Posts Tagged ‘the ’90s’

Virgil Roehl, with dad Tom, missed a chunk of his senior football season in 1993 after suffering a broken leg. (Photo courtesy Noah Roehl)

In the prep sports world, November is a month of transition.


In years without ongoing pandemics, November is when fall sports have their final moments, then everyone heads inside and starts work for the upcoming basketball season.

Now, 2020 is not normal, and we haven’t had live games in Coupeville, in any sport, since back in February.

And won’t for at least the rest of this calendar year.

But, thanks to old sports sections I kept from my days as Whidbey News-Times Sports Editor, we can look back at two Novembers — 1992 and 1993 — when things were still hoppin’.

I worked at the paper through ’94, but, by November of that year, was into a 12-year run behind the counter at Videoville.

Like I said, a month of transition.

But hop in the time machine and let’s go back.


November 1992:

The Wolf football team, which pulled off a stunning Homecoming win –https://coupevillesports.com/2020/10/28/under-siege-a-win-for-the-ages/ — finished 4-5 and earned this quote from coach Ron Bagby.

“I was a little disappointed that we didn’t win a few more games that we could have. But we played hard and surprised some people.”

Shifty QB Troy Blouin and bruising back Todd Brown led a seven-pack of departing seniors, but the table was far from bare, with junior Virgil Roehl and Kit Manzanares leading a strong group of underclassmen.

The duo, fellow junior Jeremiah Prater, and Brown all landed on the All-Cascade League squad.

In the gym, the CHS spikers were in a rebuilding year after losing All-League players Linda Cheshier and Emily Vracin, but a 2-13 record was a little misleading, as many matches were close.

Led by team MVP Kari Iverson, All-League pick Misty Sellgren, and rock-solid senior Joli Smith, the young Wolves surprised with a third-place finish at the late-season Darrington Tournament.

Marlys “The Masher” West claimed Outstanding Hitter at the team’s awards banquet, but coach Deb Whittaker was pleased to get production across the board.

“I thought we played well,” she said. “Each game it wasn’t one kid who got all the kills. We spread it around; that was exciting.”

Coupeville’s other fall squads sent multiple athletes to district, with six tennis players and two cross country runners advancing to the postseason.

For the Wolf netters, Keith Currier and Jon Crimmins excelled, while the harriers gave two of their three postseason awards to middle schoolers.

Gerald McIntosh, the lone senior on the ’92 team, was MVP.

Meanwhile, up-and-comers Paul Donnallen (Wolf Award) and Lily Gunn (Most Inspirational) led a middle school group which included future stars (in other sports) Marnie Bartelson and Scott Stuurmans.

Rounding out fall of ’92 was the CHS cheer squad, with Greta Robinett (Wolf Award), Gina Dozier (Coaches Award), and Dawn Caveness (Most Spirited) honored.


November 1993:

This was a rough fall for CHS, at least in terms of wins and losses, but there were moments, which now in hindsight, signaled much-better times around the corner.

The biggest of these was Kim Meche taking over the Wolf volleyball program.

The first person I ever inducted into the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame, she launched a resurgence in the program, one which Toni Crebbin kept going after Meche left to take school administration jobs.

In ’93, the varsity spikers were led by Sellgren (Best Offense), Jenn Youngsman (Best Defense), and a pack of hard workers like Mika Hosek, West, Sara Griggs, and Natalie Slater.

Scroll down to the JV and C-Team awards for that season, and it’s dominated by names which have stood the test of time — Jen Canfield, Mimi Iverson, Vanessa Bodley, Emrie McCauslin, and Jacelyn Cobb.

Now, to be honest, back in those days, trying to balance Oak Harbor and Coupeville, I only covered varsity matches in person.

Which may be why I managed to screw up BOTH of Emrie’s names in my newspaper awards story, calling her “Emily McCaulsin.”


Hopefully I made up for it years later by always spelling daughter Maddy Hilkey’s name correctly (I think…) through her middle and high school athletic exploits.

Back in ’93, Kirk Sherrill replaced Chet Baker as coach, inheriting a team with virtually no playing experience.

But the Wolves had Chad Jones, a first-year player and senior, who did a really good imitation of Jim Carrey, so they had entertainment.

In a side note, Jones would go in to star in Dreamer, an award-winning (seriously, I have the certificate!) short film we made once I moved on to Videoville.

So, yeah.

Out on the prairie, Eileen Kennedy, who had previously played volleyball, emerged as Coupeville’s top cross country runner, starting down a path which would lead to joining Meche in our Hall o’ Fame.

Life on the gridiron wasn’t full of much joy in ’93, however, as a string of injuries and ineligible players gutted the roster.

None hurt as badly as when Wolf QB Virgil Roehl missed a considerable chunk of his senior year with a broken leg.

Still, despite playing in only a handful of games for a 1-8 team, he joined Prater in being named as a First-Team All-League pick on defense.

Other league honorees included Manzanares, Jason Hughes, Scott Kirkwood, Jimmy Bennett, Scott Gadbois, and Brad Miller.

Coupeville cheer was led by Sarah Engle (Coaches Award) and Lark Eelkema (Most Spirited), while the one Wolf athlete who truly had an outstanding fall wore a different uniform.

After much back-and-forth, CHS formed a “unified” girls soccer team with Oak Harbor High School, and a previously dormant program lurched to life, narrowly missing the state playoffs.

The squad, coached by Coupeville’s Carol Bartelson, swept arch-rival Cascade for the first time, scared powerhouse Snohomish, and put the state on notice.

Playing in OHHS uniforms, the Wildcats were stung by the loss of Amiee Montiel — one of the most dynamic athletes I’ve ever covered — when the explosive playmaker suffered a brutal broken nose that kept her on the bench for seven games.

But in her absence, Coupeville freshman Marnie Bartelson seized the spotlight, shattering the school scoring record by tallying 15 goals.

It was the start of something big … and a something big I missed out on.

I left the News-Times in mid-1994, went and toiled for a few months on the mussel rafts in Penn Cove (why??), then snuggled down in Videoville starting Oct. 4 – the same day the original Jurassic Park hit VHS.

Meanwhile, the OHHS/CHS girls soccer squad took off like a rocket, with Marnie and Co. running wild.

Behind her, dominating in the net, was a new goalie, and second player from Coupeville, one Amanda Allmer.

She and her family moved to The Rock after I left the WNT, just in time for her senior year, and Allmer rocked the joint as a soccer star and basketball supernova.

Led by their Wolves, the Wildcats made their first trip to the state tourney and made it a big one, winning two matches en route to a 4th place finish in 3A.

It was the first of three-straight trips to the big dance for the program, none of which I covered.

Instead, I was knee-deep in movies and spilled popcorn, living a different dream.

Oh well.

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Coupeville football coach Tom Roehl holds the line during a summer camp workout. (Photos by Geoff Newton)

It was a different time.

For one thing, newspaper photographers were still using dark rooms and often had to come back at halftime of games to develop their photos to make deadline.

For another thing, small-town newspapers still employed full-time staff photographers…

Welcome to the rollicking early ’90s, a time when I was posing as a professional newspaper whiz kid, one with a business card which ID’d me as Sports Editor at the Whidbey News-Times.

There are rumors I even wore pants!

You can ponder that startling bit of background info, or just marinate in some non-David pics from that time.

I recommend the latter.

Wolf softball players head to the dugout after a strong defensive stand.

Nick Sellgren (second from left) helps a teammate feel the burn.

Troy Blouin gets creative.

Kit Manzanares hits the tape like a boss.

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