The work ethic and commitment of seniors Joshua Crebbin and Christina Wicker earned the respect of the Oak Harbor High School coaches, and that respect led to the pair being named OHHS’s Athletes of the Year for 2012-13.
Crebbin, who earned four varsity letters in wrestling, two in football and one track, finished his fine high school career by placing second at the state wrestling championships this winter.
Wicker, a four-year letter winner in cross country and track, wrapped up her career by placing in the top 10 at the state meet in both sports.
She ran 10th in cross country, the second-best finish ever by a female Oak Harbor runner at state, and seventh in the 800 meters at the state track meet this spring.
Those performances were only the cherries on Crebbin’s and Wicker’s athletic sundaes.
In his career, Crebbin was a two-time all-Wesco wrestler, sub-regional champion and second-place finisher in sub-regional and regional. He was voted team captain twice, was the Cor Aut Mors (Heart or Death) Award winner and finished with 104 career wins.
Wicker was twice named to the all-Wesco cross country first team and once to the second team. She was a first-teamer in track and twice earned second team honors.
She is the only Oak Harbor girl to compete at the state cross country meet four times; she twice earned state track berths. In addition, she won six special team awards for cross country and track, including the cross country Most Valuable Player twice.
Crebbin’s and Wicker’s awards are more a result of hard work than raw talent.
The first year Crebbin joined club wrestling, he didn’t win a match. The next year he won two. His freshman year in high school was the first time he won more than he lost.
Mike Crebbin, Joshua’s father and high school wrestling coach, said Joshua was discouraged after that first year, but “didn’t quit, didn’t consider quitting.”
He just worked harder and absorbed coaching.
Josh Crebbin said his best quality as an athlete is “dedication to my sport.”
In his four high school years, Crebbin never missed an optional morning workout. He hit the weight room in the summer and went to football and wrestling camps.
Crebbin said he would seek out the best competition in each workout session – the fastest runner, the strongest lifter, the hardest working wrestler – to push himself.
He said the mindset began when he attended his father’s practices (then at South Whidbey High School) when he was in early grade school.
His favorite wrestler was Brandon Hern. Crebbin said, “I remember going to state and it seemed like he won a lot of matches. When he was on the podium, I realized he got first. That is when I knew I wanted to be a state wrestler.”
The four covenants of the Oak Harbor High School wrestling program are leadership, loyalty, integrity and competition, according to Mike Crebbin. He said, “Joshua Crebbin embodied all of those with the content of his character.”
Coach Crebbin lauded Joshua for his competitiveness, leadership and mentorship.
Josh Crebbin said finishing second in state was the highlight of his high school athletic career. He also noted defeating the top-seeded wrestler 8-0 at district as a sophomore and coming from behind to pin his opponent in the district title match his junior year.
Football coach Jay Turner echoed coach Crebbin’s comments and said, “Josh was one of the hardest working players we had. He was always ready to contribute and was a very positive asset to our team.”
Wicker said she never considered herself as much of an athlete until joining the Running Unlimited Fitness club as an eighth grader.
She said, “Without having joined the club I wouldn’t have maintained my fitness from the (middle school) season, which I think was important when it came to being successful in my freshman year of cross country, which I think set a precedent for the next four years.”
The running club coaches, Wicker said, were “very encouraging” and helped her build the “fitness and mental strength that allowed me to view myself as an athlete and train in the off-season.”
She added, “I think they have helped not just me but other athletes build long term love for the sport…by building a family-like atmosphere and providing an admirable model of people who have continued to incorporate the sport into their daily lives long after the competition ended.”
Wicker called commitment her greatest strength, saying, “I do try to train smart, and in my opinion, training smart requires consistency.”
Her greatest achievement, she said, was placing 10th in the state cross country meet. Her commitment paid off, steadily improving from placing 148th as a freshman.
She added, “I had a really hard time earlier (this) season because of anemia, and had a pretty poor post-season my junior year, so being able to get better and meet my goal of breaking 19 minutes in the 5K in the last meet of the season of my senior year was really satisfying.”
Eric Peterson, cross country and girls track coach, said, “She is an incredibly hard working athlete and I know her teammates admired her work ethic.
“One of the best parts of getting to watch Christina during her high school career was seeing her personality come through. She was this fierce competitor – very quiet, respectable and keeping to herself before races. But after it was all over, she was witty and cracking jokes which always lightened the mood and kept her teammates smiling.”
Assistant cross country coach Andy Wesley said, “Christina continuously worked extremely hard to be the best runner she was capable of being. She would run workouts with her feet covered in blisters and in pain because she wanted to get that extra edge on her opponents.”
Wicker and Crebbin also excelled in the classroom. Wicker finished with a 4.0 GPA and Crebbin with a 3.5.
Wicker said she likes learning as well as running.
“Enjoying something and committing time to it is important in becoming successful at it,” she said.
She added, “Since I started my freshman year I decided that I wanted to become a really good runner and go to a good college; it has been difficult for other things to become a distraction for me. A lot of people talk about extracurricular activities in terms of time-commitment, and I think enjoying sports and school has made me productive and time efficient and less remorseful about missing out on other things.”
Wicker’s success earned her admission to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where she will likely major in physics and run cross country and track.
Wesley said, “All of her athletic accomplishments do not compare to her academic success and being accepted to MIT. We are extremely proud of her.”
Crebbin plans to attend Washington State University, major in architecture and participate on the club wrestling team.
Christina Wicker, a state placer in cross country and track, was chosen as Oak Harbor High School's female Athlete of the Year.