A conference athlete of the year award and a new school record highlighted the accomplishments of Oak Harbor and Coupeville high school graduates competing in college sports this winter.
Coupeville’s Cole Weinstein earned Co-swimmer of the Year honors for the Northwest Conference while competing for Whitman College, and Oak Harbor grad Dejon Devroe set a new Shorter University indoor track record in the 800 meters.
Weinstein claimed the Co-Swimmer of the Year award after breaking the school and league 400 individual medley record with a time of 3:58.64 at the confernce meet in Federal Way Feb. 10-12, helping the Blues win the NWC team title.
He also finished first in the 1,650 free and 400 free relay, second in the 500 free and third in the 800 free relay in the championship meet.
Weinstein, a three-time, first-team all-conference selection, qualified to swim the 400 IM, 500 freestyle and 200 breaststroke at the NCAA Division III championships in Shenandoah, Texas, March 15-18.
Heading into this season, he was second in the 500 free, 1,000 free and 1,650 free on the Whitman school record list.
Josh Jepson, a senior at the Division III United States Merchant Marine Academy (Kings Point, N.Y.), helped the Mariners men win their 19th consecutive Skyline Conference championship Jan. 27 and 28 in Purchase, N.Y., by placing in the top eight in four events. He was second in the 200-yard individual medley, fourth in the 200 breaststroke, fifth in the 200 freestyle and eighth in the 200 butterfly.
At the Feb. 17 Metropolitan Championships, which included 15 schools from all NCAA classifications (D-I through D-III), Jepsen, an Oak Harbor High School grad, was ninth in the 400 IM and 11th in the 200 fly.
Devroe, a sophomore at Shorter (Rome, Ga.), twice broke the school indoor 800-meter record this season. He won the University of Alabama-Birmingham Invitational Jan. 15 in 1:53.92, clipping .38 off the old mark. He lowered the record to 1:50.52 at the New Orleans KMS Invitational Jan. 29 when he finished third out of 52 runners. That mark is the country’s 10th-best this season among NCAA Division II athletes and earned Devroe a spot in the national championship meet March 9-11 in Birmingham.
Devroe also earned All-Region honors.
Oak Harbor’s Alexandra Laiblin, a junior at Western Washington University, posted two all-time, top-10 times for the Vikings this winter. Laiblin is eighth on the record board in the 5,000 meters (18:24.47) after finishing 41st in the University of Washington Invitational Jan. 27. She is ranked ninth in the 3,000 meters (10:30.41) after placing 38th at the UW Open Feb. 12.
In the Great Northwest Athletic Conference championship meet Feb. 17, Laiblin took 19th in the 3,000 (10:55.12).
Oak Harbor’s Vester brothers, Jahleel, a junior, and Jeremy, a sophomore, wrestle for Central College in Pella, Iowa.
Jahleel (141 pounds) won the Milwaukee School of Engineering Invitational Dec. 3 and finished second at the Super 8 Invitational Nov. 5.
Jeremy (157) won his weight class at the Super 8 Invitational and took second at the MSOE Invitational and Central Under Armour Invitational (Jan. 7). He later finished fifth in the NCAA Division III Central Regional Tournament Feb. 25.
For the year, Jeremy posted a 21-8 record and Jahleel was 9-10.
Makana Stone, a freshman on the Whitman College (Walla Walla) women’s basketball team, moved into the starting lineup late in the season and helped lead the Blues to the championship in the Northwest Conference Tournament last week.
Whitman (24-4, 12-4) placed third in league play but upset the regular-season champion, the University of Puget Sound, 81-72 in the conference tournament title game. During the regular season, UPS edged Whitman twice in overtime.
Stone twice led the Blues in scoring and nine times in rebounding this season. The Coupeville High School graduate grabbed a season-high 11 boards in the upset of UPS.
Whitman, ranked 16th in the country, began NCAA Division III tournament play Friday night (March 3) with a 76-72 win over league foe and 23nd-ranked George Fox (21-5) in Tacoma. Stone scored 14 points and pulled down 10 rebounds in the win.
Stone is sixth on the team in scoring (175 points) and minutes played (490), second in rebounding (159), fifth in blocks (11) and first in field goal percentage (.494) among regulars.
Coupeville’s Monica Vidoni plays for the Rainy River Community College (International Falls, Minn.) women’s basketball team.
The sophomore appeared in 19 games, starting two. She scored 49 points, including a season high 10 against Oak Hills College Jan. 6. She also grabbed 47 rebounds and blocked seven shots this season.
“Monica had a solid season for us,” coach Dieter Humbert said. “Monica came off the bench as a defensive specialist, but averaged 2.57 points per game, 2.36 rebounds per game and .37 blocks per game.”