South Whidbey’s Kayla Knauer waits for a throw at second base. Knauer received the Cliff Gillies Award this spring. (File photo)

South Whidbey’s Kayla Knauer waits for a throw at second base. Knauer received the Cliff Gillies Award this spring. (File photo)

Whidbey Island athletes create news during lockdown

Organized athletic activities came to a screeching halt in March, but not all sports “action” came to an end.

Here’s a rundown of some of what has happened in the world of Whidbey Island sports since COVID-19 hit the athletic arena earlier this year.


Maya Toomey-Stout and Scout Smith were named co-female athletes of the year at Coupeville High School. Toomey-Stout’s twin brother Sean repeated as the school’s male athlete of the year.

Coupeville’s Hannah Davidson and Aram Leyva received the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association’s Cliff Gillies Award. The award is presented each year to two senior athletes at each state high school and honors Gillies’ commitment to education and student activities with criteria recognizing scholarship, citizenship and participation in student activities.

Oak Harbor’s athletes of the year were Mikhaela Cortez and Dallas Riddle-Stevens.

Ridgely Briddell and Morgan Roundy were recipients of the Gillies award, and cheer’s Jazmin Jones earned coach of the year honors.

South Whidbey does not choose athletes of the year, but 14 seniors were selected for the school’s Wall of Fame: Kobe Balora, football; Dylan Davis, wrestling; Mattason Straub, track; Kole Nelson, football, track; Samuel Martin, track; Alex Black, baseball; Issiah Gonzales, track; Billy Rankin, track; Alison Papritz, tennis; Mallory Drye, soccer; Michael Harwell, cross country; Ethan Petty, baseball; Ari Marshall, softball; and Grayson Bodie Hezel, track.

Kayla Knauer and Balora were tabbed for the Gillies award.

Samuel Baesler, Joseph Lane and Sawyer Mauk received the Loren Brixner Award, which is given to the male athlete with the highest grade point average and who consistently participated in co-curricular programs.

Papritz and Ashley Ricketts earned the South Whidbey’s Board of Directors Award, which goes to the female athlete with the highest GPA and who was consistently involved in co-curricular programs.

Hezel was selected to play in the Earl Bardon Football Classic, which was scheduled for June 20 in Yakima but cancelled because of the virus.

The game was to feature the state’s top senior players from the 2A, 1A and B classifications.

Hezel earned the North Sound Conference’s Most Valuable Offensive Player award last fall.

Letter Winners

Despite not playing any games, all three island high schools awarded varsity letters to spring athletes.

Coupeville gave letters to all seniors and returning letter winners.

Oak Harbor left the lettering decision up to individual coaches, according to Athletic Director Jerrod Fleury. For the most part, sports that had already selected their varsity squads gave letters to those athletes and participation certificates to the others. All athletes in other sports received varsity letters.

At South Whidbey, all athletes on each team’s roster received a letter.


Coupeville graduate Makana Stone continued to pile up awards after completing her outstanding basketball career at Whitman College, where she earned all-league honors all four years while finishing fifth on the school’s all-time scoring list and second among rebounders.

Stone, the Northwest Conference Most Valuable Player, was named to the all-region first team and all-American honorable mention list this spring and selected to play in an all-star game that was eventually cancelled.

Whitman awarded Stone the school’s highest athletic honor, the Mignon Borleske Award. The award is given for career athletic ability and accomplishments, leadership and sportsmanship qualities, and contributions to the campus and community as a whole.

She also earned a spot on the Northwest Conference’s first-team, scholastic-athlete list.

Stone’s women’s basketball team was selected for the George Ball Award, which is given to the squad that best represents the mission of Whitman College and the athletics department and that demonstrates the ideals of sportsmanship, including fairness, civility, honesty, respect and responsibility.

Letters of Intent

Coupeville’s Mallory Kortuem signed a letter of intent to run track at Western Washington University. Kortuem holds four Coupeville High School records (400 meters, 58.02; pole vault, 8-10; 4×100, 50.54; and 4×200, 1:46.13).

Kortuem finished second the 400 at the state 1A track meet in 2019.

Teammate Ja’Tarya Hoskins, who joined Kortuem, Lindsey Roberts and Maya Toomey-Stout on the record-setting 4×100 team, will run track for St. Martin’s University in Lacey.

Coupeville’s Mica Shipley will be a member of the Eastern Washington University cheer team.


South Whidbey High School football coach Mark Hodson resigned and will be replaced by his nephew, Luke Hodson.

Coupeville is switching conferences this fall, and the Northwest League plays both boys and girls soccer in the fall, unlike the North Sound Conference, where the boys play in the spring. Kyle Nelson, who coached both squads the past two years, will coach only the girls this fall.

Coupeville High School cross country coach Luke Samford resigned; no replacement has been named, according to school Athletic Director Willie Smith.


Three of Whidbey Island’s most popular distance events have undergone changes.

Central Whidbey’s Race the Reserve, originally set for Aug. 8, has been moved to Oct. 11.

The Whidbey Island Marathon, usually run in North Whidbey in April, is now set for Sept. 13.

The Whidbey Island Triathlon sponsored by the South Whidbey Parks and Recreation District will be a virtual event this year July 24-Aug. 2.

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