Posts Tagged ‘volleyball’

Katrina McGranahan, a killer with a soaring spirit. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Already a star, even before she stepped into the hallways at Coupeville High School.

An athlete who enjoyed every moment she was given.

Katrina McGranahan entered as a star, and exited as a legend.

The Coupeville High School senior, who celebrates her 18th birthday today, excelled at every sport she played, even the one she didn’t really enjoy.

And, while she gave up basketball shortly into her high school career, after dominating in middle school, McGranahan embraced stardom and a role as a quiet leader in both volleyball and softball.

On the court, she broke through as a freshman, making her varsity debut late in the season and flashing signs of the big-time power hitter she would become.

For the next three seasons, McGranahan was front and center, an All-Conference pick, a league MVP, an invaluable contributor on squads which won back-to-back league titles and returned to state after a 14-year absence.

Her kills at the net were delivered with precise power, her blocks with high-flying grace and her service aces with an extra bit of zing.

As good as she was on the volleyball court, it is softball which holds her heart, and the diamond is where Killer Kat has truly soared.

A dangerous hitter who combines power, an ability to hit to all fields, speed and smarts, McGranahan has been Coupeville’s most consistent weapon since day one of her freshman campaign.

When she’s at shortstop, she displays a gun for an arm and a nose for always tracking down even the hardest-hit or weirdest-hit balls.

One of the best plays I have ever witnessed on the prairie came courtesy McGranahan, who, battling epic winds, started to retreat as a pop up corkscrewed over her head.

Then the prairie breeze slammed into the ball in mid-air like a runaway freight train, the ball came to a dead stop in mid-flight, made a little scream and pitched forward, careening towards the Earth.

McGranahan spun in mid-stride, launched herself face-first into oblivion and somehow, against all odds and most of the laws of the known universe, reached the ball with the tip of her glove.

That she touched the ball was a miracle.

That she somehow speared said ball was extraordinary.

That she held onto said ball, pulling it back into her body as she slammed into the unforgiving infield dirt, and completed the play, refusing to let the ball separate itself from her glove?

That made even the impartial umpire behind her scream like a little girl who has just gotten a pony.

And, you know, with all this talk of shortstop, McGranahan rarely played there.

Because, from day one to the final moments of her prep career, she was the young woman who reached out, game after game, took the ball and strode into the pitcher’s circle, ready to face whatever came her way.

Instead of easing into the role while being an understudy as a freshman, McGranahan was thrown into the fire right away as veteran hurler McKayla Bailey rehabbed an injury.

Katrina never blinked, never hesitated. She snapped off strikes as a 9th grader and was still snapping off strikes as a 12th grader, and all that changed was who was behind the plate to catch her pitches.

Over the past six years, in all of her sports, I have witnessed her deliver big moment after big moment, capture epic wins and fight to the final moment in agonizing losses.

I have seen her smile many times as an athlete, and I have seen her cry a few times as well, and the fact there was many more smiles than tears makes me happy.

If Katrina had never played a sport, her strength, spirit, warmth and class would have still made her stand out.

But she was an athlete, one of the best I have written about, a young woman who cared deeply for her teammates, a warrior who fought for every play but had the grace to accept the outcome, good or bad.

As she moves on to play college ball, my enduring image of Killer Kat will be of her pacing in the pitcher’s circle, her fingers kneading the ball, the game on the line, and yet, amid the tension, a huge smile on her face.

She was a killer, but one who was enjoying every moment.

So, today, we wish Miss McGranahan a happy birthday (and much cake) and we officially welcome her into the company of her fellow legends, inducting her into the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame.

After this, you’ll find her name up at the top of the blog, under the Legends tab.

There was never a doubt she would end up here.

I knew it from the first time I watched her play in middle school, and the last six years have simply reinforced my first opinion.

Sometimes it’s nice to be right.

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   CHS volleyball coaches are offering two skills clinics in June, one for students entering grades 7-12, like Emma Smith, and one for those going into K-6. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Coupeville High School volleyball coach Cory Whitmore and his staff are offering two skills clinics in June.

“Participants will be given the opportunity to play and grow with peers, in a fun and safe environment,” Whitmore said.

“The goal is improve the skill base of our players,” he added. “As well as to prepare participants for the upcoming volleyball season in the fall.”


Camp 1 (students entering grades 7-12)

Dates: June 11-14

Time: 3:30-6:30 PM

Location: CHS gym

Cost: $30 per camper

You get: Four three-hour practices with the CHS coaching staff and a “Wolves Skills Camp” t-shirt.

Must register by May 25 to receive shirt.

How to pay: Cash or check payable to “Coupeville High School,” brought to first day of camp.

To Register:


Accident Waiver/Liability form:


What to Bring: Liability form signed by parent, athletic wear (including indoor shoes), water bottle.

Must have a current physical on file with the school office.


Camp #2 (students entering K-6)

Dates: June 22-23

Time: 9 AM-12 PM

Location: CHS gym

Cost: $20 per camper

You get: Two three-hour practices with CHS coaching staff and a “Wolves Skills Camp” t-shirt.

Must register by May 25 to receive t-shirt.

How to Pay: Cash or check payable to “Coupeville High School” brought to first day of camp.

To Register:


Accident Waiver/Liability form:


What to Bring: Parent-signed liability form, athletic wear (including indoor shoes) and a water bottle.


For more info, contact Whitmore at cwhitmore@coupeville.k12.wa.us or (509) 347-6301.

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   Wolf volleyball coach Cory Whitmore is launching a program for Coupeville fifth and sixth graders. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Cory Whitmore is a man on a mission.

In his two years at the helm of the Coupeville High School volleyball program, he’s guided the Wolves to back-to-back Olympic League titles and, this past fall, the spikers first trip to the state tourney since 2004.

Now, Whitmore, and his players, are launching their newest endeavor with the creation of the Wolf Pup Volleyball program.

Open to Coupeville Elementary School students in fifth and sixth grade, it’s a way to build the future of the program, in more ways than one.

“I really couldn’t be more excited about it,” Whitmore said. “It will serve as a small fundraiser for the high school program, but much more importantly, it will offer Coupeville kids the chance to have an introduction to volleyball, learn the basic skills and have a blast, at a much earlier age than is currently offered.

“One of the goals is to prepare players to step into the middle school program with more confidence, experience and love for volleyball,” he added.

The program kicks off Apr. 10 and runs Tuesdays and Thursdays through May 31. Sessions go from 4-6 PM in the middle school gym.

Practice will start off with a warm-up game, then skills and drills with players participating in their age group. Each night will close with a fun, competitive game.

Cost is $40 for a 16-session season, (which breaks down to a very reasonable $1.25 an hour) and will be paid on the first day of practice.

Parents should register their children by Apr. 4 at https://goo.gl/V4tdwF.

All proceeds go to help fund the high school volleyball program.

Whitmore is also looking for anyone interested in volunteering.

“Things like organizing after-practice snacks would be great,” he said. “Donated VolleyLite balls and even some “court helpers” for practices would make things run significantly smoother for the daily routine.”

For more info, contact the coach at cwhitmore@coupeville.k12.wa.us or 509-347-6301.

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Mikayla Elfrank, destroyer of softballs. (Jordan Ford photo)

   Elfrank, powered by her snazzy socks, flies in for another bucket on the hardwood. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

You can run, but she’ll still pound the ball off your face.

It’s not how much time you have, it’s what you do with that time.

Mikayla Elfrank didn’t get the full tour as a Coupeville High School athlete, as she started off down South in Falcon territory, not joining the Wolves until midway through her sophomore year.

Now, at the tail end of her prep career, an ankle injury has stolen part of her basketball season and is denying her a chance to play a spring sport.

Doesn’t matter.

Elfrank accomplished more than enough in her limited run, reaching electrifying heights rarely touched, making her a slam-dunk pick for induction into the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame.

Off the field and court, the three-sport star is a whip-smart, well-spoken young woman who I have no doubt will be a great success in life.

Spend any time speaking to Elfrank and you can’t help but come away impressed with her.

She exudes a quiet confidence mixed with a genuine warmth, and is the rare athlete, young or old, able to look at their career and assess it honestly and straight-forward.

If she has a slight weakness, it may be that she is a little too modest about her own talent.

I’ve seen you play three sports across three years, Mikayla, and I can say this — you have been one of the most entertaining athletes I have ever covered.

It’s not because she’s big on personal celebration or chest-thumping, but it’s because she possesses a big-game explosiveness rarely seen in these parts.

If Hunter Smith is the cool rider, the Wolf who hums along, day after day, game after game, always hitting the high notes, Elfrank is like a roller coaster turned into a human.

When she is on the volleyball or basketball court, or stalking the softball field, she has an uncanny ability to bounce back at a moment’s notice, turning what might be a bad game for her team around in a split second.

When Elfrank strikes, it is with a white-hot intensity.

A spike that ricochets off of a rival’s face with enough force to almost come back over the net.

A coast-to-coast breakaway in which she shreds three backpedaling defenders before slapping the ball high off the backboard for a game-busting layup.

A home run to dead center field that not only clears the fence in Sequim, but puts a dent in a carnival ride being set up in the great beyond, scattering workers who jump like a bomb has dropped on their heads.

In her time as a Wolf, Elfrank has been the queen of the big moment, giving Coupeville fans a jolt of electricity and making opposing coaches throw their hands up in frustration.

They can’t stop her, they can’t contain her, and they know it.

A lot of athletes have come and gone here in Cow Town, and a very select few stand apart for being able to genuinely channel a mix of excitement and danger in every game they play.

Elfrank, like Madeline Strasburg or Lathom Kelley before her, rises above being talented and sits in that pantheon of Wolves who make you feel like you got your money’s worth every night, win or loss.

She and her teammates had some big moments, winning Olympic League titles in volleyball and basketball, going to state as spikers and narrowly missing on the diamond. They also had some tough defeats.

Win or lose, Elfrank never backed down from a challenge, never stopped fighting until the final buzzer, and repped the Wolf uniform with class and skill.

It would have been nice to have a full four years of her in red and black, with no injuries, but what we got to witness will stand the test of time.

An extraordinary young woman, on and off the competitive field, Mikayla will live on at the top of this blog, enshrined under the Legends tab.

Cause that’s what she is, today and forever.

Through every spike, every bucket, every laser throw from the hole at short, she was building a legacy, whether she knew it or not.

Thank you, Miss Elfrank, for making every game an adventure.

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   Payton Aparicio, here delivering a blistering kill, won team MVP and “Spirit of a Wolf” awards Tuesday at the volleyball banquet. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

   Maddie Vondrak (top) made sister Peytin proud, winning the JV team’s Most Improved.

It was a season-long celebration for the Wolves.

Payton Aparicio was a busy bee Tuesday night.

The Coupeville High School senior capped a stellar volleyball career by copping two awards, team MVP and “Spirit of a Wolf,” at her team’s awards banquet.

The shindig brought a close to the most successful season in program history since 2004.

Guided by second-year coach Cory Whitmore, CHS won a record-tying 13 matches.

It also captured a second-straight Olympic League crown (while winning all 27 sets it played in conference), advancing to state for the first time in 13 seasons.

Sophomore swing player Maya Toomey-Stout joined Aparicio as a double winner, bringing home Most Improved (varsity) and Most Inspirational (JV).

Senior Lauren Rose picked up Most Inspirational for the varsity.

In awards previously announced, Hope Lodell was the Olympic League MVP, with Mikayla Elfrank, Katrina McGranahan and Rose tabbed as First-Team All-Conference picks.

Coupeville’s JV team, which went 12-1 under first-year head coach Chris Smith (falling only to 2A Port Angeles), honored Emma Mathusek as MVP.

Lucy Sandahl shared Most Inspirational with Toomey-Stout, while Maddie Vondrak earned Most Improved.

Letter winners:

Payton Aparicio
Kyle Briscoe
Mikayla Elfrank
Hope Lodell
Ashley Menges
Katrina McGranahan
Lauren Rose
Emma Smith
Scout Smith
Maya Toomey-Stout
Allison Wenzel

Participation certificates:

Megan Behan
Kylie Chernikoff
Catherine Lhamon
Jaimee Masters
Emma Mathusek
Heidi Meyers
Charlotte Nolle
Chelsea Prescott
Lucy Sandahl
Savannah Smith
Zoe Trujillo
Raven Vick
Willow Vick
Maddie Vondrak

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