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Posts Tagged ‘Tiffany Briscoe’

All the rebounds belonged to Tiffany “The Bruiser” Briscoe. All of them. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Give everything you have and you can walk away head held high.

Every coach wants a Tiffany Briscoe.

The former Coupeville High School three-sport athlete, one of the rare Wolves to play a sport in all 12 seasons of their prep career, was a rock.

Day in, day out, every practice, every game, Briscoe was there, playing her heart out, doing all the little things, always looking to improve, always supportive of her teammates, always an unsung star.

She played alongside some of the most dynamic athletes CHS has seen, and it might be easy to overlook her contributions.

But it would also be a huge injustice.

Which is why today we swing open the doors to the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame and welcome home one of the ultimate blue-collar warriors.

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

It’s a fitting place to find her, because she is the kind of athlete, and kind of person, you hope other Wolves emulate.

Tiffany would be the first to tell you she didn’t have world-class, awe-inspiring natural athletic ability.

And then she would shrug her shoulders, smile, take you down in the paint, bust your fanny all game long, collect all the bruises, hug all her teammates, and walk away, proud she had helped her team.

Briscoe was a key contributor in all her sports, from volleyball to basketball to softball, helping take teams in the latter two sports to state.

There’s stats to support her making the Hall of Fame – she’s #91 all-time in scoring in CHS girls basketball history.

There’s big moments to make a case for her, like when Briscoe crushed an over-the-fence home run off of a nasty fastball from a rival pitcher who had already signed a D1 college scholarship.

That round-tripper was huge on a day when Coupeville KO’d Klahowya, its biggest diamond rival.

After three straight losses to the Eagles, Briscoe’s blow fueled a 7-6 home win which launched a sweet, and somewhat unexpected, six-game winning streak against Klahowya.

But the thing which guarantees she was going to land in the Hall is her heart.

Through big wins and tough losses, through good times and emotional heart-breakers, Briscoe NEVER stopped battling.

Never stopped working.

Never stopped living and dying for her sisters, whether they be of the flesh and blood type (lil’ sis Kyla) or of the “sisters from another mother” variety.

I’ve known Tiffany since she was a very little girl, and, as her high school athletic career played out, I was always impressed by how the important things – her drive, her desire, her compassion, her commitment – never wavered.

She grew as a young woman, finding confidence in sports and life, and she has begun the journey to making a name for herself in the big, wide world after graduating from CHS in 2017.

But, no matter where she goes, and what she accomplishes, I will always see her the way she was when she wore a Wolf uniform.

Leaning in close, eyes locked on her coach, taking in every word, totally absorbed in the game and what her mentors had to say, whether they were words of praise or the sounds of a coach in despair.

Working in the off-season with her teammates, and by herself, committed to getting every last bit of improvement out of her skills.

And then, face beaming, enjoying her time off the court with her friends and family, always willing to mug for the camera, but also aware of when it was time to do that, and when it was time to focus.

There have been a handful of athletes who have come through the gym doors at CHS, or spent time on one or more of the far-flung fields, who have operated like Briscoe did.

They are the ones we remember after the games have faded away, after scores have been forgotten, after they depart and are replaced by new stars.

During her days and nights as a Wolf athlete, there were a lot of young kids camped in the bleachers, or hanging out by the fence.

As they did so, I hope they watched Tiffany, and I hope they appreciated what she was doing.

When they pull on that high school uniform for the first time, if they remember the way she conducted herself, if they try and play like she did, they will go far.

Briscoe’s success was told in the bruises she collected.

Diving for volleyballs, even when she knew she couldn’t save all of them.

Fighting for rebounds, taking and dealing out elbows and daring anyone to try and budge her from her assigned chunk of hardwood.

Regularly absorbing wayward pitches like she had magnets in her arms and legs that attracted only softballs, then bouncing down to take her free base while gritting her teeth and smiling at her coach through the pain.

I said it once, I said it twice, I’ll keep saying it time and time again.

Tiffany Briscoe was a warrior.

When she walked away, at the end of her final softball season, she cried, because she knew it was over. But she smiled too, because she had no regrets.

I hope when she looks back, she remembers her time as a Wolf athlete with pride, and with joy.

Heart, above all else, and none with a bigger heart than Tiffany.

It’s why she’s a Hall of Famer.

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  Wolf senior Jae LeVine gets ready for her mic drop moment. (John Fisken photos)

Robin Cedillo and proud parents Fredrico and Melissa.

   Tiffany Briscoe (with flowers) gets support from mom Amy, lil’ sis Kyla and dad Rich.

   The LeVine clan lays claim to the diamond. L to r, it’s Micky, Sean, Jae, Joline, and, in front, Izzy “I’m coming for all your records” LeVine.

   There’s no crying in baseball. Good thing this is softball, where everyone is more in touch with their feelings.

Nicole Lester and assistant coach Stephanie Henning have their own party.

   The underclassmen create a tunnel of bats to welcome seniors and their parents to the field.

Legendary, in every way.

They are the last remnants of state tournament glory.

Coupeville High School seniors Jae LeVine, Robin Cedillo and Tiffany Briscoe were freshmen when the Wolf softball sluggers made a wild late-season run in 2014 that carried the program to the big dance for the first time in 12 years.

Now, the trio are grizzled vets, all major contributors for a rampaging 15-2 team intent on getting back to the tourney.

They still have a couple of regular season road games (and then a postseason run) ahead of them, but Thursday was the final time the three played a game on their home diamond.

Predictably, weather was a factor on the prairie and the game with Sequim was suspended in the top of the third.

But, in between the lightning warnings, the Wolves celebrated their graduates-to-be, and John Fisken snapped quality pics as it happened.

To see more Senior Night pics (and a lot of action shots), pop over to:

http://www.johnsphotos.net/Sports/2017-Coupeville-Softball/20170504-vs-Sequim/

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   Bundled up against the weather, Hope Lodell was warmed by a huge win Wednesday afternoon. (John Fisken photos)

Mikayla Elfrank comes up gunning at short.

   Jae LeVine (right), who had three hits, including a game-winning RBI double, celebrates with teammates Veronica Crownover (left) and Melia Welling.

There are victories which define a team, define a season, define a program.

If everything goes according to plan, at some point in the future, the Coupeville High School softball squad will look back at the windy, rainy afternoon of Mar. 29, 2017 and say, “That there, that was the turning point.”

The Wolves won, and a win is always nice.

But it was how they won, and who they beat, that matters most.

For on this wild ‘n wet Wednesday, Coupeville stared down Klahowya, and its leader, two-time Olympic League MVP Amber Bumbalough, and seized its moment, toppling the Eagles 7-6.

The win lifts CHS to 1-0 in Olympic League play, 3-0 overall, pulling them a half game behind two-time defending league champ Chimacum (2-0, 3-1).

Klahowya, to the shock of all, tumbles into the cellar (for the moment) at 0-2, 1-3, a half game behind Port Townsend (0-1, 0-2), a team which is on a 39-game losing streak.

Coupeville won Wednesday by swinging hot bats from the top of the order to the bottom, as eight different players had at least one base-knock.

Included in the 12 hit attack were two doubles (including a game-winning one off the bat of Jae LeVine), two triples and an out-of-the-park home run from senior Tiffany Briscoe that seemed to surprise Briscoe more than anyone else.

Last year, in Kevin McGranahan’s first year as CHS coach, the Wolves were swept by Klahowya, outscored 32-8 across three games.

Wednesday, his team swung hot, played stellar defense, didn’t blink when a five-run lead was erased, rallied late, then closed like stone-cold killers, stranding the tying run at second in the seventh.

The grin on McGranahan’s face may fade sometime before Coupeville’s next game — a road trip to Port Townsend Friday — but it’s doubtful.

“Huge. Huge!! Such a great team win for all of these girls,” he said, and then he smiled, and smiled some more.

The Wolves have fared better against flame throwers than soft tossers, and Bumbalough (“the best we’ll face this year”) can toss wicked heat.

But the cold, wet, windy conditions seemed to bother her at times, and the CHS hitters took advantage.

With their own hurler, Katrina McGranahan, slicing through the Eagle hitters in the early going, the Wolves built a 5-0 lead by putting up runs in each of the first three innings.

In the first, LeVine kick-started things with the first of her three hits, a solidly-whacked single to center.

Wolf catcher Sarah Wright plated her with a two-out RBI single (also to center), then came around to score after a single from Mikayla Elfrank and a hard-hit chopper by Veronica Crownover where the throw to first was dropped.

Coupeville’s defense looked like it would be the biggest story in the second inning, as McGranahan and Elfrank teamed up to pull off an unexpected web gem.

An Eagle slugger ripped a shot back through the pitcher’s circle, but it deflected perfectly off of McGranahan’s glove and right onto the fingertips of the hard-charging Elfrank.

Snagged the madly-bouncing ball, she spun and dropped a rocket of a throw into Crownover’s glove at first for the out.

But, remember, I said “it looked like,” because, with one vicious swing to open the bottom of the second, Briscoe put the spotlight firmly back on the offense.

The senior left fielder, who has been known of late for being an expert in getting hit by the ball (she has a huge welt on her left thigh after being plunked twice Saturday), is primarily a contact hitter.

For one glorious swing, though, it was as if former Wolf slugger Hailey Hammer had been reborn in Briscoe’s body.

Turning on Bumbalough’s heave with unexpected vengeance, Tiffany sent the ball screaming over the fence in left center on a line, almost causing her mom, Amy, to fall off the bleachers.

One of two CHS Class of 2017 athletes to have played a sport all 12 seasons of their high school days (along with Lauren Grove), Briscoe has been a hard-working class act since day one.

Seeing her get mobbed by her teammates at home, with joy and yes, a little shock on her face, was a special moment for all.

But the Wolves weren’t going to stop there, as LeVine cracked a triple in the third, followed by RBIs from Wright and Crownover to run the lead to 5-0.

Klahowya doesn’t fold easily, however.

A veteran team with a star who will be playing college ball one day, the Eagles scraped together three runs in the fourth and another three in the fifth to reclaim the lead.

Coupeville had a marvelous chance in its half of the fourth, getting a lead-off double from speedster Hope Lodell.

It wasn’t to be, though, as Bumbalough bore down and retired the next three hitters herself, making two nimble plays in the field wrapped around a strikeout.

There was no break in Coupeville’s stride, however, as the Wolves scraped out a run in the bottom of the fifth — McGranahan singled and came around to score on a passed ball two batters later — and knotted things back up at 6-6.

In a bid to keep the fans from realizing how chilly it was, the two teams played a high-wire act in the late going.

Elfrank tripled after McGranahan scored, but was thrown out at home trying to score after the initial throw overshot third base.

While the Wolves would have loved the go-ahead run, they endured, as McGranahan gunned down three straight hitters in the sixth to keep everyone on edge.

Facing a two-out, no-one-on-base dilemma in the bottom of the sixth, Coupeville could have been content to move into the seventh in a tied game.

Instead, Lauren Rose popped a seeing-eye single down the right field line, getting the ball to drop in right between two fielders.

Then, as Mouse danced back and forth on the first-base bag, the mightiest mite, the woman so awesome she needs four nicknames, Jae “Flash” LeVine, strode to the plate, twirling her bat over her head.

Hey, that’s how I remember it…

The prairie hushed. Not a cow could be heard mooing.

Only the wailing of former Wolf softball legend Breeanna Messner, home from sunny Cali and forced to remember how cold her home town can be.

And then Joltin’ Jae went and became (even more of) a legend, ripping the hide off the ball, as she sent Bumbalough’s pitch crashing into right-center, plating Rose with the go-ahead (and winning) run.

Peeking out from between her frost-bitten fingers, Messner beamed as LeVine, her prodigy, stood astride second, queen of all she surveyed.

Of course, nothing comes easy, and Klahowya had one last chance to crush a town’s hopes.

Bumbalough (who else?) beat out a one-out infield single in the top of the seventh and moved to second on a steal where she had already popped up before the throw arrived.

Danger loomed, and not just in the really dark clouds out in right field, but Katrina McGranahan was having none of this tomfoolery.

Twice she stared down Eagle hitters, and twice she whiffed them with breaking balls so nasty they might as well have been poison-covered.

At which point the Wolves let loose with a well-deserved celebration, capping it with a full team sing-along.

This day, this moment, they were on top of the world. And justifiably so.

 

To see more photos from this game, pop over to:

http://www.johnsphotos.net/Sports/2017-Coupeville-Softball/20170329-vs-Klahowya/

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(Amy King photo)

   Tiffany Briscoe (left) and Lauren Grove both played a sport in all 12 seasons of their high school career. (Amy King photo)

The three-sport athlete is not dead.

In the five years Coupeville Sports has existed, the number of Wolves upholding the old-school tradition of playing something every season has fluctuated.

And this year, that number is trending upwards.

One week into spring sports practices, it appears 23 CHS students — 13 girls and 10 boys — will pull off the feat in 2016-2017.

That’s a nice bounce from last year, when only 17 reached the mark.

It also stops a downward spiral.

After 18 athletes hit the mark in 2012-2013, we hit a high-water mark of 23 in ’13-’14.

But then the numbers started to slip, from 20 in ’14-’15 to last year’s low of 17.

Now, we’ve rebounded to tie our best mark.

Why the increase this year?

In two words, fresh blood, as 10 freshmen (five girls, five boys) took advantage of all of their opportunities.

In fact, the frosh nipped the juniors, who fielded seven iron men/women, while the sophomores had four and the seniors just a piddly two.

But those two seniors, Lauren Grove and Tiffany Briscoe, are true believers, having played a sport in all 12 seasons of their high school careers.

That tops last year, when just one ’16 grad, Jared Helmstadter, achieved the perfecto.

Barring injury or distractions, we could have as many as four athletes pull off a 12-for-12 run in ’18, as juniors Lauren Rose, Allison Wenzel, Cameron Toomey-Stout and Hunter Smith are flawless to this point at 9-for-9.

Why does any of this matter?

For a lot of reasons, with the first being the simple fact Coupeville is a small school, even by 1A standards, and needs bodies in uniforms.

Also, the age of specialization is a crock, unless you’re in the top .001% of your sport nationally (and no one in Cow Town fits that bill these days).

College coaches repeatedly say the same thing — they want athletes who have played more than one sport. You may have a specialty, or a favorite, but try pushing yourself.

The proof is right before our eyes.

When we look at CHS grads who have gone on to successfully play college sports in recent years, whether it’s Tyler King at U-Dub, Kyle King at Oklahoma, Makana Stone at Whitman or Ben Etzell at Saint John’s, one fact remains — they all played 2-3 sports every year in high school.

Whether you want to move on to the next level or high school is the end of the road for you athletically, push yourself. Try something new.

It’s good for the school. It’s better for you.

3-sport athletes in 2016-2017:

Tiffany Briscoe – senior (volleyball, basketball, softball)
Hunter Downes – junior (football, basketball, track)
Mikayla Elfrank – junior (volleyball, basketball, softball)
Lauren Grove – senior (soccer, basketball, track)
Mason Grove – freshman (tennis, basketball, soccer)
Elliott Johnson – freshman (tennis, basketball, baseball)
Gavin Knoblich – freshman (football, basketball, baseball)
Nicole Lester – sophomore (volleyball, basketball, softball)
Joey Lippo – junior (tennis, basketball, baseball)
Emma Mathusek  – freshman (volleyball, basketball, softball)
Avalon Renninger – freshman (soccer, basketball, tennis)
Lindsey Roberts – sophomore (soccer, basketball, track)
Lauren Rose – junior (volleyball, basketball, softball)
Ema Smith – sophomore (soccer, basketball, track)
Hunter Smith – junior (football, basketball, baseball)
Scout Smith – freshman (volleyball, basketball, softball)
Cameron Toomey-Stout – junior (football, basketball, track)
Maya Toomey-Stout – freshman (volleyball, basketball, track)
Sean Toomey-Stout – freshman (football, basketball, track)
Ulrik Wells – freshman (football, basketball, baseball)
Allison Wenzel – junior (volleyball, basketball, track)
Sarah Wright – sophomore (volleyball, basketball, softball)
Tia Wurzrainer – freshman (soccer, basketball, tennis)

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Tiffany Briscoe (John Fisken photos)

  Tiffany Briscoe looks for some room to move in the paint. (John Fisken photos)

Mia Littlejohn

   Mia Littlejohn leads the charge up-court, showing off her patented Eye of the Wolf stare.

Lauren Grove

Eyes scanning ahead, Lauren Grove looks for an opening in the defense.

Kailey Kellner

Kailey Kellner gathers herself before rippling the net with another three-ball.

The season may be done, but that doesn’t mean the photos are finished.

Having returned from covering the multi-day Mat Classic in Tacoma, wanderin’ paparazzi John Fisken was nice enough to spend Monday going through pics he shot at Thursday’s girls playoff game.

That game, which went down at Bellarmine Prep High School, featured Coupeville slugging it out with Cascade Christian.

If you like these photos, be sure to pop over to where the rest await your peepers:

http://www.johnsphotos.net/Sports/20162017-Coupeville-BB/CHS-GBB-/20170216-vs-Cascade-Christian/

And remember, every photo you purchase helps fund scholarships for CHS student/athletes, while also making it more likely Oak Harbor resident Fisken will hit Coupeville events in the future.

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