When the Cascade Conference announced its all-league teams recently, two Coupeville athletes were among those honored.
Senior Bessie Walstad and sophomore Hailey Hammer, both middle blockers, were selected for the all-conference second team in volleyball.
Walstad, who was an honorable mention choice in 2011, said, “It was a good way to go out my senior year. If was definitely a goal, and it would have been sad if I hadn’t been at least honorable mention.”
Hammer, who has two years left to play for the Wolves, said the honor is motivation to “keep pushing myself to something better.”
Walstad missed several weeks of the season with an injury but still led Coupeville in stuff blocks (12) and digs (208) and was second in kills (64). She owned the team’s highest attack percentage and was the most consistent server (94 percent).
Hammer topped the club in kills (114) and touch blocks (77).
Coach Toni Crebbin said, “Despite not starting the year serving, she (Hammer) earned that right and ended up being my second most consistent server at 92 percent.”
Walstad and Hammer helped hone their skills with some offseason work.
Walstad, a three-year letter winner, received some personal tutoring on passing this summer, which helped her to the team lead in digs, and Hammer joined some teammates at a volleyball camp at Western Washington University.
Both said it is difficult to spend too much time on any one sport because they are three-sport athletes, each also playing basketball and fastpitch.
While the pair had individual success, the Wolves struggled this year winning only four of 17 matches. As team captain, it was Walstad’s job to keep her teammates focused.
She said, “Our team had a tendency to hang their heads after mistakes; I tried to motivate them to have fun.”
Crebbin said, “Bessie was a leader on and off the court. She was all about the team and led by example. If she finished a drill ahead of others, she would come alongside others and help them finish too. Younger players looked up to her as she was very encouraging to everyone.”
Regarding Hammer, Crebbin said, “Hailey may only be a sophomore, but on the court she has the maturity and composure of someone older. I am excited to come back and watch Hailey play next year, as she is only going to get stronger and smarter in her play.”
Walstad hasn’t picked a college yet, though the University of Portland is a favorite. She also hasn’t decided on whether she will continue athletics in college: “I might play intramurals; maybe I will walk on.”
Hammer sees fastpitch as her best sport and hopes to play it in college somewhere in California. She said, “My parents are from there and I have family there.”