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Coupeville’s Dominic Coffman gets crunchy with a South Whidbey runner. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

The disrespect.

The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association released its first RPI numbers for high school football Thursday, and it’s not so much what they did to Coupeville, as what they did to other teams.

The Wolves are 0-2 on the young season after a 42-39 loss to Klahowya and a 33-7 defeat to South Whidbey in a game which was 7-7 until three minutes before halftime.

Coupeville, a 2B school, was playing up in those non-conference games, with both opponents hailing from the 1A classification.

Heading into Friday’s home game against La Conner, the Wolves are ranked #37 out of 43 schools in 2B, with the Braves headed to Whidbey ranked #41.

Friday Harbor, which beat La Conner 63-0 last week, sits at #31, putting all three 2B schools in the Northwest 2B/1B League down near the bottom quarter of the rankings.

With two games against each of their league rivals on the schedule, none of the three are likely to make a major move upward in RPI, even if they run their conference schedule.

Which is fine and dandy, as RPI — Ratings Percentage Index — doesn’t mean a whole lot.

It’s one of the factors the state’s seeding committees will take into consideration when they set the brackets for the state playoffs.

And, if you’re one of the final 16 teams in your classification, you really won’t care what your RPI was. You just care you’re still playing.

But, with the first football rankings out, and volleyball and soccer coming next week, it is kind of funny to look at a couple of things.

My alma mater, defending 2A state champ Tumwater, is currently ranked #13, and, if you believe there are 12 better teams than the T-Birds, you might want to have your head examined.

THS is being punished, somewhat, because its most recent game was an OT thriller against Oregon’s defending 6A champs, and the WIAA’s RPI doesn’t give full credit for out-of-state foes.

On a note which hits closer to home, I’m sure Klahowya will be thrilled to note it is listed in the RPI as Central Kitsap Middle School.

I mean, back when Coupeville and Klahowya played together in the 1A Olympic League, I was sorta, kinda disrespectful of the Eagles sometimes. Or so their fans were quick to tell me.

But come on man, I never once referred to them as a middle school.

Such disrespect…

 

To see the complete first edition of the WIAA’s RPI rankings, pop over to:

https://wiaa.com/DirRPIz14.aspx?SecID=1185

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Embrace your mask, Wolf fans. It’s staying, at least for indoor events. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

As the Delta variant of COVID-19 dominates the news, fans will still have to wear masks at some games, but most high school athletes won’t.

That’s the quick take-away from new regulations released Wednesday night by the Washington State Department of Health.

Under the guidelines, masks won’t be required for athletes, regardless of vaccination status, in any outdoor sports or “moderate-contact” indoor sports such as volleyball.

The only sport Coupeville High School plays which is considered a “high-contact” indoor sport is basketball.

Unless things change by the time winter rolls around, hardwood players can still escape the use of masks if they are vaccinated, or agree to regular testing.

Cheer, which is considered “a high aerosol-generating activity” has similar requirements to basketball — athletes can go mask-less if fully-vaccinated, or they participate in testing.

Screening testing for unvaccinated athletes who want to compete without a mask must be performed twice weekly, using a molecular or antigen test.

Masks will be required for everyone in weight rooms, however, regardless of vaccination status, and physical distancing must be practiced.

The DOH terms weight rooms “high-risk indoor settings,” saying “they are often poorly ventilated, crowded and used by athletes from sports of multiple contact levels, as well as PE students.”

While most athletes won’t be required to wear masks during competition, they will continue to do so on bus trips.

Schools are required to follow the CDC order for “all riders and drivers to wear a mask on buses or other public transportation, regardless of vaccination status.”

Masks are recommended for indoor practices, and during competition, will be required for “all coaches, athletic trainers, and other support personnel in K-12 settings, regardless of vaccination status.”

Referees will get some leeway this school year.

If they are fully-vaccinated, refs do not need to wear masks when “actively officiating” indoors, but must pop them back on in down times, such as talking with coaches, or between quarters.

Unvaccinated referees must wear face coverings at all times when officiating, unless they participate in screening testing.

Last, but not least, all spectators attending indoor K-12 sporting activities, regardless of vaccination status, have to mask up.

Audience members should be seated in “family units,” according to DOH regs, and those small groups should be spaced at least three feet apart.

That seems to imply fans will only be required to wear masks for volleyball and basketball, and not for soccer, cross country, football, tennis, softball, baseball, and track.

Though, as with all things pandemic, things can and likely will change at a moment’s notice.

Stay tuned.

 

To peruse the complete “K-12 COVID-19 Requirements for the 2021-2022 School Year,” pop over to:

Click to access 820-105-K12Schools2021-2022.pdf

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Catherine Lhamon zips through the flowers on her way to another cross country win. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Lhamon, here with family, was named a WIAA Athlete of the Week.

They appreciate her. They really appreciate her.

Coupeville High School senior Catherine Lhamon, who won all four of her cross country races, including the Northwest 2B/1B League Championships, was named an Athlete of the Week Thursday by the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association.

The WIAA honors one male and one female athlete from each classification (4A-1B).

Lhamon, who is the lone senior on the CHS cross country squad, has been at the forefront of the sport since the Wolves returned to the harrier life in 2018.

She advanced to the state meet as a junior, and was dominant during a pandemic-altered final campaign.

Three of Lhamon’s four victories this season were by more than a minute, with her win in the league championship meet by a full minute-and-a-half.

 

To read about Lhamon and the other winners, pop over to:

WIAA | Washington Interscholastic Activities Association

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Coupeville sophomores such as Gwen Gustafson are eligible to apply for a leadership position with the WIAA. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Give Coupeville a voice.

The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association is accepting applications through May 31 to fill eight spots on its LEAP (Leadership through Education, Activities, and Personal Development) committee.

To apply you need to be a current high school sophomore, and, if selected, you will serve two years spanning your junior (2021-2022) and senior (2022-2023) years.

The LEAP committee meets 5-6 times per school year, with students also having a chance to be involved in WIAA Executive Board meetings.

Whidbey Island has had one representative since the program began in 2009, with South Whidbey’s Megan Drake part of the class of 2017.

Why apply?

Because selection to the committee will look really, really good on your resume as you apply for college.

Because you can’t let the fancy-dancy Seattle schools have all the spots on a committee which directly impacts 225,000 participants in athletics and activities.

And because you need to give me something to write about, after a Cow Town student breaks the glass ceiling.

Mostly the last one.

So go fill out an online application and submit a short personal statement on video today.

 

Apply here:

WIAA | Washington Interscholastic Activities Association

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When high school sports contests return Thursday, athletes like Coupeville’s Ryanne Knoblich will be wearing masks, along with coaches, fans, and refs. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

It’s up to you.

And me.

And all of us.

In less than 24 hours, the grand experiment starts up in Coupeville, just as it has started in other cities across Washington state.

High school athletic contests, pitting the Wolves against other schools, return for the first time in a year-plus, even as we continue to wade through an active pandemic.

For a lot of people, it is the light at the end of the tunnel — something to inspire and invigorate students, something to give them hope again.

For others, it is a foolhardy decision.

I’m not here to debate politics with you, to argue over charts and “experts,” and which “experts” you each personally choose to believe or discount.

That’s between you and your family, but mainly you and yourself.

What I am here to do is to try and amplify a point raised Wednesday by Washington Interscholastic Activities Association Executive Director Mick Hoffman.

And that point, that plea is this — if you want high school sports to remain active, and expand further, there is no debate for athletes, coaches, refs, or fans.

WEAR YOUR MASK!!

You can like it, you can hate it, you can agree with it, you can scorn those in Governor Jay Inslee’s office who have mandated masks for everyone involved in prep sports.

Cause your personal beliefs don’t matter at this moment.

Wear your mask, or this will all go away as quickly as it returns.

That is a stone cold fact.

This is not me saying so.

This is not Hoffman saying so.

This is the people who actually decide the fate of athletics in our state saying so, in very precise words.

“If people don’t wear masks, there will be consequences, trust me,” is what Hoffman reported state officials saying.

It’s simple.

Inslee’s people, the State Department of Health, and news outlets have been bombarded in the last few days with photos of athletes, coaches, and fans not wearing masks, or trying to pull a fast one by having their mask out of place.

There are those who do not want high school athletics to be played right now, and they are out there, ready to capture photographic proof to back their belief that people won’t act responsibly.

They are coming hard, and Hoffman is pleading with everyone who wants prep sports to remain active, from athletic directors down to parents, to come equally as hard.

“(If it continues), they’re gonna shut us down, and it’s not just the schools that are being reported. It’s all of us,” he said during Wednesday’s WIAA broadcast.

Coupeville track and field returns to action Thursday at home, hosting a five-team meet which will be restricted to athletes, timers, and officials.

Wolf baseball and softball play at home Saturday, with girls tennis hitting the CHS courts Monday.

All three of those latter events are open to fans who adhere to two requests — wear masks and socially distance.

The same goes for athletes, coaches, umps, and refs.

After a year of bitching and complaining, of justifiably being sad and scared, of not knowing if, or when, any semblance of normalcy would return, we are being handed a chance.

And all we have to do is follow one simple request.

The choice is yours, it is mine, it is all of ours.

We can rise above our differences, and work together, or we can splinter off into a million different directions, and kill something good before it gets a chance to thrive.

I’m not asking you to change your mind, to believe in something if you don’t want to, or to accept one person as the final and total authority on infectious diseases and how they’re spread.

You are an independent person in a country where you’re born with the right to hold your own beliefs. So be it.

But frankly, wearing a mask for two hours at a game so your kid, who is also wearing a mask, gets to play softball again, and not be stuck in their bedroom 24/7, doesn’t seem like much to ask.

We’re all going to make our own decision, in the end.

As someone who makes 37 cents an hour (if I’m lucky) writing about sports, I hope that our town embraces what we’re being offered, and makes a small sacrifice.

Coupeville can be part of the argument in favor of sports returning, or it can be part of the argument against.

If you choose the former, thank you.

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