Posts Tagged ‘Toni Crebbin’

Erin Locke and other Coupeville Middle School teachers and staff have put together a video for their students.

Staying connected, even while apart.

That’s a big part of the plan for Coupeville Middle School teachers and staff, who crafted this video for their students.

They may be away from each other, as the world deals with the COVID-19 pandemic, but, in the words of Geoff Kappes, “We love you, we miss you, and we can’t wait to see you again at CMS as soon as it’s safe to be there.”


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Former CHS volleyball guru Toni Crebbin lays down some smack. “You come for the queen, you better not miss!!”

Pump the brakes on the hype train, at least a little bit.

While the 2019 Coupeville High School volleyball squad is off to an impressive 6-0 start, and will look to make it seven straight Saturday at Orcas Island, the current Wolves still have a ways to go to catch the standard bearers.

That’s the 2004 edition, a team which was ranked #1 in the state polls, and a team which reeled off 10 straight wins to open its season.

Those Wolves, led by all-timers like Mindy Horr, Kirsty Croghan, and Taniel Lamb, finished 14-3, rose to the top of the polls by routing the best team in 1A, and narrowly missed out on a state trophy.

Two of those losses came against the team which claimed 2nd at state, La Conner, a team Coupeville also beat twice.

When coach Toni Crebbin and her squad opened the 2004 season, they were in the Northwest A/B League, which had undergone a change from the previous year.

Archbishop Murphy had moved out, while Mount Vernon Christian, Darrington, and Shoreline Christian had moved in, joining Coupeville, Concrete, Friday Harbor, Orcas Island, and the defending league champs, La Conner.

The Wolves started hot, and never really cooled off.

After opening with a four-set win over 2A Lakewood, CHS won the Lopez Island Tournament (which doesn’t count in their win/loss record), stuffing four teams in order.

Coupeville polished off Orcas, Bridgeport, and Lopez, then demolished Liberty Bell in the tourney championship.

After that, the Wolves had a strong showing at the South Whidbey Invite, despite 12 of the 16 teams in attendance being 2A or larger.

That was all preamble to the league season, a time when CHS tore through foe after foe.

Led by seven seniors — Lamb, Horr, Laura Crandall, Heather Davis, Annie Larson, Heather Fakkema, and Kristina Morris — and featuring the explosive hitting of Croghan, those Wolves were, in some ways, a mirror image of the 2019 squad.

This year’s team features eight seniors, and a big hitter in Chelsea Prescott, who, like Croghan, is still an underclassman.

The 2004 team waxed Mount Vernon Christian, Darrington, Friday Harbor, Concrete, and Shoreline Christian to get to 6-0 and enter the state polls at #6.

Two tough matches were right around the corner, but the Wolves showed off their grit by pulling out five-set wins against both Orcas and La Conner, with both bouts decided 16-14 in the final frame.

That pushed Coupeville up to #5 in the polls, before wins over Friday Harbor and Concrete sent CHS all the way out to 10-0 and a #3 state ranking.

In every story a little rain must fall, though, and perfection ended in the very next match.

Facing La Conner with the league title at stake, the Wolves fell just short, losing 3-1.

To which, to a woman, they said, “Ha!” and came roaring right back with some of their best volleyball of the season.

Squaring off with La Conner again less than 24 hours after their loss, Coupeville avenged its honor, bouncing the Braves in a tiebreaker match, earning league and district titles in the process.

That assured the Wolves of a berth in the state tourney, as well, but they weren’t done.

They promptly swept Bellevue Christian 3-0, then whacked top-ranked Bush (and its star player, a U-Dub recruit) 3-1, to exit districts with the top seed.

The state voters noticed, and, for the first time in school history, the Wolf spikers, at 13-1, ascended to the #1 ranking in the 1A polls.

Flush with success, Coupeville rode a roller coaster ride at the state tourney, opening with a 3-1 win over Zillah for its program-record 14th win, before falling 3-1 to its old nemesis, La Conner.

Having taken the season split with the Braves, the Wolves still had a chance to advance to the 4th/7th place game, and seemed like they were well on their way, taking the first two sets in their next match.

Up 25-19, 25-14 on Freeman, things looked sensational … until they didn’t.

The third set, a taut affair, went to the “bad guys” 25-23, then Freeman rolled 25-16 in the fourth to send the match to a fifth, and deciding, frame.

While the final set normally goes to 15, you still have to win by two points, and both teams weren’t ready to leave the court, stretching things out.

Trailing 15-14 and facing match point, Coupeville got a huge kill off the back line from Croghan, before Fakkema dropped a little bump into a gap to push the Wolves in front.

From there, the action went back and forth, before ending 22-20 in favor of Freeman, the match ending on a savage service ace.

While the Wolves fell just short of earning their first state trophy in volleyball, the team racked up big-time stats in their finale.

Horr, in the final match of a career in which she was the best setter the school has seen, before, then, or now, flipped 43 assists to her teammates.

Lamb smacked 17 kills and hit on 17-18 serves, while Crandall, a Videoville/Miriam’s Espresso alumnus (so, bonus points), was 22-23 on serves and thunked 11 kills at the net.

Whether their season ended on a win or a loss, the 2004 spikers remain the gold standard for the program.

The 2017 CHS volleyball squad, the first to return to state since Crebbin’s best squad, won 13 matches under Cory Whitmore, and now this year’s team is making a run at the best start to a season.

The current Wolves are shooting for the stars.

If they get there, the 2004 squad will be there to welcome them to the top of the mountain.

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Toni Crebbin (with blaster) joins fellow Hall of Famers (clockwise from upper right) Mike Meyer, Brittany Black, Paul Mendes, Marie Hesselgrave and Jessica Riddle.

   Toni Crebbin (with blaster) joins fellow Hall of Famers (clockwise from upper right) Mike Meyer, Brittany Black, Paul Mendes, Marie Hesselgrave and Jessica Riddle.

Heart. Lots and lots of heart.

It’s what drove the six people who make up the 14th class to be inducted into the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame.

They’ll live on, up at the top of this blog, under the Legends tab, but, frankly, none of them needed us to say a word. Their legacy is already set in stone.

But, it’s Sunday, and I need something to do, so let’s welcome Toni Crebbin, Brittany Black, Jessica Riddle, Paul Mendes, Marie Hesselgrave and Mike Meyer to these hallowed digital walls.

We kick it off with a man who is probably already in a few real Halls, Señor Mendes.

An elite-level soccer player who lettered four years at the University of Washington and went on to play for the original Seattle Sounders, he is the only CHS coach who can say they played in a game with Pele.

After an injury cut short his playing career, Mendes detoured into coaching, and was a champ at every level.

Two national titles as an assistant at Seattle Pacific University. Two state titles, and two runner-up finishes, as a head coach at Newport High School.

But most importantly to us, he graced the Coupeville High School soccer field for the final eight years of his career, building the Wolf program from the ground up and guiding it to the state tourney several times.

Better yet, he did it with a style and quiet passion that were unmatched. He was The Man, a genuine superstar whose presence on The Rock has been a blessing to all who have gotten to know him.

Our second inductee, Black, joins older sister Lexie in the Hall, reuniting the Black ‘n Blue sisters.

The very definition of laid-back cool off the court, Brittany was a ball o’ fire on the hardwood, helping lead CHS basketball during its heyday of repeat state tourney appearances.

But as good as she was in high school, her life after graduation has taken our appreciation level (it was already high) up several notches.

College basketball in Alaska, where her eyelids would often freeze as she and her sis ran from the car to the gym, was impressive, but her decision to reveal her battle with alcohol — https://coupevillesports.com/2015/01/17/sobriety-is-the-coolest-thing-i-have-experienced/ — showed her class, her grit and her hope to a new generation of gym rats.

As she prepares for marriage to girlfriend Megan King, it is an honor to honor Britt for her game and her life.

Our third inductee was so good, she gets in the Hall despite having played half her career at Anacortes High School.

A family move plucked Riddle from Cow Town after her sophomore year, but the volleyball prodigy still sees her name on the school’s record board three times for her play from 2009-2010.

She holds the Wolf single-game record for kills (21) and service aces (13), as well as the career mark for digs (342), plus she was a pretty dang talented tennis player at the time.

After the move, she led the Seahawks to back-to-back fifth place finishes at the state 2A tourney, winning Northwest Conference MVP as a senior, then signed a college scholarship with St. Martin’s.

While it might have been nice to see Riddle launching herself skyward while clad in red and black all four years, two years was all it took to become a legend. Anacortes had her last, but she’s Coupeville’s forever.

Joining her on the stage is her former coach, Crebbin, who worked the bench for 21 years, impacting several generations of Wolves.

One of the best there has ever been when it came to coaches who worked well with the great unwashed media hordes, she was great for quotes, even better for stats and insight.

On the court, she shaped winners, took teams to great success, and won honors for her coaching.

Off the court, she has transformed lives, traveling frequently to China to work with orphans, often taking her athletes and students with her and giving them a powerful insight into a world they wouldn’t have otherwise experienced.

With two sons in college and two irrepressible young daughters keeping her running these days, she’s “retired,” but is still a frequent presence at CHS volleyball matches, where she can be found at the scorer’s table.

As a coach or an announcer, Crebbin is the gold standard. Of that, there is no doubt.

These days, Wolf fans get to enjoy the hard-charging play of Wiley Hesselgrave, a throw-back to another time, a football/basketball star who hits like a freight train.

Everything he knows, however, came from his big sis, one of the best role players Coupeville athletics has ever had.

Marie did the dirty work on the basketball court, and she did it like a hurricane unleashed.

On the tennis court, she was no less gritty. The longer the match went, the harder she fought, and she pulled out win after win because she simply refused to back down, breaking her opponent mentally and physically.

A supremely nice person in real life who has gone on to serve her country in the military, Hesselgrave is the kind of athlete every Wolf should strive to be.

And we wrap up our induction with one that is personal.

Having worked 12+ years for his mom, Miriam, at Videoville, I saw Lil’ Mikey Meyer grow up, from the tow-headed kid who bounced around the store to the gridiron warrior recording 20 tackles a game for CHS to the father of three he is today.

If he was small for a moment, that was replaced with a muscle-rockin’ beast by high school, but one who was still fragile, even if not all knew.

Mike has been a Level 1 diabetic his entire life and playing football, which drains the body, was a tricky affair. It required great attention to detail, and gave his mom more than one unsteady moment.

But Meyer, and his family, handled all the setbacks by tackling them head-on, kind of like how Mike met anyone foolish enough to try and run to his side of the field.

If you just look at the stats, where the 2000 CHS grad more than earned his All-Conference honors, he would be a worthy candidate for the Hall.

Look closer at what he overcame, and he becomes a slam dunk.

Look even closer at the photos of the three joyous children he and wife Christi have brought into the world, and the athletic stuff is just the icing on the cake.

But hey, everyone, even a talented chef like Mike, needs a little frosting from time to time.

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Brett and Breanna Smedley.

Brett and Breanna Smedley.

Hailey Hammer (right), doin' what she does -- beatin' the snot out of the volleyball.

Hailey Hammer (right), doin’ what she does — beatin’ the snot out of the volleyball. (John Fisken photo)

Sadi Foltz

Sadi Foltz

The coaches change, but Hailey Hammer is a constant.

When Coupeville High School senior volleyball players like Hammer take the court this fall, they’ll be playing for their third coach in as many years.

Breanne Smedley, wife of Wolf assistant football coach Brett Smedley, has been hired to helm the program.

She replaces former CHS star Kirsty Croghan, who had to step down after one season because of the length of her daily commute.

Croghan, who works for the La Conner school district, had sought a similar job in Coupeville, but had been unable to secure one.

Croghan, who led the Wolves through their final season in the 1A/2A Cascade Conference, inherited the job from her high school coach, Toni Crebbin, when Crebbin brought a 20-year coaching career to an end to spend time with her young daughters.

As she leads CHS into the 1A Olympic League, Smedley will be joined on the sideline by Amy King, who will return for her second season as the JV coach.

Coupeville also added another coach at the middle school level, hiring Sadi Foltz to replace Allison Cowan.

Cowan stepped down after one season as the 7th grade coach when her husband was transferred by the Navy.

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