Posts Tagged ‘tennis’

Coupeville boys tennis players like Mason Grove will face a substantial challenge next season. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

If you want to be the best, you have to play the best.

People say that all the time, and it’s something the Coupeville High School boys tennis team will get to test out this fall.

With CHS jumping ship from the 1A Olympic League and joining the new 1A North Sound Conference starting with the 2018-2019 school year, everyone’s schedules will change up.

Klahowya, Port Townsend and Chimacum will be gone, at least as league rivals.

Meanwhile, the Wolves will reunite with former Cascade Conference foes South Whidbey, Sultan, Granite Falls and King’s, plus Cedar Park Christian (Bothell), which replaced Coupeville when it departed that 1A/2A league.

But there will be one CHS program facing a different set of foes, and that’s boys tennis.

While King’s doesn’t play softball and Sultan and CPC don’t play girls tennis, that still leaves those sports with five and four league teams, respectively.

Every other sport the Wolves compete in, including cross country, which returns to CHS after two decades, has a full six-team set-up.

And then there’s boys tennis, where South Whidbey is the only one of Coupeville’s five new foes to field a team.

Instead of just a two-team mini-league, the Wolf male netters will step outside the North Sound Conference, joining the Falcons in playing as interlopers in the ultra-ritzy Emerald City League.

Otherwise known as the toughest tennis conference in the state.


The league is comprised of small, ultra-ritzy private academies, where most of their tennis players are exclusive to the sport and benefit from ready access to private coaches and indoor courts.

Of the ECL schools, University Prep, Seattle Academy, Overlake, Bush and Bear Creek play boys tennis, while South Whidbey and 2A Archbishop Thomas Murphy have joined them on the courts in recent years.

With the Cascade Conference shattering apart, its 1A members have formed the North Sound Conference, while the WIAA forced Wesco to accept ATM (after its athletic directors voted 21-0 to deny such a move).

While the Wildcats will likely take the courts against 3A schools like Oak Harbor from now on, tennis has never been a priority for ATM, and the school is an also-ran in the sport.

The five private schools awaiting Coupeville in the Emerald City League are anything but also-rans, however.

With the exception of Charles Wright Academy out of the Nisqually League, the ECL features all of the dominant 1A tennis programs in the region.

As in, the last five boys state singles champs (four from U Prep, one from Bear Creek) have come from ECL schools.

Seattle Academy won the boys double title in 2016, beating a U Prep duo, and had the state runner-up in singles in 2015, while U Prep is the defending team state champs.

In four of the past five seasons, at least two ECL teams have finished in the top five in the team standings at the state tourney, with U Prep being in that exclusive group every season.

Of the five ECL schools, only The Bush School has failed to make a top five team appearance between 2013-2017.

With two doubles teams and a singles player in this weekend’s state tourney draw, U Prep, which went 11-0 in ECL play, is a strong bet to repeat as state champs, though you can never count out Charles Wright.

Basically, this is a long way of getting around to acknowledging the Coupeville boys tennis program faces an uphill battle.

While South Whidbey has always had a stellar tennis program, at least by rural public school standards, the Falcons have made just a few inroads in their time in the ECL.

SWHS went 4-4 in league play last fall, and two years ago got then-freshman Kody Newman, now a football player, to the state tourney.

While he has never shied away from a challenge in 13 years at the helm of both Coupeville tennis teams, Wolf coach Ken Stange admits his two squads will have different paths ahead of them.

“The boys’ tennis team will face tougher competition than any other CHS team,” he said. “Multiple perennial state powerhouses will be our norm.”

Cue the “Rocky” theme music.

Read Full Post »

   Coupeville’s Sage Renninger (left), Ken Stange and Payton Aparicio are off to Yakima this weekend for the 1A state girls tennis tourney. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Well, at least no one gets to play in their backyard.

When Payton Aparicio and Sage Renninger pile into a van with Coupeville High School tennis coach Ken Stange and head off to the state tourney this weekend, they’ll have a long drive.

It’s 192.4 miles from Cow Town to Yakima, and the duo will be the first Wolf girls double team to make the trek in a decade.

But, at the least, their first-round foes in the double-elimination draw, Sierra Rothlisberger and Madeline Peebles of Chelan, have to travel 138.6 miles.

Win or lose, Aparicio and Renninger are guaranteed a second match Friday, and it will be against either defending state champs Amanda Lin and Maria Russinovich of Overlake or Kaylee Schow and Ally Vestal of Tenino.

Those duos are trekking 141.2 and 165.7 miles one-way, respectively, so no one can really fall back on the excuse of tired legs.

What the Wolves will face is temps expected to be in the 90’s and unfamiliar foes.

The duos headed to state whom Aparicio and Renninger have played — Mary Zisette and Alison Papritz of South Whidbey and Grace and Kate Jung of Cascade Christian — are on the other side of the 16-team draw.

In an intriguing twist, the Falcon duo will also face a Chelan team, made up of Elle Rothlisberger (younger sister of Sierra) and Bella Gatzemier.

The Mountain Goats (yes, that is Chelan’s mascot, and yes, it’s awesome) hail from the 1A Caribou Trail League and the Rothlisberger sisters are coached by dad Marty.

Depending on how they do, Aparicio and Renninger will play between 2-3 matches Friday. Make it to Saturday and they are guaranteed a top-eight finish, and the medals that come with that.

As the duo prepare for their final run as prep netters, a look at the pertinent details:



1B/2B/1A girls tennis state tournament



Yakima Tennis Club
2505 Fruitvale Blvd



May 25-26


Ticket prices:

It’s FREE … if you go all the way to Yakima.


WIAA tournament central site:





Read Full Post »

Coupeville seniors Sage Renninger (left) and Payton Aparicio are off to state, the first Wolf girls tennis players to make the trip East since 2010. (Photos by CoupevillePaparazzi.com)

Wolf sophomores Avalon Renninger (left) and Tia Wurzrainer split four matches at districts, finishing 4th out of eight duos.

Pack the sunscreen, floppy hats and Gatorade, cause the Wolves are headed to Sun Stroke City.

And they’re thrilled about it.

Coupeville High School seniors Payton Aparicio and Sage Renninger will cap their stellar four-year run as a doubles duo by playing in the 1A/2B/1B girls tennis state championships in Yakima.

They punched their ticket to the big dance, where they’ll be playing on outdoor courts in 90-degree weather May 25-26, by placing 2nd Thursday at the West Central District 3 tourney.

Aparicio and Renninger are the first CHS girls tennis players to make it to state since 2010, when the Hard Court Assassin herself, Julia Sierra Castaño, advanced as a singles player.

You have to go back two years earlier, to 2008, to find the last time a Wolf female doubles duo (Megan Monroe and Hannah Merrell) played at state.

After sweeping two matches Wednesday, Aparicio and Renninger opened Thursday by playing for the district title.

While they fell 6-3, 6-0 to Cascade Christian sisters Grace and Kate Jung, the Wolves still had another opportunity to earn a ticket to state, and ending up coasting in without playing another point.

The battle for second pitted the loser of the final against the survivor of the loser’s bracket, UNLESS the two teams had already played.

In that case, the duo which won the first time around would get a walkover win.

And that’s how it played out, as Mei Ge and Casey Kim of Charles Wright Academy held off Coupeville’s sophomore sensations, Tia Wurzrainer and Avalon Renninger, 7-6, 6-4.

That nixed a chance for the trip to state coming down to CHS vs. CHS, and, since Ge and Kim lost to Aparicio and Sage Renninger Wednesday, the older Wolf duo were handed second place on the spot.

Coupeville’s young guns, who survived a loser-out match earlier Thursday, when they edged Maria Gonzalez and Abby Kwon of CWA 6-2, 3-6, 6-3, claimed 4th place out of eight doubles teams.

The two duos, and singles player Claire Mietus, who lost two matches Wednesday and was a fan on day two, helped Coupeville finish third in the team standings behind CWA and Vashon Island.

Read Full Post »

Sage Renninger (left) and Payton Aparicio won both of their matches Wednesday at districts and are one victory from advancing to state. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

With day one in the books, netters (l to r) Sage Renninger, Claire Mietus, Aparicio, Avalon Renninger and Tia Wurzrainer enjoy a dinner break. (Photo by CoupevillePaparazzi.com)

If the Nisqually League thought it would stomp through the West Central District 3 girls tennis tourney with little push-back, surprise!

The Olympic League, and conference champ Coupeville in particular, is proving to be no push-over.

The Wolf netters, making a stand for public school players everywhere, combined for three wins Wednesday at the Sprinker Tennis Center in Tacoma.

Along the way, Coupeville came dangerously close to making Thursday’s doubles title match an all-Wolf affair.

CHS seniors Payton Aparicio and Sage Renninger, who came a win from advancing to state last year, are primed to punch their ticket in their final go-round.

The duo, who have been partners since day one of their freshman season, swept two matches from Charles Wright Academy foes.

The first win was capped when Aparicio drilled one of the rival players in the face on match point.

So, basically, an apt metaphor for public schools refusing to bow to private schools, which typically rule Washington state high school tennis.

Aparicio and Sage Renninger play sisters Grace and Kate Jung of Cascade Christian Thursday for the district title and a #1 seed to state.

The loser of the title bout will face the survivor of the loser’s bracket for District 3’s second berth to the big dance in Eastern Washington.

There was only one berth to state available last year.

Coupeville’s other doubles team, sophomores Avalon Renninger and Tia Wurzrainer, split two matches Wednesday, narrowly missing out on a trip to the finals.

The former is making her second-straight district tourney appearance, while the latter is debuting on the Tacoma courts, but they hit immediate pay dirt as a tandem, toppling a duo from Vashon.

While Avalon Renninger and Wurzrainer fell to the Jungs in the semifinals, they pushed them hard, with the first set knotted at 5-5 before their older rivals pulled away.

The duo is still alive and will aim to tear up the loser’s bracket Thursday, while Coupeville’s lone singles player will operate as a fan on day two.

Senior Claire Mietus ran into the tourney’s top player in the opening round, then faced off with an Olympic League rival in round two, dropping both matches.


Complete Wednesday results:


Claire Mietus:

Lost to Zoe Rose (Charles Wright Academy) 6-0, 6-0
Lost to Vilma Jurma (Port Townsend) 6-0, 6-0


Payton Aparicio/Sage Renninger:

Beat Maria Gonzalez/Abby Kwon (CWA) 7-5, 6-2
Beat Mei Ge/Casey Kim (CWA) 6-4, 7-5


Avalon Renninger/Tia Wurzrainer:

Beat Tobin Vaughn/Lizzy Sutherland (Vashon Island) 7-5, 6-3
Lost to Grace Jung/Kate Jung (Cascade Christian) 7-5, 6-0

Read Full Post »

   Maggie Crimmins intently eyes her target as she prepares to unleash great pain and destruction on its fuzzy exterior. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.com)

Trapped in a war of lobs, Avalon Renninger launches a moon-ball.

   Klahowya players (on left) mingle with Coupeville students who swung by to cheer on their classmates.

Kameryn St Onge peppers another winner.

   CHS athletes from other sports ring the fence, showing support for the netters, who got to skip school Monday for the Olympic League tourney.

Heather Nastali’s radar tells her the ball is on the way to her waiting racket.

Freshman phenom Genna Wright slices ‘n dices.

   Payton Aparicio eyes a third-straight league doubles crown while playing with longtime partner Sage Renninger.

Everyone was making shots.

From the players on the court, to the paparazzi moving from match to match, Monday offered a smorgasbord of action.

The Coupeville High School girls tennis team was hosting, and dominating, the 1A Olympic League tourney, while John Fisken (and his camera) was documenting the goings-on.

The pics seen above come to us courtesy him.

To see everything Fisken shot, pop over to:


And, when you do, remember, purchases help fund scholarships for CHS student/athletes.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »