Oak Harbor volleyball player Hailee Blau set school records in career kills and sets played. (Photo by John Fisken)

Oak Harbor volleyball player Hailee Blau set school records in career kills and sets played. (Photo by John Fisken)

Sports 2017: Top stories, part 3

Following is the final segment of our three-part series on the top sports stories for 2017.


Coupeville’s James Steller began a 160-mile run around Whidbey Island Labor Day weekend to raise money for the Community Foundation for Coupeville Public Schools. When his body gave out after about 100 miles, his friends stepped in to complete the task, securing $15,000 in donations.


Second-ranked Ferndale defeated eighth-ranked Oak Harbor 29-28 in overtime Oct. 13 in a game of unbeaten Wesco football teams. A week later, Oak Harbor beat Arlington 13-7 in triple overtime.

Coupeville’s William Nelson and Joey Lippo, coached by Ken Stange, captured the doubles title at Olympic League tennis tournament Oct. 23.

The Coupeville soccer team, coached by Kyle Nelson, defeated Chimacum 2-1 Oct. 25 for its eighth win of the season, tying the school record for most victories.

The Coupeville volleyball team, coached by Cory Whitmore, beat Port Townsend 3-0 to win its second consecutive Olympic League championship. The Wolves didn’t lose a set on the way to a 9-0 conference record.


Oak Harbor senior Ben Gasper and junior Alexis Smith, coached by Eric Peterson, each finished 51st in their respective races at the 3A state cross country meet Nov. 4. Sophomore Megan Smith was 83rd in the girls race and sophomore Dallas Riddle-Stevens placed 100th in the boys.

Coupeville junior Danny Conlisk competed in the state 1A meet and finished 124th.

Oak Harbor, coached by Jay Turner, opened the football playoffs with a 21-3 win over Seattle Prep Nov. 4 and then lost 42-7 a week later to Bellevue.

The Wildcat swim and dive team, coached by Amy Merkley, captured 12th place at the state 3A meet Nov. 10 and 11 in Federal Way. Seniors Olivia Tungate, Taliah Black and Jillian Pape and freshman Ashleigh Merrill took fourth in the 200-medley relay. Tungate was fifth in the 100 backstroke and 15th in the 100 free; Pape placed sixth in the 100 butterfly and 11th in the 50 free; and Merrill added a 17th in the 200 free.

Tungate (Washington State University) and Pape (University of Washington) signed letters of intent Nov. 14. Pape, however, is switching sports and will row for the Huskies.

Coupeville lost twice at the 1A state volleyball tournament Nov. 10 and 11 but still finished with a 13-5 record, tying for the most wins in school history.

Oak Harbor graduates Ian Kolste and Tyler Adamson, who play football for Whitworth University, each earned All-Northwest Conference first team honors for the second consecutive year. Kolste, a senior quarterback, was the league’s Offensive Player of the Year and set a number of school passing records. Adamson, a junior left tackle, and his fellow offensive linemen allowed the fewest sacks in the conference.

Nick Streubel, a Coupeville grad and left guard for the Central Washington University football team, was first-team, all-league and helped the Wildcats to an 11-1 record and the Great Northwest Athletic Conference crown.

Senior Alexandra Laiblin from Oak Harbor earned her third Great Northwest Athletic Conference All-Academic team honor while running cross country for Western Washington University.

Travis Connell, Oak Harbor graduate and head coach of the Western Washington University’s women’s soccer team, and his assistants were named the NCAA D-II West Region Staff of the Year for the second consecutive year.

Oak Harbor High School first-team, all-Wesco players for the fall included Tungate (swim), Black (swim), Pape (swim), Merrill (swim), Hailee Blau (volleyball) and Alex Smith (cross country). In volleyball, Blau set school records in career kills (999) and sets played (323) and Andrea Ruben set a school record for single-match assists (57).

For Coupeville, Hope Lodell was selected as the Olympic League’s Most Valuable Player in volleyball. Other first-teamers were Katrina McGranahan (volleyball), Mikayla Elfrank (volleyball), Lauren Rose (volleyball), Cameron Toomey-Stout (football), Nelson (tennis), Lippo (tennis), Kalia Littlejohn (soccer), Sage Renninger (soccer) and Genna Wright (soccer).


Coupeville announced Dec. 6 it is leaving the Olympic League because of travel costs and the amount of class time athletes miss while attending away games.

Greenbank’s Sherry Phay won her division at the Sleighin’ Weights powerlifting meet Dec. 9 and qualified for the national championships.

After 27 consecutive conference wins, the Coupeville girls basketball team lost its first Olympic League game 38-32 to Port Townsend Dec. 12.

Whitman College sophomore basketball player Makana Stone, a Coupeville graduate, was named the Northwest Conference’s Student Athlete of the Week for Dec. 3-9 after being named the Most Valuable Player of the Whitworth Holiday Classic Dec. 8 and 9.

OHHS junior defensive back Dorian Hardin was voted to the Associated Press All-State Football Team. He is one of only three non-seniors to be chosen for the 26-man squad.

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