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Just a freshman, Kai Wong is already a two-way starter on the line for the Coupeville High School football squad. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Football is just a small part of Kai Wong’s vibrant life.

While the Coupeville High School freshman has made an immediate impact for the Wolves, starting on the line in the season opener against Port Townsend, he’s a big-picture guy who doesn’t limit himself to life on the gridiron.

“Honestly, I’m interested in a little bit of everything in life,” Wong said. “Everything has a sort of beauty to it that I can’t lay a finger on, but can’t get enough of.”

When not on the field, he enjoys playing video games and hanging out with friends and family.

And while he enjoys his home town, having moved to Coupeville during the latter half of his eighth grade year, Wong is looking forward to seeing what’s out beyond the horizon.

“One thing I’d absolutely love to do, however, would be to visit another country,” he said. “I’m fascinated by the wonders of the world that I haven’t experienced for myself yet.”

Wong, whose mom Becky would love to see him give baseball a try in the spring, approaches football with a very Zen attitude.

“I’m not actually that interested in sports, I simply play it because it’s all I know, and it’s a good way to get my energy out,” he said.

“Now, just because I’m not interested in sports, does not mean I wouldn’t love watching a beautiful play in any of them, even better if I did one.”

Wong came up through junior football programs, and having made the jump to high school, he’s beginning to develop an appreciation for all it offers.

“Football is the sport I know the most about, and I’ve grown up with it in my life,” he said.

“To be honest, I never really realize how much I enjoy being an athlete until I’m asked it,” Wong added. “It’s a good way of spending your energy, keeping you in shape and your body active.

“Not to mention, when you’re in a group with others, it’s nice to know that the hardships you go through can help your teammates.”

One of 10 freshmen on the Wolf varsity roster, Wong has already jumped to the forefront, emerging as a dependable two-way player for CHS coach Marcus Carr.

While he’s having early success, the young lineman hasn’t let it go to his head.

“If I had to flatter myself and list my strengths as an athlete, I’d have to say that really the only thing going for me is my mindset to get better,” Wong said. “With this kind of mindset, I know that whatever I’m doing to get better will allow me to support others in some way.”

He wants to work on “my physical conditioning in general, especially my stamina,” with the intent of putting together a solid prep career for himself.

“As goals for high school and football, I wish to leave a legacy that I can be proud of,” Wong said. “And make sure my schoolmates have one under their belt too, thanks to me.”

Helping drive him forward, as a football player, student and young man with a bright future, is the support of those around him.

His coaches and friends have a decided impact on his life, but those closest to him remain his primary inspiration.

“My family. Without a doubt, my family,” he said. “They’re the best I could ever ask for, and they’re one of the greatest reasons I always push forward through life and its hardships.

“I doubt I could have gone nearly as far as I have already without them in my life.”

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Hawthorne Wolfe glides in for a bucket. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Wolfe, here streaking for home, was a key player on a Babe Ruth team which finished 2nd at state and advanced to regionals this summer.

Talent? Check.

Hard work and commitment? Check and check.

Hawthorne Wolfe is that rare young athlete who checks all the boxes, and his appearance in a Coupeville High School uniform this coming year is highly-anticipated.

On the basketball court, he’s a three ball-droppin’ terror who can also wheel and deal with the ball, while on the baseball diamond, Wolfe brings a slick glove, hot bat and fleet feet to the lineup.

During his middle school days, Wolfe also played football, but, for the moment at least, he’s stepping off the gridiron to focus on his other two sports.

While he shines in all his sporting endeavors, the fast-rising young star hails hoops as his favorite pastime.

“It’s a team sport and at times can be individual,” Wolfe explained. “It’s also fast-paced, as well as fun.”

On a CMS team where all five starters felt comfortable firing up balls from behind the three-point arc, Wolfe was the deadliest last season.

Operating like NBA stars such as Steph Curry, or future CHS teammate Mason Grove, Wolfe has already showcased an often uncanny ability to get his shot off quickly, and from any angle.

Shooting on the move, while going either direction, he often proved deadliest when putting up balls in the flow of action.

Give him time to spot up and it was even more likely to result in a taste of splash city.

The commitment factor came into play vividly after one game, when, unhappy with his performance (despite leading Coupeville to a win), he ran laps around the gym.

A slight chuckle came from one of his coaches as Wolfe, not satisfied with his initial self-administered punishment, decided to double his running.

Commitment like that carried over to many of his teammates, and the middle school hoops team was a tightly-knit, successful squad.

Now, as Wolfe and most of his teammates prepare to swap out CMS uniforms for ones which read CHS, that sense of commitment continues to burn brightly.

“I want to hopefully go to state in all sports,” Wolfe said. “And, if possible, which I think it is, win state and so on.”

Away from the court or diamond, he’s fond of playing video games and spends a fair amount of time “watching sports or going to sporting events with my dad or family.”

When he’s in uniform himself, or working to get ready, Wolfe strives to mesh his skills with his teammates, well aware a solid team can go further than just a single athlete.

“It shows that you can work with others well and you get to have fun playing sports competitively,” he said. “I think I’m a good teammate; I mean, I recommend asking some of my teammates first.”

While he always wants to keep the competitive fires raging, Wolfe is also on a mission to find proper balance.

“I would like to work on not getting frustrated at things I shouldn’t get frustrated at,” he said with a small smile.

Whether dropping in treys from long distance, or slaving away over school work, Wolfe has a deep appreciation for his support crew.

“Well, obviously my parents and grandparents and all my coaches have been great on helping me,” he said. “I can’t think of one who hasn’t.

“But when it comes to teammates, I would say Caleb Meyer, just cause me and him are always competitive,” Wolfe added. “He helps me, I help him, and we strive to be great together, whether it’s in the gym or outside.”

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Danny Conlisk (John Fisken photo)

   Wolf freshman Danny Conlisk flies around the track in a meet earlier this season. (John Fisken photo)

Danny Conlisk is in a hurry to get places.

The Coupeville High School freshman, who tore up the track oval as a middle school runner — going a perfect 7-0 in the 1600 — is right back at it one step higher up the competition ladder.

Three meets in, Conlisk has run in the 200, 400, 1500 and 1600 for the Wolves, and would like to try the 800 soon.

While he’s done well in sprints, the lure of the marquee event is hard to ignore.

“The mile is my favorite event, because I enjoy long distance,” Conlisk said.

He picked up the track bug last year and joined the CMS team “because I simply enjoy running.”

Now that he’s on his way to being a grizzled veteran, Conlisk has discovered he enjoys almost everything about the sport.

“The team, friends, running, competing and beating my PRs” are just a few of the things the freshman phenom would put in the plus column.

While he feels strong both in distance and sprint races, Conlisk would like to “work on my form, to improve even more.”

“My goal is to get my mile run under five minutes,” he said.

“Last meet I ran the 400 for the first time, winning my heat and coming in fifth behind four seniors overall,” Conlisk added. “It would be really cool to win the 400 overall in a meet.”

A big fan of comedy movies (“I like to laugh”) and his PE class, he uses his computer to stay in touch with people from all stages of his life.

“I enjoy playing video games,” Conlisk said. “Since I have lived a military kids life, it lets me keep up with my friends far away.”

His biggest fans, however, are closely following his athletic exploits.

“My mom and dad have made the biggest impact on my life, since I have spent most of my time with them,” Conlisk said. “They make sure I do what I need to do.

“They are pretty awesome and support me big in track.”

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Wolf freshman Ryan Labrador (John Fisken photo)

Wolf freshman Ryan Labrador pauses to think about all the rival quarterbacks he’s going to pound on. (John Fisken photos)

Ryan Labrador

Labrador busts through the Lakeside line.

For a newbie, he’s already making an impact.

Coupeville High School freshman Ryan Labrador has no prior organized football experience, but Saturday, during his team’s scrimmage with Lakeside, he was already crashing through the line in pursuit of the rival quarterback.

Not bad for a guy who is still not sure what positions he’ll play this season.

“I really don’t know my main position yet, but I think it is, defense center, offense left or right guard,” Labrador said. “This is my first year ever doing football in my life; the only reason I joined is because my friends convinced me to join.”

Once he started, Labrador quickly discovered he liked his new pastime.

“I enjoy football because it’s a new sport to me and it’s fun to be with friends,” he said.

Like all newcomers he’s busy working on his game, taking part in SST training and tweaking his skill-set.

“I think my strength in football is being able to do my blocks and break through the line,” Labrador said. “The things I would like to work on is for defense just being able to get out of the stance faster and being able to break through their line.”

A movie fan who enjoys thriller, horror and Disney films, he hails PE as his favorite class.

While he is new to football, he played basketball and baseball before, and is considering playing those as well during his freshman year.

When he’s not busy with school (“My primary interest are focusing on school, working and getting passing grades”), Labrador enjoys playing video games and watching videos.

Through it all, he has always turned to one family member to help guide him through life.

“My grandpa, Keith Siversten, he majorly impacted my life being an amazing grandpa and also a teacher,” Labrador said. “He taught me manners and being a nice person and boating from crabbing to fishing.”

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Alex Turner (left) with dad ?.

Alex Turner (left) with dad Joseph.

With a new high school football season ahead of us, let’s take a look at some of the young men who will play for Coupeville High School for the first time this fall.

“I like hitting people!”

Before you think Alex Turner is being overly violent, he’s talking about the time he spends on the gridiron.

Turner, who will be a freshman at Coupeville High School in the fall, is entering his eighth year as a football player.

He was introduced to the sport by his dad, Joseph, and has loved the fast-paced, physical game ever since.

“I really don’t know what I’d be doing without football or my dad,” Turner said.

On the field, he lives for the big hit, and continues to put in the behind-the-scenes work necessary to make an impact once he straps on the gear.

“I’m fast, I can hit hard, I’m a good route runner,” Turner said. “I need to work on footing and reading the quarterback’s eyes and getting my wind up.”

Turner is working with a personal trainer on fine-tuning all of his moves.

“He’s helping with that right now; I want to be a better all-around player and to work hard every time I hit the football field.”

Football is not his only game, as Turner is a year-round athlete, having also played basketball and track during his time at Coupeville Middle School.

Away from sports, he spends most of his free time playing video games and working out.

Preparation for that moment when he steps on the field, clad in red and black, ready to lay down a string of hits that will put his name on the lips of Wolf fans everywhere.

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