Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘volleyball’

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.

Read Full Post »

All the details worth knowing.

It’s a win-win kind of situation.

Coupeville volleyball coaches are offering young spikers a chance to sharpen their skills, while raising money to help the high school teams.

Wolf Pup Volleyball, which runs from Apr. 9 to May 28, is a series of 15 two-hour practices aimed at players currently in fifth and sixth grade.

For all the pertinent info, scroll back up and take a look at the handy-dandy photo guide.

And to register by Apr. 2, pop over to:

https://bit.ly/2Ta650y

Read Full Post »

Coupeville’s Emma Smith (left) and Ashley Menges celebrate a club volleyball tourney title. (Konni Smith photo)

Whidbey Volleyball Club U18 players call for their teammates to “pour it on.” (Charlotte Young photo)

Maya Toomey-Stout (3), Hannah Davidson (4), Emma Smith (13), Menges (14), Zoe Trujillo (7) and Scout Smith (2) claim Cow Town as home. (Konni Smith photo)

Not even the food police can slow them down.

Despite being assessed a 13-point(!) penalty for a player eating an apple in the Evergreen State College gym Saturday, the Whidbey Volleyball Club U18 squad rolled to three wins in as many matches to claim 1st at a tournament.

The club team, which numbers six Coupeville players on its roster – Ashley Menges, Scout Smith, Hannah Davidson, Maya Toomey-Stout, Emma Smith, and Zoe Trujillo – came out hot and never relented.

Whidbey swept the Siva 18 Whites, overcame the penalty to edge the Northshore Juniors in three sets, then whomped on Ignite 18 to claim first in their bracket at the 60-team spiker shindig in Olympia.

“We had a few dips, but overall, played very well,” said Emma Smith. “We came out and took the first match of the morning, which very rarely happens.”

“They did awesome all around!,” said mom Konni Smith. “Hannah was rocking the net, serves were great; great team work, very impressed with all the girls!”

After making the gold bracket at their last tourney, Whidbey U18 is on a roll in the early going of the club season, which, depending on how it plays, could stretch as far as May.

As the season progresses, players and coaches will have to adapt to sometimes strange rules at the many schools they visit.

While some gyms have a stern no-food policy, none of the Wolf players or parents have witnessed such a harsh penalty be inflicted during the many years they have been involved in the sport.

Especially since we’re talking about a freakin’ piece of fruit on the sidelines, and not a meatball sub being devoured at center court.

For his part, the dad of the apple muncher is laying down the law.

“Well, my daughter is a bad apple; she will be disciplined when she gets home,” he said with a big smile. “I’m going to make her eat apple pie with no ice cream!”

Read Full Post »

Payton Aparicio, coming to a Hall o’ Fame near you. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Maybe it was fate.

Payton Aparicio springs from a family rich in sports success, from her parents and grandparents to aunts and uncles and cousins galore.

From the Stuurmans trunk in the middle, to the Bepler and Aparicio branches folding around the base, the ol’ family tree is one of the strongest you will find in Coupeville athletics.

But, as talented as her relatives are, I’m going to go out on my own limb here and say Payton is the best the family has produced.

A soaring star in both volleyball and tennis, who could have been a basketball sensation as well if she hadn’t given up the sport after middle school, Ms. Aparicio is an extremely easy pick for induction into the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame.

So, where that’s where we’re placing her today, as we swing open the doors and welcome her into our lil’ digital institution.

After this, you’ll find her at the top of the blog under the Legends tab, sharing space with dad Mitch.

Payton was somewhat deceptive as an athlete.

I know she worked hard, in practices and games, but she has a rare quality of making every action look effortless.

She was the very definition of smooth, regardless of the sport, almost catching you by surprise when you realized how much of an impact she was having.

And that impact was major.

When Aparicio was named Coupeville High School’s Female Athlete of the Year shortly before graduation last spring, it was a lifetime achievement prize in many ways.

Her senior athletic year had been beyond-solid, but when coaches voted, I am confident they were also looking back at the previous three years.

Remembering her precision, her power, and, this is huge, the manner in which she always carried herself.

Aparicio displayed a quiet confidence, rarely (if ever) appearing shaken by the magnitude of the moment.

Who knows if her brain was yelling madly and bouncing off the walls when she went to serve for a match. If so, she never let us see anything other than a serene, locked-in, spirit.

On the volleyball court, Aparicio could soar to the roof and smash with the best of them, while also being nimble enough to scrape dig after dig off the floor.

Her serving was impeccable, deadly and consistent, and she graduated with the school record for most aces in a single match.

From a freshman who blasted a ball into the rafters at South Whidbey, and got the ball to rest on a beam and never come back down (it may still be up there), to a senior who was team MVP on the first Coupeville squad to go to state in more than a decade, Aparicio was a quiet killer.

Her laser focus, mad skills, and assassin-like demeanor translated beautifully to the tennis court, as well.

From the moment they first stepped on the CHS court as freshmen, she and Sage Renninger were the #1 Wolf doubles duo, and they never, ever let anyone come close to taking their title.

Peppering foe after foe, they mixed precision shot-making with raw power, like when Aparicio pegged a rival with a match-winning shot, inflicting physical and emotional pain with one superbly-placed smash.

The duo ended their tennis, and high school careers, with a 4th place finish at the state tourney, winning three of four matches in the Eastern Washington heat.

Their only loss was a tough three-set affair against a private school duo who went on to win a second-straight title, and no one in the tourney came closer to upending the champs than Aparicio and Renninger.

The 4th place finish was the second-best in CHS tennis history, behind just Mindy Horr and Taniel Lamb’s 2nd place showing in 2005, and it’s fitting all four of those standout netters now share space in the Hall o’ Fame.

When I look back on Payton’s prep sports career, I see talent, I see commitment, I see accomplishment, I see a young woman who always put team first.

What do I see? I see one of the best to ever wear a Wolf uniform, that’s what I see.

Read Full Post »

What do I want to see in 2019? I want to see every Coupeville athlete show the heart Alita Blouin does. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

How best to end 2018? With a story.

It’s one small moment from a year, but it says so much, without a word being spoken aloud.

To set the scene, I will say this — in the world of high school and middle school sports, nothing, and I mean NOTHING, matters as much as heart.

I’m not naive. Talent is huge. Top-level facilities, inspiring coaches, access to quality equipment, all obviously have a major impact.

Camped here in the middle of a rock, which sits in the water, quite a distance from the opportunities enjoyed by big city schools, or Richie Rich private schools, or the combination of both, provides a major hurdle for Coupeville teams and athletes.

It is what it is.

You can complain all day, or you can get working.

And that is where heart comes in.

The best athletes I have witnessed come through Cow Town, the most-successful teams, all have something in common – they do not quit, they do not stop working, and they believe, down deep in their soul, that there is absolutely, positively NO REASON they can’t be the best.

Marlene Grasser to Makana Stone, Bill Riley to Hunter Smith, heart, above all else.

And this is where we come to my year-capping story.

Over the past couple of years, I have been very impressed with the Wolf female athletes who are currently in 8th grade at Coupeville Middle School.

There is talent, desire, and heart to be found in their male counterparts, but this group, which has come up playing together, is something different.

From Maddie Georges to Gwen Gustafson to Hayley Fiedler and beyond, they have an air about them very similar to what the Coupeville High School girls of the late ’90s and early 2000’s had.

That time period is the most successful in CHS female athletic history, and I believe this current crop, especially mixed with the class or two right above and below them, is primed to make their own history.

And one moment, a small, but significant moment during warm-ups, not even in a game, has sealed the deal for me.

Of all the CMS female athletes, Alita “The Assassin” Blouin is the one, who, for me, towers above the field.

She’s not very tall, maybe, but she is quick and, this is where it gets good, every time I have seen her play volleyball or basketball, she carries herself with the look of a young woman who fully intends to beat you, and beat you badly.

Off the court, all smiles, as friendly as anyone, but on the court, she looks like she wants to rip her opponent’s knees off and feed them through a wood chipper.

To which I say, YES.

It’s about dang time a Coupeville athlete didn’t back down at the sight of a fancy uniform, time they expected to win, and win because they had put in the hard work to get there.

Which brings us to our moment.

As CMS went through warm-ups before a volleyball match this season, the 8th grade team started to run laps around the floor.

Blouin, a team captain, was out in front, serious and locked-in. No coasting for her.

At which point, one of her teammates, Lucy Tenore, who is considerably taller than Blouin and has a much-longer stride, started to try and pass her friend.

Blouin would not let it happen.

Tenore, smile growing bigger and bigger, tried a second time, then a third, while Blouin refused to give in.

Legs pumping, elbows at alert, Blouin fended off Tenore at every turn, using three steps to cover the ground Tenore covered in one, all the while with her face locked in a death mask of concentration.

Tenore, fully laughing at this point, finally relented, only to see Blouin kick it up a notch to a sprinter’s run to finish the final curve, one eye looking over her shoulder just in case anyone else wanted to get foolish.

During the match, the duo dazzled, with Blouin popping perfect set-ups for Tenore to reach up and smash. With each winner, they hugged, smacked hands and smiled.

After the match, the two hung out together in the stands, half-sprawled across each other as only teen girls can pull off, laughing and talking, the best of friends.

But the statement had been made — no one, no where, no how, is going to get past Alita Blouin, a relatively small girl with a heart the size of the universe.

I doubt very many people noticed the moment. And if they did, they might not have thought anything of it at the time.

But in that moment, everything I hope to see as a grizzled sports writer, was on display.

As we head into 2019, what do I want for Coupeville sports?

I want every single Wolf athlete, high school and middle school, to attack the day like Alita Blouin does.

Do that, and there’s greatness ahead.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »