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Coupeville High School/Middle School Athletic Director Willie Smith strides into a new school year. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

A new school year approaches in Coupeville, and the word of the day is optimism.

Back in his office after tearing up the golf course over the summer break, Wolf Athletic Director Willie Smith likes what he sees.

A few thoughts from the head man himself as we roll into the future:

I’m pretty excited!

We begin our second year in the North Sound Conference, and, after last year, I just feel like we are on the cusp of making some significant strides throughout our entire athletic program.

We went into last year with some trepidation, not really knowing how we’d fare against a group of schools that, traditionally, were stronger across the board from our prior league, the Olympic League.

We had a new football coach, a rekindled cross country program, a new superintendent, and quite honestly, a lot of questions within our programs and athletes.

Could we compete, at a high level, each week?

How do we deal with the adversity that a stronger league presents?

Can our struggling programs grow or will the competition be too great and we regress?

I can honestly answer that we not only rose to the challenge of our new league, but in many instances, we shone.

We won a league championship in softball (and went to state), had two coaches of the year, 20+ first or second team All-League players, a multiple state champion in track, and qualified for district tournament play in all but two team sports.

Every varsity/JV sport but one earned a 3.0 or higher team GPA, and our athletes put on a sports clinic for the elementary school that was attended by grades 3-5, and they did the coaching, planning and implementation!

So did we make a mark last year? Yes we did.

As we begin fall practice this week with high school football kicking off Wednesday and the remaining high school sports starting Monday, August 26, I’ve been asked by quite a few members of our community, what can we expect this year?

Our football team is playing an independent schedule, we have new head coaches in cross country (Luke Samford) and girls basketball (Scott Fox), we’ve lost our middle school football program, but have gained a middle school boys soccer program.

So, where are we at?

First off, we had an amazing summer turnout with our athletes and coaches.

We had programs that went to camps and tournaments (boys and girls basketball, volleyball, football, and cheer), youth clinics hosted by our coaches and athletes, team weight room sessions that were well attended, and our football program volunteered to paint the Boys and Girls Club thanks to the efforts of coach Bobby Carr.

Our football program that is struggling?

It had 11-12 freshmen turn out this summer, and 20-25 kids attending camps and weight room sessions.

Head Coach Marcus Carr did a national podcast extolling the work ethic, pride, and sense of community that is Coupeville.

Where are we? Well I don’t know where you’re at, but I’m pretty dang excited!

I really feel like we have made some pretty incredible strides over the last two years.

Our coaching staff is great; they are committed, knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and very high character men and women.

Our athletes have shown a renewed commitment and I couldn’t be more proud of our leaders who paved the way for our teams this summer, both by example and in dedication.

Without a doubt, there are challenges, always are, but I really feel like our athletic program, from top to bottom, is in a place that we haven’t been in for a long time.

It is about character, competing, respect, responsibility and commitment, and regardless of the outcome, our kids will come out way ahead of others because they are embracing all of those.

So yes, I’m excited about that!

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Ja’Kenya Hoskins and other CHS track stars get to compete at home during the Bi-District meet Thursday and Saturday. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Willie Smith is in the eye of the hurricane right now, with potential storms raging on all sides.

The Coupeville High School Athletic Director is being pulled in 20,000 different directions, as he and his school prepare to host two Bi-District track meets wrapped into one giant Trackageddon Thursday and Saturday.

CHS welcomes 22 other schools to Mickey Clark Field, as District 1 and 2 clash in both 1A and 2B meets.

The last stop before the state meet, it’s nirvana for track and field fans, and a chance for Coupeville to establish itself as a go-to place for big events, but also two days full of 1,001 logistical issues.

As Willie works his magic, what you need to know:

 

What:

1A and 2B Bi-District track meets.

In 1A, where Coupeville competes, District 1 is represented by the North Sound Conference and Northwest Conference, while District 2 is repped by the Emerald City League.

 

When:

May 16, 18

 

Where:

Coupeville Elementary School, located at 6 S. Main.

 

What’s at stake:

Top four finishers in each event advance to state.

 

Admission per day:

Adults and students without ASB — $7.00
Students with ASB, children and seniors — $5.00
Preschool children (with paying adult) – Free

 

Available food and drink?:

CHS concession stand, just a few steps from the track oval, will be open both days. Sales benefit the Class of 2020.

For other food stuff, the Coupeville Country Store (quickie mart) is a shot put throw away from CES, while Prairie Center Red Apple Market (grocery store) is just a couple blocks down the street.

 

Who’s coming?

According to athletic.net:

 

1B:

Crescent

 

2B:

Concrete
Crosspoint
Friday Harbor
La Conner
Seattle Lutheran

 

1A:

Bear Creek
Bush
Cedar Park Christian
Coupeville
Eastside Prep
Granite Falls
King’s
Lynden Christian
Meridian
Mount Baker
Nooksack Valley
Northwest
Seattle Academy
South Whidbey
Sultan
University Prep

 

What’s the schedule?

All events with ** after them are finals. Others are prelims. Start times may shift if things get backed-up.

 

Thursday:

3:30 – 1A – Boys – Javelin (followed by girls) **
3:30 – 1A – Boys – Triple Jump **
3:30 – 1A – Girls – Discus **
3:30 – 1A – Boys – High Jump (followed by girls) **
3:30 – 1A – Girls – Long Jump **
4:00 – 2B – Boys – 1600 **
4:10 – 2B – Girls – 1600 **
4:20 – 1A – Girls – 4 x 200 Relay
4:30 – 1A – Boys – 1600 **
4:40 – 1A – Girls – 1600 **
4:50 – 1A – Boys – 110 Hurdles
5:00 – 1A – Girls – 100 Hurdles
5:10 – 1A – Boys – 100
5:20 – 1A – Girls – 100
5:30 – 1A – Boys – 4 x 100 Relay
5:30 – 1A – Boys – Shot Put **
5:40 – 1A – Girls – 4 x 100 Relay
5:50 – 1A – Boys – 400
6:00 – 1A – Girls – 400
6:10 – 1A – Boys – 300 Hurdles
6:20 – 1A – Girls – 300 Hurdles
6:30 – 1A – Boys – 800
6:40 – 1A – Girls – 800
6:50 – 1A – Boys – 200
7:00 – 1A – Girls – 200
7:10 – 1A – Boys – 4 x 400 Relay
7:20 – 1A – Girls – 4 x 400 Relay

 

Saturday:

11:30 – 2B – Girls – Javelin (followed by boys) **
11:30 – 1A – Boys – Long Jump **
11:30 – 1A – Girls – Shot Put **
11:30 – 1A – Girls – Triple Jump **
11:30 – 1A – Girls – Pole Vault (followed by boys) **
11:30 – 1A – Boys – Discus **
11:30 – 2B – Boys – Shot Put (followed by girls) **
11:30 – 2B – Girls – Discus (followed by boys) **
11:50 – 2B – Girls – 4 x 200 Relay **
12:00 – 1A – Girls – 4 x 200 Relay **
12:05 – 2B – Boys – 110 Hurdles **
12:10 – 1A – Boys – 110 Hurdles **
12:15 – 2B – Girls – 100 Hurdles **
12:20 – 1A – Girls – 100 Hurdles **
12:25 – 2B – Boys – 100 **
12:30 – 1A – Boys – 100 **
12:35 – 2B – Girls – 100 **
12:40 – 1A – Girls – 100 **
12:45 – 2B – Boys – 800 **
12:50 – 1A – Boys – 800 **
12:55 – 2B – Girls – 800 **
1:00 – 1A – Girls – 800 **
1:05 – 2B – Boys – 4 x 100 Relay **
1:10 – 1A – Boys – 4 x 100 Relay **
1:15 – 2B – Girls – 4 x 100 Relay **
1:20 – 1A – Girls – 4 x 100 Relay **
1:25 – 2B – Boys – 400 **
1:30 – 1A – Boys – 400 **
1:30 – 2B – Boys – Long Jump (followed by girls) **
1:30 – 2B – Girls – Triple Jump (followed by boys) **
1:35 – 2B – Girls – 400 **
1:40 – 1A – Girls – 400 **
1:45 – 2B – Boys – 3200 **
2:00 – 2B – Girls – 3200 **
2:00 – 2B – Boys – High Jump (followed by girls) **
2:00 – 2B – Girls – Pole Vault (followed by boys) **
2:15 – 2B – Boys – 300 Hurdles **
2:20 – 1A – Boys – 300 Hurdles **
2:25 – 2B – Girls – 300 Hurdles **
2:30 – 1A – Girls – 300 Hurdles **
2:35 – 2B – Boys – 200 **
2:40 – 1A – Boys – 200 **
2:45 – 2B – Girls – 200 **
2:50 – 1A – Girls – 200 **
2:55 – 1A – Boys – 3200 **
3:10 – 1A – Girls – 3200 **
3:25 – 2B – Boys – 4 x 400 Relay **
3:30 – 1A – Boys – 4 x 400 Relay **
3:35 – 2B – Girls – 4 x 400 Relay **
3:40 – 1A – Girls – 4 x 400 Relay **
4:00 – Willie Smith goes and takes a nap … or has a stiff drink … or both

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Sean Toomey-Stout and teammates will play an independent, non-league schedule this fall, one of several changes for the Coupeville High School and Middle School football programs. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

There are big changes coming to Coupeville’s high school and middle school football programs.

Wolf Athletic Director Willie Smith released the following letter Thursday to address the new direction, and he and the CHS coaching staff, led by Marcus Carr, will host a public meeting to follow up.

That meeting is 6:30 PM Wednesday, May 29 in the CHS Commons.

Smith’s letter:

I would like to take this opportunity to go over the state of our middle and high school football programs and hopefully, address some concerns and questions that our students and community may have.

Our middle school football program has ended; and while many may think that’s a bad thing, I actually see it as an opportunity.

More and more, the direction that youth football is moving is in a direction we’d like to pursue as a school.

The NFL, WIAA (governing body of interscholastic activities/athletics in Washington), and many current and former football players are all moving to a new youth program which we are excited to pursue: flag football.

The beauty of flag football is that we can get all kids out, regardless of size, ability or gender.

It takes away the stigma of contact and pigeon-holing kids into positions based on size or skill level.

Each kid gets an opportunity to play every position: quarterback, receiver, lineman, etc.

We want boys and girls playing and we are looking to start this program, grades 3-8 by next fall.

It is a great lead-up game to tackle football and kids get to learn football without worrying about getting tackled or put in a position just because they are big or small.

At Coupeville High School, we have seen a dramatic decline of participation over the past 7-8 years.

While some of this can be attributed to the concussion element, I believe it is also due to the lack of a consistent football coaching staff during that time.

The constant coming and goings of our head coaches has led to an uncertainty, apathy, and non-interest in the program.

However, I truly believe that our head coach, Marcus Carr, and his staff are committed to rebuilding our program and see it come back to the healthy, strong program it once was.

In part, this is why I’m writing this article: Coach Carr and I want our community to come to meet him and his staff, learn more about them as community members as well as learn about their commitment level, philosophies, and coaching methods.

We have taken two big steps, in our minds, to help address the safety concerns of our community.

First, I appealed to and was allowed by our current league, the North Sound Conference, to pursue an independent football schedule rather than participate in our league.

I did this based on the fact that we have low numbers and a young group of returning players.

As I stated earlier, the safety of our kids is paramount in our scheduling of games and Coach Carr and I truly believe that moving to an independent schedule was vital in beginning to revitalize our program.

I have been able to create a full schedule, weeks 1-9, with teams that are going through what we are, are smaller schools (or new programs), and will provide our kids with an opportunity to be successful each and every game.

It is not an easy schedule; we are not throwing in the towel on our kids or program, and it will require our kids to work in the off-season, and be committed just like any other season.

It is a great opportunity for our kids and community to feel success in a program that needs to feel success and in spite of our low numbers and youth, has a genuine chance at being a very good football team.

Secondly, we have purchased (thanks to a generous donation by the Coupeville Booster Club) an item that we believe, will add some safety and peace of mind for our program.

It is a product called Guardian Caps and is a shell that goes over the helmet and has shown to help in the reduction of concussions.

In researching this product, and I want be completely clear, it does not, nor can any product, guarantee 100% protection against concussions or head injuries.

It does, however, offer added protection to the head, especially when hitting the ground.

We will be using these during our practices, and in discussion with Bremerton High School who used them this past fall, it did help with kids’ confidence as the season progressed.

They have been shown to reduce the number of concussions in a season, which is what drew us to the product, and they are used by a number of colleges, high schools, and youth programs throughout the nation.

Coach Carr, his staff, and I would like to invite the community, parents, students, and any other interested parties to a meeting on Wednesday May 29 at 6:30 in the High School Commons.

You will get to ask questions of our football staff and myself, learn more about how our football staff instructs tackling and blocking, as well as learn about the training they receive in order to become a football coach.

 

2019 CHS football schedule:

Friday, Sept. 6 — Port Townsend (6 PM)
Friday, Sept. 13 — @ Vashon Island (6 PM)
Friday, Sept. 20 — @ Friday Harbor (6:30 PM)
Friday, Sept. 27 — La Conner (7 PM)
Saturday, Oct. 5 — @ Kittitas (3 PM)
Friday, Oct. 11 — @ Northwest Christian (Lacey) (7 PM)
Friday, Oct. 18 — South Whidbey (7 PM)
Friday, Oct. 25 — Anacortes (TBD)
Friday, Nov. 1 — @ Interlake (7 PM)

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The middle school hoops schedule has been ripped up, leaving 8th grade players like Carolyn Lhamon with less games than expected. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Never write anything down in ink.

Exactly a week before Coupeville Middle School girls basketball players begin practice for a new season, their entire schedule has been blown up.

League athletic directors had to make the change after discovering several schools wouldn’t be able to field teams at all levels.

King’s Junior High, which CMS was originally scheduled to play twice, will not have an 8th grade team. Northshore Christian also won’t have an 8th grade squad, or a JV team for that matter.

After some fiddling, Coupeville Athletic Director Willie Smith and his compatriots have pieced together a new schedule which will work, though be unbalanced.

The Wolves plan to field a 7th grade varsity, an 8th grade varsity and one combined team for JV play.

Under the new schedule, the only CMS team to still have a complete 10-game schedule is the 7th grade varsity.

The JV will sit out against Northshore, while the 8th grade varsity is left with just eight games.

It could have gone as low as seven, but AD’s shaved off Coupeville’s second game against King’s and replaced it with a second game against Lakewood.

The new, we’re pretty sure this is real, schedule:

 

Tues-Feb. 5 — South Whidbey
Thur-Feb. 7 — @Lakewood
Tues-Feb. 12 — @Granite Falls
Thur-Feb. 14 — King’s (**No 8th grade varsity**)
Wed-Feb. 20 — @Sultan
Thur-Feb. 21 — @Northshore Christian (**7th varsity only**)
Tues-Feb. 26 — Granite Falls
Thur-Mar. 5 — @South Whidbey
Tues-Mar. 12 — Lakewood
Thur-Mar. 14 — Sultan

 

All home games tip at 3:15 PM.

Mondays and Tuesdays, the 7th grade varsity plays first, followed by a two-quarter JV game, then the 8th grade varsity.

Wednesdays and Thursdays, 8th grade varsity plays first, then JV, then 7th grade varsity.

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“Yes, David, I would love to read your zine if you fax it to me daily…” Spoiler: The fax was promptly unplugged. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Guys, guys … guys! I’m sorry, but no betting on high school golf this year.

However, every other sport appears to be, at least, technically, wide open to side wagers.

So … who’s got a few bucks to lay down on how many dingers Sarah Wright hits on the softball field this spring?

After wading through all 58 pages of the North Sound Conference handbook, one thought bubbles to the surface.

Are those country club prodigies really so quick to swap sweet moola after every putt, that the rules-makers felt it necessary to specifically prohibit gambling on golf, and just golf?

Oh yeah, and the Wild West is truly dead.

The new six-team 1A league, which claims Coupeville, Cedar Park Christian, Sultan, King’s, South Whidbey and Granite Falls, seems dead set on being all above board and proper.

Killjoys.

I mean, they’re going to insist fans wear shirts, face paint and masks are banned, and don’t even think about bringing artificial noisemakers or vintage “Free Hayley Newman” signs to games this year.

What’s next? We all have to wear pants, too?

But I digress.

Anyway, the new league’s motto is “Prepare. Compete. Respect.”

Cause “No Fun League” was already taken?

I kid. I kid. It’s not the North Sound Conference, it’s the WIAA and the whole frickin’ state clamping down on shenanigans.

The sooner I accept we’re no longer in the free-wheeling ’90s, back when student sections could get as unruly as they liked, the sooner I can assure my press pass remains in effect.

Not that I made the list of officially-sanctioned news outlets.

The South Whidbey Record, Everett Herald and Seattle Times did, with coaches instructed to relay stats and results to those papers.

And yet I can guarantee you the non-sanctioned, dare we say underground press (we dare), Coupeville Sports and Whidbey News-Times will write far more stories about the new conference this school year.

Why, now that I have the fax numbers for all six conference Athletic Directors (thanks, handbook), I might have to hit up the thrift store, get my own faxy fax and start sending out Coupeville Sports as an old-school zine, just to prove that point.

Anyway, back to the handbook.

For year one of the league, Sultan AD Scott Sifferman is league prez, while our own Willie Smith is the money man, operating as league treasurer.

A couple of other interesting tidbits:

North Sound Conference soccer games can end with a whimper, not a bang, as league contests will NOT go to shoot-outs.

Play regulation, then make it through two five-minute “golden goal” overtime periods and you’re still tied?

It’s soccer, don’t expect a resolution … and that’s 90 minutes none of us will ever get back.

Soccer will use a 0-3 point system for each league game (you get three points for a win in regulation, two for a victory in OT, etc.) and the league champ will be based on highest point total, not necessarily the best won-lost record.

All other sports will crown team champs based on regular-season won-loss record, except for cross country, track and tennis(??), which will hail the winner of the postseason league tourney.

For the running sports, that makes perfect sense, as most regular season meets feature multiple teams and win-loss records are pointless.

For tennis, that’s a bit odd, as most leagues crown regular season and postseason tourney champs separately.

Though, other than one sentence early in the handbook (the one which lumps tennis in with cross country and track) the net game is missing in action, so who knows.

Tennis is the only sanctioned league sport to not have its own section of rules and criteria, at least in this version of the book.

So, basically, that means all bets are off … or on.

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