the line as they flashed past their opponent’s rackets.

While the duo filled up a complete highlight reel with their work, one winner, in which Renninger hovered in the air for a solid minute before smashing a wicked left-handed slicer that tore a hole in the universe, was a thing of particular beauty.

While Wurzrainer and Renninger brought the biggest smile to longtime Coupeville coach Ken Stange’s face, there was plenty of other positive results to indicate a bright future ahead for the Wolves.

Freshmen Noelle Daigneault and Katelin McCormick, both lil’ sisters of former CHS tennis stars, made their debut an auspicious one.

When they weren’t entertaining the crowd (and themselves) with a freewheeling style of tennis (and giggling non-stop), they also zapped their fair share of service aces and wicked backhands en route to an opening day JV win.

While every one of the nine matches produced highlights, the best debut may have come from the final varsity team to take the court.

Sophomore Jaimee Masters and freshman Abby Mulholland fought through two tense sets, and while they fell just short to a King’s duo which made plays when they needed to the most, both Wolves brought a startling amount of raw power to the action.

A little more practice, a little more refinement of that power, and the duo should be a team to watch.

Even in its raw state, the power show was eye-popping at times, as Masters blasted winners which left both of her rivals glued to the court, and Mulholland brought big time heat with her serve.

 

Complete Wednesday results:

 

Varsity:

1st Singles — Genna Wright lost to Scarlett Ren 6-0, 6-4

2nd Singles — Jillian Mayne lost to Christina Wang 6-1, 6-0

1st Doubles — Tia Wurzrainer/Avalon Renninger beat Caroline Baker/Ava Dreon 6-2, 6-3

2nd Doubles — Eryn Wood/Emily Fiedler lost to Allie Kang/Grace Roberts 6-2, 6-3

3rd Doubles — Jaimee Masters/Abby Mulholland lost to Elma Lu/Jackie Cheung-Main 6-4, 7-5

 

JV:

4th Doubles — Elaira Nicolle/Bruna Moratori lost to Anika Poulsen/Olivia Vos 8-7(10-7)

5th Doubles — Noelle Daigneault/Katelin McCormick beat Elisabeth Kelly/Catherine Jones 8-5

6th Doubles — Maddy Andrews/Mary Milnes lost to Amelia Vander Wel/Abbie Gebrehiwot 8-6

7th Doubles — Cecelia Camarena/Cassidy Holmes lost to Holland Urie/Olivia Peterson 6-1

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Brazilian foreign exchange student Bruna Moratori is playing tennis for Coupeville High School this spring. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Moratori and teammates stretch before a practice.

Talk about a change of pace.

When Bruna Moratori traveled to America to become a foreign exchange student, she swapped life in the most populous city in the Western Hemisphere for a town with one traffic light.

Back home in São Paulo, Brazil, she lives with her parents, brother and dog amid a sea of humans in “a big, beautiful, and dangerous city.”

This year, though, Moratori has swapped a bustling city which never sleeps for a much more laid-back Coupeville, where she’s attending high school and preparing to play tennis with the Wolves.

While she’s spent a little time on the courts, this will be the first time she’s been part of a competitive team.

“I don’t play any sports at home, just sometimes for fun,” Moratori said. “I played tennis a few years ago but it was just for fun; I’ve never played against someone.

“I decided to join because I really like it and I had a lot of free time, so why not.”

When she was thinking about trying out for the tennis team, it was support from back home which made it an easy decision.

“One of the main reasons that I joined tennis was because my father encouraged me since the moment that I told him that I was thinking about it,” Moratori said.

Taking time to enjoy new opportunities has been a key part of her American adventure.

“My mother always had the dream of me going somewhere and learning a new language, so she always talked about it and I said that it would be a good experience,” Moratori said.

“I like how right now I’m in sort of a “break” from my life and I get to know a lot of different things,” she added. “Also I like to learn new cultures and the new language.”

Moratori, who turns 18 in early April, spends her free time “listening to a lot of music, reading, watching TV shows, and many other things.”

When she returns to São Paulo, she plans “to enjoy the summer; that is actually at the end of the year.”

After that she will either start college or plunge into a job.

Coming to America has helped Moratori develop new skills and find new confidence in herself.

“Here is learning English and learning how to be on my own without my family,” she said. “I still want to know other cultures and maybe learn other languages.”

Whether at home or abroad, Moratori draws inspiration from those closest to her.

“I guess I’m a little bit of every woman that have been into my life and all the books that I’ve read,” she said. “But my biggest inspirations are my mother, my grandmothers and my godmother.”

Of all the memories she will take with her, one of the biggest will be how unique her new home away from home turned out to be.

“Coupeville is a very small and quiet city and I live in a huge city with a lot of people, a lot of things to do, a lot of noise, traffic and all of that,” Moratori said. “I miss there, but I really like here, it’s beautiful and people are so nice to each other.

“I wouldn’t say that I’m completely adjusted because it’s very different from there, but I’m sure that when I go back I’ll have to readjust to there,” she added.

“Coupeville reminds me a lot of our countryside, so it’s kind of what I expected, but a few things were very weird for me, like people waving at me, even though I don’t even know them.”

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