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Falcon, Wolves rivalry to continue
Coupeville High School will take its athletic teams elsewhere next year, leaving the Cascade Conference and South Whidbey behind after years of an island rivalry.
Instead of the Cascade Conference, which includes 2A powerhouse programs like Archbishop Murphy and Lakewood and 1A power King’s, Coupeville will swap mountain ranges and head west for the Olympic League. The change has some paperwork that needs to be filed by the two athletic leagues and the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association, but was reported by the Whidbey News-Times as a “done deal.”
The Wolves’ departure never put one of the conference’s longest rivalries in jeopardy, however. As soon as South Whidbey High School Athletic Director Kelly Kirk heard the news, he contacted Coupeville’s athletic director.
“That was my first email, ‘Hey, let’s play in non-league,” Kirk said.
“We’re already set for week 1 in football, and we’re planning volleyball and soccer. Then we’ll move forward for winter and spring sports.”
Going forward, Kirk said South Whidbey sports would seek to play Coupeville teams in non-conference matches, contests outside of the home-and-away Cascade Conference schedule for team sports.
Coupeville’s departure was bittersweet for one South Whidbey coach. Mark Hodson lamented losing the Wolves, harkening back to when he was first hired by South Whidbey High School and the two schools did not compete in athletics.
“When I got here, we did not play Coupeville,” Hodson said. “It never made sense … That’s just a natural rivalry.”
Joining the Cascade Conference is Cedar Park Christian, a private 1A school in Bothell. Sultan will drop from 2A to 1A to give the league four 1A schools and four 2A schools.
Travel costs for South Whidbey teams are not expected to dramatically jump, however, with the added trips to Bothell. Kirk said that adding Coupeville as a non-league opponent could slightly cut costs. Rather than travel into Whatcom County to play Blaine or Mount Baker, South Whidbey can journey 25 minutes north on Highway 525 to Coupeville.
“It’ll be pretty minimal,” Kirk said of the possible travel costs.