When Washington high school spring sports start Monday, it will also be the beginning of the end of the careers of two of the most celebrated athletes in Coupeville High School sports history.
Seniors Katrina McGranahan and Hunter Smith will head to the softball and baseball diamonds to add the final pages to their already stuffed scrapbooks of athletic accomplishments.
Last spring, the pair were named Coupeville High School’s Athletes of the Year (McGranahan shared the honor with Valen Trujillo), and if they receive the award again this year, they will join only a handful of other students to earn the honor multiple times.
McGranahan is the only Coupeville athlete to win more than one Olympic League Most Valuable Player award, picking up the honor in volleyball and softball as a junior.
She earned first-team, all-league recognition every year she has been a starter for the Wolves — three in volleyball and three in softball.
McGranahan helped Coupeville win consecutive conference volleyball titles, the first crowns since 2004, and helped the Wolves qualify for their first state tournament in 13 years.
Volleyball coach Cory Whitmore said McGranahan was an instrumental part in rebuilding the Coupeville program.
“She was a great example for our young athletes as to what it means to never be satisfied,” Whitmore said. “After having earned MVP honors her junior year, she continued to push herself to improve her game and leadership role on the team for her senior year.
“Her character as a person is something to be admired as well. She was always fiercely committed to her teammates, and although she drew a lot of attention from opponents, she remained a very unselfish part of the team, never demanding the ball or spotlight.”
As the team’s leading pitcher and hitter in softball, McGranahan guided Coupeville to a 19-5 record last spring and within one run of qualifying for the state tournament.
McGranahan said “it’s hard” to choose which of her many accomplishments she is most proud of, listing her MVP awards, the state trip in volleyball and being named softball team captain as a freshman.
She attributes her success to her many coaches in all of her sports.
She noted that Ron Wright put in many hours learning how to pitch in softball to pass along that knowledge to her.
McGranahan also pointed to her parents, Justine and Kevin McGranahan. Her mother was her first softball coach and her father is the current CHS head coach, assisted by his wife and Wright.
Justine McGranahan helped Katrina “fall in love with the game,” and her father taught her “pretty much everything” she knows about softball.
“Sports are important to me because they’ve been a part of my life for as long as I can remember,” Katrina McGranahan said. “They helped shape me into who I am. Sports give the ability to take hold of your emotions and use them to help power you. My whole family is athletic; from the littlest McGranahan to the oldest, we always give 100 percent — even when it comes to board games.
“When I leave Coupeville, I would like to be remembered as the girl who gave it her all.
“Win or lose, I’m always proud of my team. We have ups and downs, but, honestly, who doesn’t? No matter what mindset I’m in, I’ll give 100 percent. Even when I’m beaten down and hurt I’m never ready to be pulled out. The game means too much to me to just sit the bench.”
Her goal for her final season is to help the softball team maintain the intensity it displayed in last spring’s district tournament.
She would also like to inspire the younger girls to build a stronger “softball character.”
“We have so much talent on this team, I am really excited to see how far we’ll go, and how far the younger ones will go.”
McGranahan has signed a letter of intent to play softball next year for Everett Community College.
Smith is a four-year starter in football and baseball and a three-year starter in basketball.
In football, Smith earned honorable mention honors as a freshman defensive back, first-team honors as a DB as a sophomore and first-team honors as both a defensive back and wide receiver as a junior. Last fall, he missed the final five games with a back injury, which also knocked him out of consideration for league honors.
Although he missed those games, he still set seven school records: receiving touchdowns in a game (3, 2016), receiving yards in a season (916, 2016), receiving touchdowns in a season (11, 2016), interceptions in a season (7, 2015), receiving yards in a career (1,761), receiving touchdowns in a career (17) and interceptions in a career (16).
Smith is a two-time, first-team selection in basketball as he led the Wolves in scoring the past two seasons and finished with the 12th-most points in school history (847).
He averaged more than 19 points per game this season, including pouring in 35 in his final home game. He also topped the team in steals and assists.
Basketball coach Brad Sherman, who grew up in Coupeville, called Smith “one of the very best all-around athletes I have seen.”
Smith’s success, Sherman said, is “a testament to his work ethic and dedication to his sport.”
“He’s a quiet, humble and dependable leader both on and off the court and leads by example in the way he conducts himself and the way that he works,” Sherman added. “For as good a career and season he had, the most excited you’ll ever see Hunter get is when a teammate makes a big play. He makes those around him better and celebrates the successes of those around him like a leader should.”
Smith heads into the baseball season as a two-time, first-team all-league pitcher and as a four-year starter as a middle infielder. Smith hopes to play college baseball.
“Sports are important to me because I love to compete in all aspects of my life and be the best I can be,” Smith said. “They have also taught me how to win, be humble and respect my opponents, no matter the outcome. Not only that, but sports have led to countless new friendships and have given me some of the best memories with my friends.”
It’s those memories with his friends, he said, that he will remember most about his time at Coupeville high school.
The highlight of his career, he said, was winning the Olympic League baseball title in 2016, the Wolves’ first pennant in 25 years. It is Smith’s only league championship, and he was able to share the experience with his older brother and teammate, CJ Smith, and with his father, coach Chris Smith.
His goal this spring is to bring the title back to Coupeville and help the team qualify for the state tournament.
Like McGranahan, Smith gives his coaches credit for his success, especially his father: “He has been coaching me since before I was in school and still now, and he has had a huge impact on me as a player in all of my sports.”
Smith hopes his legacy will be more than his athletic success. He wants to be remembered as “a great student, a great friend, a great person,” and as “the guy who could do it all, on and off the field.”