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Practice, practice, practice
The wait is nearly over for local high school sports fanatics.
All fall athletic teams for Oak Harbor and Coupeville began practices Monday morning and most will start their seasons in just over a week.
Football programs from both schools started Aug. 18, but Monday marked the first day for soccer, volleyball, tennis, swimming and cross country.
The most noticeable change in Oak Harbor sports this year comes at the athletic director position where Bob Smithson takes over for Jeff Stone, who retired last year.
A 21-year veteran of the Everett School District and former athletic director for Everett, Cascade and Jackson high schools, Smithson has voiced his excitement about getting started in Oak Harbor.
Im looking forward to meeting people and getting involved in the community, he said in a previous interview.
Despite realignment in other leagues around the state, WesCo 4A will remain the same.
This year will be full of change for Coupeville High School, who enters a new split A/B league. The Wolfpack will continue to face class A opponents Friday Harbor, Concrete and LaConner. Absent from the Northwest A league this year, however, is powerhouse Archbishop Thomas Murphy, who moved to class 2A.
They pretty much dominated the league as a private school, CHS athletic director and head football coach, Ron Bagby said. In some ways Id love to see them and have a chance to beat them, but no, Im glad to see them gone.
ATM won four team state titles last year alone, in baseball, football and girls and boys soccer.
Orcas Island, who was in class A last year, moved to class B, where they join Darrington, Mount Vernon Christian and Shoreline Christian. Although they are all in a lower class, they will still compete against the A schools during regular season league play.
Seattle-area schools Cedar Park Christian and Charles Wright Academy will join the Northwest A/B league for football, as they have no league to join in their area.
Coupeville also gets a boost to its athletic program, adding both boys and girls soccer teams to the mix.
Its giving a lot more kids a chance to participate that wouldnt normally have participated in a fall sport, Bagby said. Its huge for our school.
A full in-depth preview of all Oak Harbor and Coupeville high school teams will be in the Saturday, Sept. 4 edition of the News-Times for the annual fall sports preview.