Perhaps in the case of Breeanna Messner and Nick Streubel, the name of the award should be changed.
The senior pair were selected Coupeville High School’s Athletes of the Year for 2013-14, but the impression they left on their coaches goes far beyond their success in sports.
Messner’s and Streubel’s athletic accomplishments certainly merit the AOY honor.
Messner lettered in volleyball (three years), basketball (two years) and softball (four years), earning second-team, all-Cascade Conference honors in softball and honorable mention in volleyball and basketball this season.
She was team captain in all three sports, was named the Most Valuable Player on the softball team and received the Wolf Pack Award in basketball and volleyball.
Messner also lettered in cheer the past three years, doubling up during the fall season.
Streubel received varsity letters in football (four years), basketball (three years) and track (three years). He was a three-time Cascade Conference honorable mention selection in basketball and received that honor in football his sophomore season.
The past two seasons, Coupeville played as an independent in football; therefore, Streubel wasn’t eligible for league honors. He, however, trumped any award the conference could bestow by earning second-team, all-state 1A honors as an offensive lineman.
His prowess on the football field resulted in a scholarship to play for Central Washington University next fall.
Messner said she was “really surprised” to win the Athlete of the Year award.
“There are a lot of great athletes here,” she said.
Messner said of all her accomplishments, she is most proud of balancing four sports and school work and being successful in all.
“It was kind of difficult,” she said.
She links her success to her work ethic: “I wasn’t necessarily the best player, but I would work my hardest and never give up. Personally, I don’t like to give up. I just want to be the best I can be.”
She credits coach David King with helping mold her as an athlete. King, along with his wife Amy, moved with Messner through the youth ranks. King, assisted by Amy, eventually coached Messner in varsity basketball and the Kings were co-head coaches of Messner’s softball team.
“He was always dedicated to us,” Messner said of King.
Messner will attend San Diego State University next year and focus on the “medical field.” She does not see herself as a Division I athlete but will take advantage of the school’s vast club-sports program.
“Sports have become a big part of my life,” Messner said. “I am not ready to let go.”
Streubel said he was “blessed” to receive the AOY award and to be associated with all “Coupeville greats who received this award.”
His greatest accomplishment, he said, was earning the scholarship to play college football.
He also enjoyed the wins during football and basketball season: “I like team sports a lot; you have to rely on others. I like being with people and succeeding together.”
His success can be traced back to his parents, David and Nanette Streubel, he said.
“They took me to camps and made sure I had everything I needed to succeed,” he said.
He also acknowledged his coaches who taught him the “fundamentals to be a successful player.”
Ask Messner's and Streubel’s coaches about their prized pupils, and they are more interested in discussing the athletes’ personal qualities than athletic achievements.
Amy King (who first started working with Messner in seventh-grade volleyball): “She paid attention, listened and worked hard. Through the years those things have never changed. She is a great role model for others with her work ethic, great attitude and desire to excel.”
David King: “In basketball we gave out an award, it’s called Coupeville Pride. The definition for this award is positive, resilient, inspirational, dedicated, encouraging and team first. This describes Bree and her attitude perfectly.
“She always puts team goals above individual goals. Bree has never settled for ‘this is good enough.’ Above all, Breeanna is amazingly humble.”
Kirsty Croghan (Messner’s volleyball coach): “She has such a high standard of herself, and that translated to her team and program. I am very excited to see where she goes and what she achieves in life.”
Tony Maggio (Streubel’s football coach): “I am so proud of his accomplishments, even more so the ones off the football field. What a great young man and well deserving of this honor.”
Anthony Smith (Streubel’s basketball coach): “Nick always gave 110 percent. Nick is focused and will be successful at whatever he chooses to do.”
Randy King (Streubel’s track coach): “Great guy. He has been great to coach, always positive and enjoying life. He has been willing to share his knowledge with all our younger throwers and has been a great model for others to emulate. His kind of leadership will be hard to replace.”
Athletes of the Year? How about Citizens of the Year.
Three other awards were presented to Coupeville High School athletes this spring.
Messner, along with senior football and baseball player Jake Tumblin, received the Cliff Gillies Award. The award is sponsored by the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association and is presented to a boy and girl at each Washington high school who stands out in academics, sportsmanship and citizenship. Gillies was a longtime executive director of the WIAA.
Senior Ben Etzell and junior Madeline Strasburg were presented the Distinguished Athlete Award, sponsored by the Marine Corps and selected by school athletic director Lori Stolee. The award is given to good role models who display courage, poise, self-confidence and leadership as varsity athletes. Etzell competed in tennis and baseball, and Strasburg played volleyball, basketball and softball.
Seniors Brett Arnold and Amanda Fabrizi received the U.S. Army Reserve National Scholar-Athlete Award, sponsored by the Army and selected by school administrators, for those who excel in both academics and sports. Arnold competed in football and soccer and Fabrizi in volleyball and basketball.
(Bree Messner lettered in four sports during her high school career. Photo by Dr. Robert Bishop.)