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In her final home game, four-year varsity vet Lindsey Roberts torched Sultan for 16 points in a Coupeville playoff win. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

The end of the road is always there, and no one can avoid it forever.

When the Coupeville High School girls basketball squad was eliminated from the playoffs Thursday, it capped the prep hoops career for three Wolf seniors.

And while Ema Smith and Nicole Laxton played with pride, hustle, and grit, always, honoring themselves and their program, it’s hard to argue the third departing player won’t leave the biggest hole.

Lindsey Roberts was that rare player who played varsity basketball, and never as a bench-warmer, from day one to her finale.

She was a key contributor as a freshman on a team which went to state, led Coupeville in scoring as both a junior and senior, and helped the Wolves win two league titles and narrowly miss out on a third.

It’s easy to spotlight points, since that’s the most concrete stat we have, and, hey, the team who scores most wins the game.

In that respect, Roberts goes down as one of the greats, finishing with 448 points, tied with Vanessa Davis for #18 on the CHS girls career scoring chart.

One less injury here, a few more playoff games there, and she might have been the 14th Wolf girl to crack 500 points.

But I think the fact she didn’t reach 500 almost marks Roberts as a better player.

She was always willing to do whatever was necessary for team success, and fit her game to mesh with those around her.

Need her to rebound? To defend?

To sprint the floor and haul in full-court baseball passes from Sarah Wright?

To look for her teammates with crisp, effective feeds?

She was your go-to girl.

Lou played a complete game, always, and her points were a bonus.

While she could be your give-me-the-ball Michael Jordan, which she showed in several big-time performances including this year’s home playoff game against Sultan, she was also willing to be Scottie Pippen.

That is a rare quality, and one which truly marks Roberts as one of the best Wolves hoops fans have witnessed.

A young Roberts welcomes teammate Lauren Grove to the floor for a game in which a win sent the Wolves to state.

Her freshman year, she ran the floor with senior Makana Stone, who was wrapping up a career in which she scored 1,158 points, third-most in school history.

After that, Roberts shared the ball with gunners like Kailey Kellner (#30 all-time on the girls scoring chart), Mia Littlejohn (#35), Ema Smith (#48), and Mikayla Elfrank (#49).

A lot of their buckets? Set up by Roberts crashing the boards, hustling down floor to create mismatches for the defense, and looking for an open teammate to feed when her own shot wasn’t there.

The Wolf teams Roberts played for achieved success in great part because she was a rock.

She didn’t scream or holler, at least that I could ever see from my perch in the stands, but she had an air about her which made other players gravitate to her side.

Perhaps it’s because she learned while shadowing Stone, the most serene superstar I have ever written about.

Roberts was remarkably similar to her close friend, leading by example, NEVER showing up her teammates, always embracing them.

Lou being Lou.

I’ve known Lindsey’s extended family for a very long time, even working with her aunt, Stephanie, for many years at Videoville, and have seen Lou grow from a precocious young child into a confident young woman, on and off the court.

That being said, I probably have exchanged a mere handful of words with her over the years.

I already feel like I’m invading the lives of the teenage athletes I cover just by writing about them all the time, and hesitate to infringe more than that.

But there are times when you want to say something a little more, and, since I struggle with social interaction, using writing is much easier.

There’s still much more ahead for Roberts.

Track season, should better weather ever arrive, is where Lindsey truly dominates.

After that comes college (she’s Wazzu-bound, cause she’s too smart to waste time at U-Dub) and what will likely be many, many years of success in the real world.

High school sports, while they have been important to her, are just a small stepping stone as Roberts conquers the world.

But, as she moves forward from one well-earned highlight to another, I just want to say thanks.

Basketball is my favorite sport, so while Roberts has also stood tall in soccer and wowed the crowds in track, her hoops exploits have always been the first to catch my attention.

From a chipper freshman to a seasoned senior, she wore her uniform with pride, honoring her family, her school, her town, and most of all, herself.

Others with deeper knowledge of the intricacies of the sport can break down for you how Roberts, and her game, truly compares to other Wolf greats.

But, while many writers settle for facts, I have based my entire scribbling career more on emotion.

Write the legend, build the myth, celebrate the extraordinary.

Even as I am almost completely sure she would roll her eyes at being told in person she was extraordinary, that’s what Roberts has been every step of the way during her hoops career.

I hope she enjoyed her four years on the floor as much as those of us who watched her play did.

Players come and go, and a few, a very few, burn brightly enough where we can honestly say they won’t be forgotten.

Lou is forever.

Off to state! Roberts was the last active player from this 2016 photo.

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   Luke Pelant (left), hangs out with coach Paul Mendes during the 2013 CHS boys soccer awards banquet. (Photo by Robert Pelant)

One by one, the former Wolves return.

Luke Pelant is the latest Coupeville High School grad to return to his alma mater, only this time as a coach and not a player.

He is joining the boys soccer team as an assistant coach to Kyle Nelson, in a move which will be official when the School Board gives its approval.

Pelant had an illustrious soccer career at CHS, capped by a senior season in 2013, when he was a captain, was named the team’s MVP and was tabbed as an All-League player by Cascade Conference coaches.

He also received the US Army Reserve National Scholar/Athlete Award that year.

After high school, Pelant attended Washington State University, where he studied marketing.

During his time as a Wolf, he played for legendary soccer coach Paul Mendes, an international pitch star who capped his career in Coupeville.

A leader during his time on the field for the Wolves, Pelant is looking forward to helping shape a new generation of players.

“I just love the game so much,” he said. “I want to be around it more and hopefully bring more players to love it as much as I do.”

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Samantha Shulock (John Fisken photo)

   OHHS grad Samantha Shulock has been hired as an assistant girls soccer coach at Coupeville High School. (John Fisken photo)

Coupeville High School’s newest soccer coach vividly remembers what it was like to be a player.

“I still have the players perspective fresh in my mind and can make that connection between coach and player,” said Samantha Shulock.

The 2008 Oak Harbor grad, who went on to play college ball after high school, has joined Troy Cowan’s staff as an assistant this year.

She replaces Nicholas Dziminowicz, who departed after a year in the position to focus full-time on his work with premier teams through Northwest United.

Shulock, who made her Wolf debut Thursday during a four-team jamboree on her old field at Oak Harbor’s Wildcat Memorial Stadium, played for 15 years.

After hanging up the purple and gold at OHHS, she went on to play two years at Skagit Valley College, then wrapped her career with a stint on the women’s club soccer team at Washington State University.

Back on Whidbey, she couldn’t resist the siren call of the pitch.

“I recently moved to Coupeville and saw this as the best opportunity to stay involved in soccer,” Shulock said. “Overall I’m here for the girls.

“My goal is they feel like they played the best season they could have and continue to learn about the game.”

She’ll work with the players on both sides of the ball, though says “defense has always been my comfort zone.”

One lesson she’ll try and pass on is how important it is for each Wolf to rely on the player next to them.

“This is a team sport; support is key,” Shulock said. “Any game is meant to be fun and if you want to take it to the next level you need to make sure it makes you happy every time you step onto the field with your teammates.”

As the Wolves prep for their regular-season opener (Sept. 8 at home vs. South Whidbey), their newest coach is counting down the days.

“I’m excited to be a part of it,” Shulock said. “I see myself in a lot of the girls and hope I’m a positive influence on each one.

“I’m coming in completely from the outside with no ties to this community,” she added. “My best wishes are always with the girls and their families and that every soccer experience is a positive one.”

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Megan Meyer (right) is joine dby fellow Hall o' Fame inductees (top to bottom) Bob Barker, Arik Garthwaite, Corinne Gaddis and Noah Roehl.

   Megan Meyer (right) is joined by fellow Hall o’ Fame inductees (top to bottom) Bob Barker, Arik Garthwaite, Corinne Gaddis and Noah Roehl.

Old school and new school meet.

The five-person group headed into the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame today, the 37th class inducted into these hallowed digital walls, is a mix of different generations.

But one thing links the three men and two women who, after this, will be found at the top of the blog under the Legends tab.

They all had a sizable impact on AND off the field. And continue to do so.

So, with that, we formally welcome Corinne Gaddis, Noah Roehl, Arik Garthwaite, Megan Meyer and Bob Barker.

We kick things off with Garthwaite, who is being honored for his play on the hardwood.

One of the most dominant scoring machines CHS has ever seen, he was a four-year varsity player, topping 100+ points in every season, capped by an eye-popping 423 as a senior.

That’s the second-best single-season mark put up by a Wolf boy in the past 25 years, and, by the time he was done, Garthwaite had scorched the nets for 867 points in his stellar career.

Not bad for a guy who actually focused more on the other side of the court.

“Defense and yelling at the refs were my strong suits,” he once told me with a laugh.

As a junior he helped the Wolves get off to a 12-0 start, then delivered even more fireworks a year later.

During Garthwaite’s senior season in 1997-1998, he blitzed Mount Vernon Christian for 32 and helped Coupeville upend powerhouse King’s in an upset he still treasures.

A gym rat during his days as a Wolf — “Pete (Petrov) had a key to the gym and he and I would play there at night quite a bit. The janitor was pretty cool about it.” — he still remembers what it was like to make the joint rock.

“That gym was electric when we played and always packed,” he said. “I talked to a few guys on each team that we played against and that was always the first thing they mentioned. It was just SO loud, they would say.”

Our second inductee, Roehl, is being honored for his play — he was a standout football and basketball player who took home a CHS Male Athlete of the Year award — but also for the work he has done since graduation.

Keeping alive the memory and work of his father, the late Tom Roehl, Noah has been the driving force behind his family’s charity work.

Through their popular football and basketball alumni games, the family has raised funds for college scholarships year after year and kept a great man’s legacy rolling.

While everyone in the Roehl family chips in, it is Noah who is the face of the franchise and makes things hum.

His dad would be very proud.

Up next are Gaddis and Meyer, two highly accomplished, supremely sweet-natured young women who continue to wow the world every day.

Injuries were the only thing which could slow the fleet-footed Gaddis down (she still finished 8th at the 1A state meet in the long jump and 6th in the 4 x 100 as a sophomore), but they also gave her a larger purpose.

Once she left Cow Town for that other rural chunk of land, Pullman, she aced her way through her days at Wazzu, becoming an athletic trainer and being chosen as a highlighted student during commencement.

These days, she’s helping athletes of all ages and talents, spreading the gospel of Gaddis everywhere she goes, epic grin greeting everyone she meets — perfect proof you can be awesome in high school and somehow find a way to still ramp it up afterwards.

Her path is sort of similar to Meyer, who, for me at least, will always be the little girl who we used to stick in the rolling cart that we parked under the drop slot at Videoville.

And yes, she would grab people’s hands as they dropped their movie in the slot, and yes, it was glorious.

Once she hit high school, Meggie Moo was a tennis player and a cheerleader, and it’s the latter, where she was a captain when CHS was a competition cheer squad, that earns her entry to the hall.

After high school, however, is where the stupendous Miss Meyer has shone most brightly, though, bopping around the globe, a world traveler who has spent most of her time abroad helping others.

I worked at Videoville for 12+ years, from Megan’s first day of preschool until her sophomore year of high school, and there has never been a moment, then or now, when she was not one of my favorite people in the universe.

She is one of the most genuinely lovable people I have ever known. Her mere presence causes the heavens to open, the sun to shine and small animals to dance with little children.

Seriously.

That’s sort of the reaction most of Barker’s former athletes have when you bring him up.

During his time at CHS, he put in 31+ years, working as a teacher, coach (boys and girls basketball and baseball) and athletic director.

Along the way he guided the 1969-1970 Wolf boys to the first district title ever won by a Whidbey Island hoops team, then took that team to state, another first in program history.

He coached some of the most talented athletes in school history — Jeff Stone, Corey Cross, Marlene Grasser, Sherry Bonacci and Jennie Cross just to name a few — but is revered for treating all of his players equally.

And more so, for being the kind of coach who truly impacted lives far beyond the athletic stage.

Bonacci, who grew up to marry fellow Athlete of the Year Jon Roberts and produce a daughter (Lindsey) who is right on track to duplicate her parents feat, speaks for many of Barker’s former students and players.

“He is AMAZING!! ️Neatest man ever … all-around amazing! LOVE HIM!!,” Sherry Roberts said. “He is truly one of those three or four people in my life who have had the greatest impact on me.

“I would truly not be who I am today without his help and guidance and belief in me. What a wonderful man!!”

Sounds like a Hall of Famer to me.

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Haley Marx (left)

Haley Marx (left), still smilin’ at Wazzu.

With dad Steve.

With dad Steve.

Haley Marx puts sunshine in the world.

The former Coupeville High School athlete (a team captain in both soccer and basketball), Homecoming royalty and Senior Class President was rarely without her smile.

Through big wins and tough losses Marx remained as upbeat as they come. The smile never flickered and it always seemed very genuine.

Her teammates gravitated to her and she never shied away from being a leader, on or off the court.

Supremely sweet to all around her, yet tough as steel in the heat of athletic battle, she remains one of my favorites of recent years.

Haley was always easy to root for during her time in the red and black, and I doubt anything has changed.

These days she’s repping Wazzu colors and turns the big 2-0 today.

Marx may be gone from Cow Town, at least for the moment, but she’s never forgotten.

Happy birthday, Haley! May your special day be as awesome as you are.

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