After the end of the 2013 softball season Elma High School coach Janene Todd was almost ready to resign her position. She and her husband Mitchell Todd, who is an assistant coach, had talked about stepping down after the Eagles finished last season in 6th place at state, but there was something keeping them from walking away from the program.
The Todds had coached the 2014 seniors since they were freshmen and wanted to see the group through all four years.
“I told her, ‘What is going to happen when they win state next year and you are not a part of it’ and she said, ‘You’re right,’” Janene Todd’s daughter Ashley Stancil said.
Stancil’s prediction came true on Saturday as Elma defeated Mt. Baker 6-1 to win the Class 1A state tournament and the Todds were there to accept the trophy for the school’s first softball state championship.
“I don’t have a whole lot of words,” Janene Todd said. “This is the most amazing thing. This is what you coach for, what you hope for your team and it happened to us. It means the world to me. We’ve done this for 13 years and 4 in Elma and started when these girls, who are seniors, were freshmen and to go out like this, to win this way, to have the mindset that they had and not give up when we were down that speaks volumes. It is something we will never forget and something those girls will never forget.”
The Todds had made it clear to the team that this would be their last season coaching the Eagles and the team responded for the coaches. Junior third baseman Shayla Shumate said there wasn’t ever additional pressure with the news of the coaches leaving, but each of the players wanted to perform their best to send the coaches out with the best going away gift of all — a championship.
“They have stuck with us for so long and they have dealt with the ups and downs and helped us get through them,” Shumate said. “I’m just very grateful to have such amazing coaches like they are. They love us unconditionally. They sacrifice their time, their money and everything for their girls. We wanted to give them our all, since they have give us their all.”