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Coupeville High School girls basketball guru Scott Fox is among the coaches who will work with Wolf middle school athletes as they participate in intramurals during the pandemic. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Sports, uh, find a way.

While Coupeville Middle School athletes will not compete against other schools during the 2020-2021 school year, they will get a chance to stay active.

Athletic Director Willie Smith has pulled together a plan under which CMS students in grades 6-8 will be offered a variety of intramural options, with a mix of clinics and games.

“We are trying to offer our middle school students an opportunity to experience/participate in sports that are offered by us or in our community,” Smith said.

“Our high school coaches have partnered with either our middle school coaches or are working with our community programs to provide a clinic type atmosphere with some games thrown in each week.”

In some sports where CMS does not normally field a program, the school is working with groups such as Central Whidbey Little League or the Central Whidbey Soccer Club.

There is no cost, and students can participate in more than one sport in a season.

The plan calls for each sport to run 2-3 days a week during its season, with one day devoted to games.

“It is a great opportunity for our middle school students to get out and get exposed to some new, fun activities that in a regular year, they may not get to,” Smith said. “We really want this to be successful and have great attendance.”

 

The plan (with coach contacts):

 

SEASON ONE
(March 1-April 3)

Cross Country — Elizabeth Bitting — ebitting@coupeville.k12.wa.us — (**XC starts March 8**)

Flag Football (coed) — Marcus Carr — mcarr@coupeville.k12.wa.us

Girls/Boys Soccer — John Fowler — vicepresident@centralwhidbeysoccer.com

Volleyball — Cory Whitmore — cwhitmore@coupeville.k12.wa.us

 

SEASON TWO
(April 5-May 8)

Boys Basketball — Brad Sherman (bsherman@coupeville.k12.wa.us) and Jon Roberts (jroberts@coupeville.k12.wa.us)

Girls Basketball — Scott Fox (sfox@coupeville.k12.wa.us) and Fred Farris (ffarris@coupeville.k12.wa.us)

 

SEASON THREE
(May 10-June 12)

Baseball and Softball — Gordon McMillan — centralwhidbeyll@gmail.com

Track and Field — Elizabeth Bitting — ebitting@coupeville.k12.wa.us

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Catherine Lhamon and fellow track stars return to action – but with less fans than seen here in 2019. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

One week from today, Coupeville High School sports returns from a year-plus layoff.

When the Wolves host a five-team track meet Thursday, March 4, it will be the first time a CHS squad has squared off with a rival in any sport since Feb. 11, 2020.

As everyone adjusts to a new reality and continues to work through an ongoing pandemic, school officials released a statement reflecting the challenges and their optimism.

 

It is with great pleasure and optimism that we are writing to you today to talk about athletics starting back up for our high school students.

It has been a long journey and one that we are most likely not through with yet, but at least we have some positive progress to getting back to some normalcy.

The reason for this letter is twofold: one, to explain how Coupeville and its new league, the Northwest 1B/2B League, will move forward with this season and two, to appeal to you, our community, in supporting those decisions that the league and our district has had to make in order for this season to occur in a safe manner.

First and foremost, our league’s focal point was safely getting the kids back on the playing field; it was not about creating opportunities for league, district, or state championships.

While all of us are competitive in nature and we want those opportunities for our students and schools, this year was more about participation.

So it was in that vein that we created shortened seasons which offered game opportunities, and yes, the possibility of a league championship, but more importantly gave our kids a chance to play.

This year is not going to be the same as every other year: officials are struggling with membership, all of our current plans are still very tentative, and it is very possible that games or seasons may have to be canceled.

All of this is and continues to be driven by COVID-19 guidelines and safety protocols that are necessary to control the spread of this virus.

Not everything we will do during our seasons will be popular but it is what our schools and athletic departments are required to follow in order for our kids to have the opportunity to play.

What will all of this mean for families and spectators?

It means that during home events, we are asking that if you are coming to watch that you are healthy and not exhibiting any symptoms, either that day or within 48 hours of your attendance.

For a list of COVID-19 symptoms please see page 2 of this copy of state guidelines — Employervisitorscreeningguidance (1).pdf – Google Drive.

District provided transportation to and from games may be limited due to limitations created by our current in-person school schedules and the limited number of students who can ride on a bus due to social distancing requirements.

This means parents may need to provide transportation to and from some competitions.

No away fans are currently allowed at any athletic event; this is a Northwest 1B/2B League policy.

We will review this policy as each new sports season begins.

This does create the possibility that parents will have to transport their children and not be able to attend competitions.

We require masks to be worn at all times while on our campus or in our facilities; if a mask is not being worn you’ll be asked to leave.

We will ask that you practice social distancing while watching and stay a minimum of six feet apart from anyone who is not part of your household.

Spectators will be limited for athletic events.

We have a limit of 200 total people at all events; this includes teams, coaches, officials, and workers at the events and we will have a process in place that will address how people can attend events such as football, volleyball, and basketball.

For most of our other sports we believe our number of spectators will fall within the given parameters of 200 total people and just ask that you follow the health and safety guidelines as previously mentioned.

The only sport we will not allow any spectators at this year will be our track meets and it is simply a numbers issue.

We will have two home meets this year, March 4 and the Northwest 1B/2B League Meet on April 3; between the athletes, coaching staff and workers needed to run those meets we will easily meet the 200 person limit.

Fortunately for us, and this is true of all events occurring at our track/stadium and our high school gym, we have a streaming system in place and we are already scheduled to stream each one of our events on that system.

You would simply need to go to  High School Sports Online – Stream Live & On Demand (nfhsnetwork.com) and sign up for a subscription in order to view these events.

While this step forward for our athletes is still far from returning to normal, we are excited that it creates an opportunity for our students, especially our senior athletes to play.

So please, as games begin in a week, follow the guidelines, work with us and understand that of all years, this is the year that we put the emphasis on our kids getting to play games for the sake of fun and enjoyment and we are going to work together to ensure that we do this safely.

Thank you,

Willie Smith — CHS/CMS Athletic Director
Geoff Kappes – CHS/CMS Principal
Steve King – Coupeville Schools Superintendent

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Barbi Ford (right), here hanging out with Sylvia Arnold, is one of your go-to people for athletic paperwork. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

You only need to get poked and prodded every other year.

District 1, which includes Coupeville, has opted to move to requiring high school and middle school athletes get a new physical every two years.

Previously, a new one was needed every year.

“If you got a physical last year and participated in athletics, either at the middle or high school, it will be good again this year,” said CHS/CMS Athletic Director Willie Smith.

With the change, Wolf athletes and parents need to stay on top of their paperwork.

“That is also why it’s VERY IMPORTANT that you sign up on the form I sent (athletes), as well as get your paperwork in,” Smith said. “We can then reference and crosscheck the status of your physical and let you know whether or not you need a new one.

“We did this for a few reasons. The first is we didn’t know how difficult it would be for students to get into the doctors office/clinic to get a physical this year with all that’s going on.

“The shortness of time between the announcement of the start of our season is very tight, and lastly, the WIAA allows for a two-year physical and this aligns us with both South Whidbey and Oak Harbor.”

With everything topsy-turvy thanks to the pandemic, Smith stressed the importance of everyone responding, quickly, to emails sent out by school officials.

If a parent or guardian didn’t receive an athletic packet and signature forms last week, they can obtain one by emailing Barbi Ford (bford@coupeville.k12.wa.us) or Lisa Yoder (lyoder@coupeville.k12.wa.us).

Athletes also need to return the form sent out asking which sports they intend to play this school year, if COVID allows games to happen.

“As much as we need the paperwork from your parents/guardians, we also need this information (from athletes) for our planning purposes as well as the coaches planning purposes,” Smith said.

Last, but not least, stay on top of your grades, even at a time when most are doing school work online.

“We are holding our students to the same standard of attendance and academics as we would in a regular year,” Smith said.

“With the start of the second semester beginning next week, it is extremely important that if your planning on participating in athletics you get started off on the right foot and stay up to date and on top of your grades.

“We have systems in place to assist those students that may need help with grades, as we have always done, but it really is important that students start and maintain strong attendance and grades the remainder of the year.”

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There won’t be any league basketball games for Coupeville Middle School students like Lyla Stuurmans this school year. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

It will likely be a lost year.

While Coupeville High School sports teams continue to work towards a possible return to play during the COVID-19 pandemic, it appears that middle school athletes won’t have the same chances.

CHS/CMS Athletic Director Willie Smith announced Wednesday that he and other league officials have agreed to “make the difficult decision to postpone any official league games this year except for a possible track and field season later in the year.”

During a normal school year — which this is certainly not — CMS athletes would also compete in volleyball, girls and boys cross country, girls and boys basketball, and boys soccer.

Smith said there were many factors considered before the decision to cancel was made.

“The spread of our league schools in counties makes it difficult for any consistent plan in creating equitable playing opportunities,” he said.

“We are split into two separate regions and if half can play and others can’t, is that equitable, and we decided it was not.”

With regions across the state in vastly different places in terms of number of COVID cases and hospitalizations, plans to return students to in-person learning are often radically different from school to school.

Add on the crush of schools possibly trying to play shortened high school seasons, and it became too much.

“The differing plans for return to school for our middle school students is widely varied and transporting middle school students to and from practices, let alone games, would fall mainly upon our parents and we didn’t think that was feasible or equitable for all students,” Smith said.

“We were (also) concerned about field/gym/site availability, as well as a real concern about the availability of officials.”

While the news is certainly downbeat, there is some hope, however.

Smith has worked relentlessly to find ways to get his student athletes back in action, taking advantage of the state opening up the ability to practice.

He and the AD’s for the Oak Harbor and South Whidbey school districts are discussing the possibility of creating a three-team local league for the short term.

“It is very early in the planning stages,” Smith said. “Regardless of the outcome of this, I am also going to be working with our middle school coaches and administration to at least provide some intramural opportunities throughout the remainder of the year for our middle school students.”

With Coupeville moving from 1A to 2B this school year, the school is allowed to use CMS 8th graders to fill out high school teams.

But, Smith cautions this would only happen under certain circumstances.

“The short answer is no, we are not unless we need them to help salvage a program,” he said. “The intent of the rule and our philosophy of the league is that we will not bring up 8th grade students just for the sake of bringing them up, or because they are a good athlete.

“We will only bring them up if we don’t have enough high school students to create a team and participate during the season, and that is what we will do this year.”

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Willie Smith is on the lookout for your paperwork. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Get your paperwork done!

That’s the message from Coupeville High School Athletic Director Willie Smith, as the school prepares for an anticipated return to athletic competition.

The Wolf head man released the following statement Friday afternoon:

 

CHS families,

We are very excited that we have a schedule for providing athletics to our high school students!

It has been a long nine months and we believe that this schedule gives a very real chance to play sports this year!

As with everything this year, the sports season is a bit different with spring sports (baseball, softball, girls tennis, and track and field) slated to be our first season starting on February 22.

That will be followed by our fall sports (football, volleyball, boys tennis, boys soccer, girls soccer, and boys/girls cross country), and ending with winter sports (boys and girls basketball).

You should have received two things from the school on Friday in regards to school: an electronic version of our athletic packet and required signature forms that must be filled out prior to any student playing any sport.

The signature form is accompanied by forms explaining what you’re signing, as well as eligibility requirements to participate in athletics and spectator conduct.

The other item, specifically for the students, is a Google Form sent to their school email for them to select which sport or sports they are interested in playing this year (separated by season).

This is crucial for us to receive back by Wednesday, Jan. 27 in order to start gathering information for our coaches and staff.

We are asking that you (parent/guardians) also return the signed athletic paperwork back to Barbi Ford (bford@coupeville.k12.wa.us) or Lisa Yoder (lyoder@coupeville.k12.wa.us) by next Wednesday as well, so we can begin creating a database for this year.

We would prefer an electronic return rather than a physical packet back, so please fill it out electronically with a parent/guardian signature and student signature where applicable.

We want to emphasize that ALL academic and attendance requirements for participating in athletics will continue to be enforced and need to be met before and during the sports season(s).

It is imperative that you (students) start the second semester strong and work towards having success in the classroom so that you can have the opportunity to participate fully in athletics.

If you have any questions or have not received this paperwork, please contact myself, Willie Smith (wsmith@coupeville.k12.wa.us), Barbi Ford, or Lisa Yoder.

Thank you, and I hope you are all as excited as we are for this opportunity to come to fruition.

Willie Smith

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