For high school athletes, the summer offers a break from their studies but not from their sports.
Athletes play on summer teams and attend open gyms, weight-lifting sessions, individual skill camps and team camps to hone their talents for the upcoming seasons.
This summer, a number of Oak Harbor and Coupeville high school athletes played club volleyball and softball, the two schools entered teams into several baseball tournaments, and both schools held spring football camps.
The Coupeville High School girls basketball squad’s trip to team camp is a good example of what most of the Whidbey players and coaches tried to accomplish during the summer break in preparation for the 2017-18 school year.
Earlier this summer, the Wolves traveled to Ocean Shores for their annual summer team camp.
The journey was just one step the three-time defending champion Wolves took to hold on to the Olympic League first-place trophy.
Ten players made the trip, including Hannah Davidson, who was back in town after moving to California.
When it came to age, talent and playing experience, the group had a little bit of everything.
Among the 10 were what coach David King called the “elder statesmen,” seniors Kyla Briscoe and Mikayla Elfrank.
Joining them were juniors Lindsey Roberts and Nicole Lester; sophomores Avalon Renninger, Scout Smith and Tia Wurzrainer; and freshmen Genna Wright and Mollie Bailey.
“(We) had a few down moments, but the positives outweighed the struggles,” King said.
The Wolves played nine varsity games and one junior varsity game and finished with a 5-5 record, but “camp is so much more than the wins and losses,” according to King.
“The team bonding we do after games and late in the evenings is priceless,” he said.
Each year the coaches make sure to carve out time to go to the beach, where the team traditionally builds sand sculptures.
On the court, the Wolves were able to work on new offensive plays and defensive schemes.
“This year was without a doubt one of the best camps with players getting out of their comfort zones and pushing themselves in ways they may not normally do,” King said. “We had multiple players step up and play the point guard position along with many playing multiple positions.”
King was particularly pleased with the leadership a variety of players displayed during the games.
As the Wolves’ 5-5 record indicates, the results were a mixed bag.
In the JV game, Coupeville scored the final six points to squeak out a two-point win. In one varsity game, the Wolves came from 12 down with four minutes left to win by one, hitting the deciding bucket with four seconds left.
“As good as those games went, we had a couple of blow-out losses,” King said. “We learned a lot in those games. They fought and continued to play for each other despite the scores. They never quit.”
The lessons will carry over into November when the regular season begins, King said.