If you have ever attended either Orcas Island High School or Friday Harbor High School, you would know about their rivalry. The two schools have been rivals for as long as anyone can remember. Gregg Sasan, the OIHS girls basketball head coach, has been coaching at Orcas Island High School since 1987. In that time, he has coached slow pitch softball and volleyball, as well as boys and girls basketball. When asked if he knew how or when the rivalry started, he shared that he has a friend that attended high school on Orcas in the ‘50s and it dates back to even before then.
Maybe the start of the rivalry has to do with the Island Cup. Football used to be a big part of Orcas sports, and the Island Cup, much like the Apple Cup, was played between the Vikings and the Wolverines. A few years ago, Orcas no longer had the numbers to have a football team and the Cup game was no more. This, however, did not mean an end to the OIHS and FHHS rivalry. The schools just turned the competition to other sports.
Sasan has many years of experience playing against the Wolverines. With over 30 years at the high school division level comes many stories. “I remember one game,” said Sasan. “We were playing Friday Harbor at home, and all of their fans came to our gym wearing shirts that said ‘beat Orcas.’” He also mentioned how different it was when he first started coaching. “We didn’t have the technology you guys have today. No one was friends with each other [on social media].”
In the days leading up to the girls basketball game at Friday Harbor this year, Sasan reminded the team of the game they were about to play and how much fun Wolverine vs. Viking basketball games were. In the huddle before the game started, he said that “nothing is better than playing Friday Harbor in Friday Harbor.”
The rivalry that developed many years ago still stands today. The energy at any of these games is very different from the energy at any other game that the Vikings play. There is a dynamic that both sides bring every time they face each other. As the years go on, the rivalry will continue to bring excitement and passion to Viking and Wolverine sports.