Whidbey athletes shine in 2016 / Sports year in review, Part I

As 2016 comes to a close, let’s take a look back at some of the highlights in the world of North and Central Whidbey sports. Here’s a recap of the first part of the year; the remaining months will be published Saturday.


Oak Harbor senior Dymond Piper earned Most Valuable Wrestlers honors at the Battle of the Axe Dual Match Tournament in Port Angeles Jan. 2, while junior Meredith Bain captured first place in the Sedro-Woolley girls tournament the same day.

Oak Harbor won the Shoreline Invitational Wrestling tournament Jan. 9. Garrett Stahl (120), Zion Gomez (113), Piper (152) and Zook (285) all won individual titles.

The Oak Harbor High School wrestling team honored former coach Rich Linsenmayer before its bout with Arlington Jan. 14. Linsenmayer, who coached Oak Harbor from 1969-98, died Dec. 26, 2015. Current OHHS assistant coach Joe Brannon, who wrestled for Linsenmayer, said, “I learned a lot of life lessons from him, and I feel blessed and fortunate to have wrestled for him.”

Zook, at the Jack Reynolds Tournament of Excellence in Issaquah, and Bain, at the Vikings Girls Invitational in Puyallup, collected individual wrestling titles Jan. 16.

Oak Harbor senior swimmers Joe Gorman and Eric Jensen each took part in four winning events in their final home meet as Oak Harbor beat Stanwood 87-84 Jan. 25.

For the second consecutive year, the Oak Harbor High School wrestling team, coached by Larry Falcon, received the Gary Knutzen Spirit of Wrestling Award from the Skagit-Island Wrestling Officials Association for its outstanding show of sportsmanship throughout the season.

After going 13 years without winning a conference title, the Coupeville High School girls basketball team, coached by David King, clinched its second straight Olympic League crown by beating Klahowya 49-33 Jan. 29.

North Whidbey Aquatic Club’s Lindsay Brown, Alana Miller, Lea Opdyke and Kiersten Tyson set club records in the 200-yard medley and 200-yard freestyle relays at the Winter Challenge in Bellingham Jan. 30 and 31. Merrill collected eight individual wins.


Coupeville’s Makana Stone signed a letter of intent Feb. 5 to play basketball for Whitman College in Walla Walla. In the final home came of her stellar career the next night, Stone recorded 27 points, 21 rebounds, five steals, four assists and no fouls in the Wolves’ 56-23 win that wrapped up their second consecutive season of being unbeaten in Olympic League games. Before the game, the Eagles spontaneously came over to congratulate Stone as she was being honored on Senior Night.

In wrestling postseason action, Piper and Zook won subregional titles Feb. 5 and 6 and regional crowns Feb. 12 and 13 to earn state berths. Blake Servatius (106) and Zach Aketch (145) also qualified for state by taking fourth in the regional. For the girls, Caitlin Woodworth (155) and Bain finished second and third, respectively, and landed state berths.

Zook went on to finish third at state Feb. 19 and 20, and Piper and Bain took seventh.

Coupeville graduate Kyle King helped the Marines take third in the armed services division in the United States Track Association Cross Country Nationals Feb. 6 in Oregon.

Dyllan Harris completed his high school career Feb. 8 with the third most points in Oak Harbor High School boys basketball history with 1,175, trailing only Michael Washington Jr. (1,526, 2009-12) and Brannon Stone (1,427, 1995-98).

Harris season averages of 20.55 and 20.39 his final two years are fourth- and fifth-best all time. His single game high of 40 is fourth-best, and he once scored 36 points in a game he played only three quarters. He also finished with 435 rebounds, fifth best.

The Oak Harbor High School girls basketball team nipped Everett 39-38 in the regular season finale Feb. 9, setting up a tie-breaker with the Seagulls for a postseason play-in game. Julie Jansen sank a free throw for 1.4 seconds left for the win.

Oak Harbor won the tie-breaker 43-33 the next night but, playing its third game in three nights, fell in the play-in game to Edmonds-Woodway 62-33.

The Coupeville High School boys basketball season ended Feb. 11 when Bellevue Christian topped the Wolves 64-45 in a district play-in game.

Coupeville graduate Cole Weinstein, a junior at Whitman College, earned first-team, all-Northwest Conference honors in the 500-yard freestyle and 800-yard freestyle relay Feb. 12-14. He received the conference’s Student-Athlete of the Week Award earlier in the season.

Gorman and Jensen qualified for the state 3A swim meet by placing in the top four at the district finals Feb. 13. Gorman was third in the 200-yard freestyle and fourth in the 500 free. Jensen was third in the 100 butterfly.

At state Feb. 19, Gorman took 22nd in the 500 and 24th in the 200 while Jensen was 24th in the fly.

Oak Harbor graduate Bailey Martinez (143 pounds), who wrestled for Pacific University (Forest Grove, Ore.), missed All-American status by one spot at the Women’s Collegiate Wrestling Association Championships Feb. 14 at Oklahoma City.

Oak Harbor softball player Alexa Findley signed a letter of intent Feb. 16 to play for California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks.

The CHS girls basketball team whipped Seattle Christian 49-33 in the district tournament Feb. 19 to qualify for the regional playoffs for the first time since 2006. The Wolves lost to Seattle Christian in overtime in the same qualifying game a year earlier. Stone had 24 points and 20 rebounds in the win.

At the regional, Coupeville (16-6) fell to Cashmere 61-25 Feb. 27. Stone had 15 points and 13 rebounds, finishing the season with a double-double in every game.

Alana Miller, 10, set a new North Whidbey Aquatic Club record in the 50-yard freestyle of 30.57 at the Division I Age Group Invitational Feb. 26-28. The winning time placed Miller in the AAAA class, the highest, for USA Swimming.


Harris, Piper, Zook, Bain, Gorman, Jensen and Jose Cabigting (swimming) earned first-team, all-league honors when the Western Conference announced its awards March 1.

Coupeville senior Wiley Hesselgrave was named to the Olympic League first team in boys basketball for the second consecutive year.

Stone, four-year letter winner, earned Olympic League Most Valuable Player honors for the second consecutive year and was selected to play in the all-state 1A/2A game. Mia Littlejohn and Kailey Kellner were also first-team selections.

As a team, the Wolves received the Olympic League Sportsmanship Award.

Greg Landers and the duo of Karen and Terry Crawford were the winners of the first Whidbey Island United States Bowling Congress Singles/Doubles tournament Feb. 27 and 28 at the Convergence Zone on Naval Air Station Whidbey Island.

Landers won the singles handicapped tournament with an 823. The Crawfords rolled a 1,534 to win the handicapped doubles tournament. Brad Gisvold posted the highest scratch game, 278, and series, 792.

Wildcat Sailing finished tied for seventh at the Gold Fleet Regatta March 12 in Seattle.

NWAC’s girls 10-and-under 200-yard medley relay team of Opdyke (backstroke), Brown (breaststroke), Miller (butterfly) and Tyson (freestyle) placed fifth with a time of 2:16.63, trimming five seconds off their club record, at the Northwest Regional Swim Championships March 10-13 in Federal Way. The meet featured team from seven states. They also seventh in the 200-free relay in 2:01.81, another club record.

The OHHS Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps drill and rifle competitive teams, led by Chief William Thiel and Commander Mike Black, captured first place in the regional competition March 19 at Bethel High School. It was the Wildcats third title in four years.

The precision and sporter rifle teams, coached by Dave Goodman, each finished first, as did the unarmed drill team, claiming its fourth consecutive championship. In individual competition, Callie Nuttal won in ironwoman physical strength.

Stone, competing for the 1A all-state girls basketball team, helped her club beat the 2A all-stars 87-80 March 19 at King’s High School. Stone had six points, six rebounds, four blocks and two assists.

Oak Harbor graduate Dejon Devroe set a Trinity Lutheran College (Everett) record in the 800 meters (1:52.1) March 5.

NWAC placed eighth in the Pacific Northwest Swimming Divisional Championships March 25 and 26 in Federal Way. Many of the events had over 300 participants. Jillian Pape won the 200-yard butterfly. Haley Borja set a club record in the 50 backstroke (38.58) and won the overall scoring title in the girls 8-and-under division.

S-Cubed, a club team of Oak Harbor High School students, placed fourth in the sporter class and the OHHS NJROTC team took 10th in the precision division of the Civilian Marksmanship Program Regional Tournament March 31-April 2 in Utah.


Coupeville graduate Hailey Hammer hit a walkoff home run for Everett Community College in the Trojans’ 1-0 win over Shoreline and former high school teammate Madeline Roberts April 10.

Steve Vesbach of Seattle won the 15th annual Whidbey Marathon April 16th. Oak Harbor’s Andrew Wyman placed fourth, and Oak Harbor’s Tony Moralez captured the 10K.

Josh Whitley, a 2008 graduate of OHHS and a member of the Oregon Institute of Technology men’s golf team, was named the Cascade Collegiate Conference’s Player of the Year. He was a first-team, all-league selection and led the conference in strokes-per-round average, 73.1. He would eventually finish 83rd in the national tournament in Illinois in May.

Coupeville, coached by Ken Stange, wrapped up its second consecutive Olympic League girls tennis title with a 6-1 win over Chimacum April 16. The Wolves would go on to finish unbeaten in conference play with a 5-0 mark.

Oak Harbor graduate Hannah Bressler, running for Willamette University, won the league 3,000-meter steeplechase title at the Northwest Conference championships April 22-23 in Portland. She was 21st in the national meet in May.

The 3-9 Oak Harbor High School softball team, coached by Tashina Tosh, stunned unbeaten Meadowdale 11-2 April 26. The Mavericks came into the game with 13 straight wins, 12 by at least 10 runs.

Coupeville, under first-year coach Marc Aparicio, wrapped up its first conference baseball title in 25 years with a 10-0 win over Port Townsend April 29.

Merrill (800 free, 10:09.68), Brown (1,500 free, 21:50.7) and Miller (800 free, 11:38.99) set NWAC records at the Blue Heron Distance Open April 29-May 1 in Oak Harbor.

Marti Malloy, a 2004 Oak Harbor graduate, won gold at the Pan American Judo Championships April 29 in Havana and moved up to third in the world rankings in the 57Kg class. The win locked up a spot on the USA Olympic team for the Rio de Janeiro games. She earned a bronze at the 2012 London games.


The duos of Mark and Jeff Strickland (gross) and Jeff and Mike Rodgers (net) won the Whidbey Golf Club’s Two-Person Best Ball Tournament May 1.

Coach Brian Thompson retired after working 23 years with the Oak Harbor High School soccer program.

Coupeville’s Valen Trujillo won the singles title and Payton Aparicio and Sage Renninger the doubles crown at the Olympic League 1A tennis tournament May 10.

Senior Resego Mooki from Oak Harbor won the Wesco North girls golf tournament May 12 on Camano Island. She was second in 2015.

The Coupeville husband and wife coaching tandem of Brett and Breanne Smedley resigned to take jobs in their hometown, Vancouver, Wash. Brett Smedley was the Wolves’ head football coach for one year; Breanne Smedley led the volleyball team for two.

Oak Harbor freshman Haven Brown qualified for the state golf tournament by placing 16th at district in Snohomish. In girls golf, Mooki and Jessica Monaghan earned state berths by taking sixth and 14th May 17 and 18 at the Kayak Golf Course. At the state meet in Spokane, Mooki took 41st, Monaghan 77th and Brown 75th.

The OHHS girls 4×100 relay team of Amaya Rittierodt, Alana Austin, Janae Payne and Matti Miesle, won the district title May 20 in Marysville.

Devroe finished second in the 800 meters (1:53.62) and earned All-American honors at the National Christian College Athletic Association Track Championships in Georgia May 14.

Coupeville senior Cole Payne was named the Olympic League’s Most Valuable Player in baseball. The Smith brothers, senior CJ and sophomore Hunter, were chose first-team pitchers and freshman Matt Hilborn was a first-team infielder. Aparicio and his coaches were selected as the Staff of the Year.

The Coupeville High School track team collected nine medals (top-eight finishes) and set two school records at the state track meet May 26-28 in Cheney. The nine medals were the most by the Wolves in 10 years and helped the girls place 12th and the boys 15th.

For the girls, Stone, Lindsey Roberts, Lauren Grove and Sylvia Hurlburt placed third in the 4×200 relay in a school record 1:46.1 and sixth in the 4×100 in 50.99. In the 4×100 preliminaries, the quartet set a new school standard, 50.66.

Stone took second in the 400 meters for her third top-four finish in her career. Roberts was fourth in the 100 hurdles, Skyler Lawrence was 12th in the shot put and Grove took 15th in the 200.

For the boys, Martin was second in the discus, eighth in the shot put and eighth in the javelin. Jacob Martin was fourth in the 200 and 11th in the 100. Ford took eight in the pole vault. Chris Battaglia (14th, high jump), Mitchell Carroll (15th, triple jump), Danny Conlisk (17th, 800) and the 4×400 relay team of Smith, Conlisk, Henry Wynn and Jared Helmstadter (15th) also competed.

Martin (discus, 161-07) and Ford (pole vault, 12-09) each set school records during the season.

Oak Harbor earned two second place finishes in the 3A state track meet in Tacoma: Joesph Noland in the discus with a throw of 168-07, 11 feet farther than his previous best; and the 4×100 relay team of Rittierodt, Austin, Payne and Miesle.

Austin was also 14th in the 200. Jared Gray was 15h in the 300 hurdles and 17th in the 110 hurdles and 14th in the 4×400 with Daniel Guerrero, Mac Nuanez and Josh Cote. Nuanez (14th) and Cote (16th) also ran in the 400.

Lucas Horrobin was his second straight Whidbey Golf Club Men’s Invitational May 28 and 29.

Wildcat United, the combined track team of Oak Harbor and North Whidbey middle schools, won the conference championship May 26.

Stone was chosen Coupeville High School’s Female Athlete of the Year for the second time. She ended her career as one of the most decorated CHS athletes ever. She was first team three times in basketball (and second team as a freshman); Olympic League MVP twice; recorded more than 1,000 points, 800 rebounds and 200 steals; registered a double-double in every game her senior year; played in the state all-star game; was named WIAA Player of the week twice; and led Coupeville to back-to-back undefeated conference seasons and titles. In track, she set school records in the 200 and 400 and in all three relays and missed school records in the 100 and 800 by a fraction of a second; won six individual and relay league titles; placed in the top four in the state 400 meters three times; and ran on four top-six relay teams at state. She only played soccer her freshman and sophomore years but earned first-team honors as a 10th-grader.

Wiley Hesselgrave was the Wolves’ Male Athlete of the Year. The senior earned four varsity letters in football and three basketball and was an all-league, first-time selection in both sports his junior and senior seasons.

Coupeville’s Makana Stone, shown here scoring in the regional basketball tournament, graduated as one of the most celebrated athletes in school history. (Photo by John Fisken)

Coupeville’s Makana Stone, shown here scoring in the regional basketball tournament, graduated as one of the most celebrated athletes in school history. (Photo by John Fisken)