A new high school fall sports season began this week, and two of the local teams began under the guidance of new coaches.
Tino Gutierrez takes over the Oak Harbor tennis program, while BreAnna Boon begins her first year as the Coupeville cheer coach.
Gutierrez replaces Horace Mells, who stepped down last spring after 21 years at the helm of the Wildcat tennis teams.
Gutierrez, 60, began playing tennis at 19 when his younger brother prodded him to join him on the court.
Watching tennis on television also inspired him to play, he added.
“So, I’ve been playing for the past 41 years,” he said.
Gutierrez met Mells at the high school tennis courts in 1998, which led to helping out with the Wildcats. He has coached the Oak Harbor junior varsity the past few years.
Coaching, he said, just “seems like the right thing to do. Tennis is in my blood; I love playing.”
As well as teaching tennis, Gutierrez hopes to develop integrity, sportsmanship and honesty among his players.
Gutierrez grew up in San Antonio, joined the Navy in 1982 and “gave Uncle Sam 20-plus years.” He has driven for Island Transit for 15 years.
Oak Harbor opens the regular season at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 6, at Marysville Getchell. The first home match is 3:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 10, with Meadowdale.
Boon’s goal is to help her athletes grow as individuals as well as cheerleaders.
“I hope to help them see the greatness in themselves as well as each other and to be able to appreciate it,” she said. “Everyone who is on the squad is an important part of a very big team. I want them to be able to take away great friendships and memories that will last throughout the years.”
Boon began her own cheer career in the third grade, eventually cheering four years at Oak Harbor High School where she served as team captain and helped the squad win multiple state titles and a national championship in 2006.
She started her cheer coaching career while in high school, volunteering with the youth program and eventually becoming cheer director.
“I progressed to coaching high school cheer at both Anacortes and Mount Vernon Christian School,” Boon said. “My goal has always been to acquire a position here on Whidbey Island, as this is my home.”
Cheering, she said, is a unique way of uniting the school and community through sports.
“I want to show the town of Coupeville that cheerleading is so much more than the stereo typical stigma that follows it,” Boon said. “It’s about how the squad can impact and make a significant difference, not only in the school but the community as well…They are role models, in uniform or not. The squad will be setting the bar pretty high with our leadership on and off the field.”