Posts Tagged ‘track and field’

Raven (left) and Willow Vick – bright, shining superstars. (Maria Reyes photo)

Kindness matters.

Long after the memories of their high school athletic achievements fade, Willow and Raven Vick will be remembered for the grace they showed others.

Through their schools days in Coupeville, from little tots to whip-smart high school grads, the twins amazed and dazzled.

As they grew up, they each found their own path, forged their own personalities, reached their own goals.

But, together or apart, they have one thing very much in common — the way they treat those around them, in good times and bad.

Willow and Raven benefit from having great parents, and Brian and Maria have much to be proud of when they watch their daughters.

That extends to the community which has helped shape them, and been shaped, in a very positive way, by the duo.

As they have followed their path through Cow Town, the Vick sisters have excelled in the classroom, in the music world, and on the sports field.

Always up for a photo shoot with dad. (Brian Vick photo)

They both played volleyball, finishing their prep careers as part of a highly-successful Wolf team which tied the program record for wins a year ago.

Coupeville started 12-1, won 14 matches in all, and claimed its fourth-straight top-two league finish and 10+ win season.

Along the way, the Wolves benefited from Raven’s crackling serves and Willow’s hustle and heart.

While the Vicks were denied a senior track and field season by the COVID-19 shutdown, they both took advantage of their time at the oval in previous seasons.

Raven celebrates after a successful track meet. (Brian Vick photo)

As a junior, Raven threw the shot put, discus, and javelin, competing in the league championships in all three events, and making it to bi-districts in the latter event.

Willow rounded out what would turn out to be her final track season by vying in the discus and javelin as well, along with performances in the 1600 and long jump.

And, like her sister, she qualified for the North Sound Conference Championships in three events.

Earlier in her track career, Willow, who also played for a Central Whidbey Little League juniors softball squad which went 13-3, made a splash.

As a freshman, she bounded past the competition to claim the title in the high jump at the Olympic League JV Championships.

Willow, ready to crank it. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

So, there’s ribbons, and memories, and moments which mattered to Willow and Raven, and to their family, and to their fans.

Add in all the high points in the classroom and with a musical instrument in hand, and you have a pair of young women who exemplify a lot of really great attributes.

They’re strong, they’re committed, they’re smart, they carry themselves with a sense of grace.

But, and in a world where things are out of sorts and 10,000 different versions of suck, Willow and Raven are kind.

Not because they have to be, but because they want to be.

I have seen it in public, with how they interact with their teammates on the court and around the track oval, and I have seen it in private, while sharing a car with them while driving back from volleyball postseason tournaments.

They are the same serene spirits when people are watching, and when they aren’t, and that goes a long way to why I have been so impressed with the twins.

So today, as the duo jointly celebrate their 19th birthday, I want to give back at least a little to them by inducting them into the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame.

After this, if you pop up to the top of the blog, under the Legends tab, you’ll find them there.

Our Hall of Fame, since it’s picked by one person, has no set rules for who gets through the doors.

Sometimes, selection is for awe-inspiring play and big stats. Other times, it’s for being the absolute best you can be, in whatever way you can be.

Willow and Raven make Coupeville a better place. It’s as simple as that.

Through their actions over the years, the twins have soared as high as any prep athletes I have written about, and I know, without a doubt, their accomplishments in the future will likely be extraordinary.

So, Miss Vick, and Miss Vick, thank you.

Thank you for choosing to reach for greatness, and for always being the best of what Coupeville has to offer.

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Lucy Sandahl radiates joy, on the court and off. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Lucy Sandahl brings light, happiness, and joy into the world.

And those are things we really need right now.

As the country, and, to some extent, our town, rips itself apart, marinating in ugly arguments, it’s hard at times to see the positives.

Which means we need to look harder, go deeper, and actively seek out things to celebrate.

Today, that spotlight falls on Lucy, and our praise for her is highly deserved.

With that praise comes induction into the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame.

After this, if you pop up to the top of the blog and look under the Legends tab, that’s where she’ll be enshrined as a member of a select group.

Passing on the game to the next generation. (Cory Whitmore photo)

Lucy graduated from CHS last spring (which seems like four lifetimes ago), and is currently attending Seattle Pacific University with sister Sophie.

Now, I don’t think I will hurt Lucy’s feelings too deeply when I say that, based on her career stats as a Wolf volleyball player and track and field competitor, she’s not necessarily someone who immediately jumps to mind for Hall o’ Fame induction.

But she more than earned her spot in our digital clubhouse of honor because of her spirit, because of her grace, and because there was never a moment when she gave less than her best.

Lucy, as much as anyone I have written about, seemed to take such great joy in being an athlete.

She radiated it, in every photo snapped of her in action, and every time I saw her play in person.

When you’ve just smacked a spicy service ace for an undefeated Wolf volleyball squad, and your teammates are thumping their feet on the floor around you in celebration, it’s easy to look joyous.

One ace, comin’ up. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

But it’s not so easy when you’re battling to keep your lunch down after hitting the tape at the end of a brutal long-distance race on the track oval.

And yet, look at the assembled runners, most bent over in pain, some regretting their choices in life, and there would be Lucy, the smile never far away from resurfacing.

She was hurting, and yet being out there, seizing the opportunity to get the most possible out of her high school experience, running for her friends and family, meant so much to her.

“Is that seven laps … or eight laps?”

We like to say that heart matters in sports, and, if that’s true, Lucy is the perfect example of someone whose heart was three times as big as the young woman herself.

You can call her a role player, and there is nothing but respect in that assessment, because she fully embraced her status.

Which doesn’t mean Lucy didn’t work as hard as possible, in practice or games, forever trying to perfect her craft on the court or oval.

Cause she did.

What I mean is that she was not one to pout or complain about playing time.

Instead, she asked, “What can I do?” and then she pushed herself to deliver.

Lucy believed in her team, always, and was ready to do whatever was needed to help her athletic sisters prosper.

Or at least that’s how it seemed to me as I sat in the stands over the years, watching her career unfold once she and her family arrived on Whidbey after a move here from South Carolina.

It is very easy to root for Lucy, even for those of us who are supposed to be (sort of) impartial, and very easy to come away thinking she is truly a remarkable young woman.

She is a success with the books – the Salutatorian of her class – a success in the sports world, and, most importantly, a success as a kind, generous human being.

Lucy Sandahl is a Hall o’ Famer every day, in every way, and Coupeville is a better town for her having been here.

Senior Night festivities with mom Jeannie, sis Sophie, and dad Michael.

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Lauren Grove, kickin’ butt and takin’ names. Always. (Dawnelle Conlisk photo)

Lauren Grove is as tough as they come.

During her time as a Coupeville High School athlete, she impressed me again and again with her grit, her desire, and her unwillingness to back down against any team or any athlete.

That spirit carried her through an impressive prep career, one in which she wore the red and black while competing in track and field, volleyball, soccer, and basketball.

One of only two students from her graduating class to play a sport in all 12 seasons, Grove was a slam-dunk for the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame.

Miss Intense, at work. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Now, though, she is waging the strongest fight of her life, as she recovers from extensive burns suffered in a grease fire in May.

As she faces, and overcomes, every obstacle, Grove is documenting her journey on an Instagram page.

It is raw, unfiltered, and, like Lauren herself, full of hope.


To see her progress, pop over to:


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Andrew Martin, destroyer of worlds. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

One giant walking, talking bruise with an undying love for IHop pancakes.

Some football players try and do things with finesse, try and run away from their rivals, try to keep their uniforms clean.

Andrew Martin was never, ever one of those players.

“Hambone” is what you get if you build a time machine, go back to the ’50s, grab the guy who’s covered in mud and grass chunks, the guy everyone else is trying not to be hit by, then bring that dude back to modern times.

In other words, a new-school player with an old-school mind set.

Martin rarely dodged, always choosing to run right through fools instead, whether he was playing offense or defense for the Coupeville High School football team.

Hand him the ball, and the human battering ram often ran over the top of his own blockers, surging into the crowd, tearing off chunks of yardage (and sometimes ripping off opponent’s arms and legs in the process).

Martin bulldozes a would-be tackler.

Even in the open field, with no one in front of him, Martin sometimes pivoted backwards, seemingly just so he could feel the thwack one more time as he obliterated a would-be tackler.

He got in the end zone a fair amount of times, especially in big games, but all his best runs, all the plays which linger after his prep career has ended, involved slo-mo destruction.

The same was true on the defensive side of the ball, where Martin recorded tackles at a much more impressive pace than stat guys often recorded.

Rumbling from his linebacker position, or anywhere Wolf coaches plugged him into to as they employed various schemes, he was a wall of bricks.

Few got past him, no one got through him, and virtually everyone who wandered through Martin’s air space paid for it with a deep, aching burn down in their nether regions the next day.

He was a wrecker, a rumbler, a glorious throwback to a time when football players knew only one way to play the game — all-out, aggressive, and loaded for bear on every play.

Martin rose to the occasion, never more than on the night last fall when CHS football sealed the deal on its first winning season in 13 years.

Playing against 2A Anacortes, the Wolf senior rumbled for all three Coupeville touchdowns during a 27-carry, 137-yard swan song in front of his home fans.

Want to marinate in the moment one more time? Pop over to:


During Martin’s final season, I travelled to the team’s road games with Andy’s parents, and saw a different side to him than I might otherwise have.

After the Friday Night Lights had dimmed, after the roar of the crowd had receded, Andy would hobble back to the car, the effects of his playing style evident in how he moved, and in his good-natured description of all his various aches, pains, and injuries.

Yet, he never stopped moving forward. On the field, and in life.

Whether he was arguing for why he deserved post-game KFC, even if the nearest chicken outlet was way off the highway, breaking down every play from the game just ended, or trash-talking (in private) an opposing team player who tried (and failed) to intimidate him, Andy was a quality traveling companion.

I respect his game, appreciate the passion and grit he played with, and always found him to be quietly hilarious.

“Rest easy, little guy. Daddy will get you to the end zone and won’t let those bad men touch you.”

Off the field, the youngest member of the Martin clan was a strong student, and a talented member of the CHS band.

He also had some quality moments for the Wolf track and field squad, and could have been a beast on the basketball court like dad Jonathan, if he hadn’t needed downtime to heal his myriad football injuries.

But Andy made his mark on the gridiron, and jammed into the back of a car on the way home from games in some far-flung outpost, and that’s more than enough.

Today, his exploits, his fire, the way he lived, breathed, and (sometimes) suffered for football carry him into the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame.

After this, you’ll find him, along with older brother Jacob, hanging out at the top of the blog, up under the Legends tab.

Bring him some KFC, sit back, and let him tell you in vivid detail what REALLY happened down there on the field, under the dog pile, away from the eyes of the ref.

Can’t write about it all, maybe, but it still makes for a heck of a story.

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The man, the myth, the legend – Larrie Ford. (Photo courtesy David Ford)

Coupeville lost one of its best coaches, and people, this week, with the passing of Larrie Ford.

The following is from his family:


It saddens us to announce the passing of our beloved father Larrie Leon Ford on Monday, July 13, 2020, in Coupeville, Washington.

Larrie was born June 13, 1942 in Wapato, Washington to parents Clifton Ford and Majorie Shinaberger.

Larrie grew up in Camas, Washington riding his beloved horse Chico.

He competed on the rodeo circuit, winning many trophies and ribbons, in bull riding and tie-down roping.

While in high school Larrie held several Washington state track and field records that he was very proud of, which stood for 50 years!

Back in the CHS gym, Larrie enjoys some quality time with Greg White. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

In 1962 he enlisted into the U.S. Navy, as an Aviation Ordanceman (IYAOYAS).

He served his country with dedication and pride from Vietnam to N.A.S. Whidbey Island, where he spent most of his Naval career. He retired with honors in 1982.

On August 4th, 1977, Larrie married the love of his life, Janice L. Wilson.

Jan called him her “Knight In Shining Armor.”

They had a wonderful 30-year marriage full of adventures and raising their six children together.

Larrie enjoyed many years as a coach and advisor for Coupeville High School.

Larrie gets ready for a Homecoming parade with Dr. Jim Shank (middle) and Dale Sherman. (Photo by Shelli Trumbull)

He was a competitive shooter and served as President of the Central Whidbey Sportsman Association.

Our dad loved fishing and could be found at his “secret spot” on Cranberry Lake with his family and cherished dog Barkley.

Larrie was also a member of The Oak Harbor Yacht Club, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Moose Lodge, and Coupeville Booster Club.

Larrie was preceded in death by his sister, Nola Ford Restorff, brother Denny Ford, and his wife, Janice L. Ford.

When Jan passed he gave her half of his heart to hold until he could be with her again.

He is survived by son James Ford and wife Francis, daughter Deanna Ford, son David Ford and wife Barbi, daughter Tina Ford, son Tony Ford and wife Kara, and son Eric Ford and wife Holly.

That includes nine grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

A private service with full military honors will be held to celebrate Larrie’s life.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in memory of Larrie Ford to the Coupeville Booster Club, PO Box 452, Coupeville, WA 98239, to continue his support to the youth of our community.

The family is especially grateful to those that have reached out and shared their love and stories of our father!

He was a great man!

Larrie with two of his six children, sons Tony (left) and David.

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