EHS Hornets get new volleyball, basketball, wrestling, and cross country coaches

Say hello to Barbie Becker, Gage Elder, Sam Oliver, and Curtis and Rebekah Cheney.

The Enumclaw High roster of head coaches will look decidedly different during the 2024-25 sporting year, with a handful of new names leading Hornet athletic programs.

Taking the reins are Barbie Becker, volleyball; Sam Oliver, boys basketball; Gage Elder, boys wrestling; and the husband-and-wife duo of Curtis and Rebekah Cheney, who will lead the EHS boys and girls cross country programs.

Missing next year from the athletic scene will be two coaches who logged decades on behalf of Enumclaw High and its student-athletes. Jackie Carel retired last fall after 36 seasons at the volleyball helm and Jeff Jacobson, a fixture on the distance running scene, called it a career after 34 years at Enumclaw High School (43 years in all). Also departed are wrestling coach Adam Eilers, who took over the program in 2013 after multiple years as a Hornet assistant, and Terry Johnson, who stepped away after eight years atop the boys hoop program.

Here’s a brief rundown of the new head coaches, who will lead Enumclaw into the world of 3A North Puget Sound League competition. The Hornets have spent recent years as members of the Class 2A South Puget Sound League, but enrollment growth has prompted the upward move.

Barbie Becker: A former standout for the Hornet program and 2016 graduate of Enumclaw High, Becker will be taking her first steps in the coaching profession.

At EHS, she gained league Most Valuable Player honors following her senior season, was chosen for the all-state game and then took her talents to Cornell College in Iowa, spending most of her collegiate career as an outside hitter. After two years in London earning a master’s degree, she returned to the Plateau in 2022. She spent the 2022-23 school year teaching at Wilkeson Elementary and is now finishing her first year as a STEAM instructor at Mountain Meadow Elementary School.

She is still active on the volleyball court, playing in a local recreational league with former EHS teammates and participating in tournaments.

Gage Elder: Enumclaw High’s wrestling team will be guided by a true native son. “Born here, raised here, never left,” is his own self-description.

Elder graduated from EHS in 2003 and made his athletic mark on both the wrestling mat and the gridiron. He was a team captain in both sports, earned a trip to the state wrestling tournament as a 189-pounder his senior season and was an all-league lineman (both offense and defense) for the EHS football squad.

He moves into the head job at EHS after serving as an assistant coach since 2019. He kicked off his coaching experience in 2011 with the Enumclaw Yellowjackets junior program.

“I look forward to the challenge and opportunity to be the head coach of Enumclaw wrestling,” Elder said in an emailed statement. “I am very excited about the team we will put on the mat this coming season.”

Sam Oliver: After serving as a volunteer assistant for the Hornet boys hoop program last season, Oliver has taken the reins as head coach. That doesn’t mean there’s a lack of experience at the helm: after serving as an assistant in the Auburn district, Oliver was the head coach at Bonney Lake High School from 2014 to 2022.

As a former athlete and graduate of Auburn High, Oliver has memories of squaring off on the court against Enumclaw teams. Now, he has jumped into the role as head coach, planning summer camps, signing up for a summer tournament and getting details finalized for the upcoming Hornet Youth Camp.

Curtis and Rebekah Cheney: A prominent part of the Enumclaw High sports scene for two decades, the couple will continue their involvement with both sides of the cross country program.

Curtis Cheney has a record as head track coach at Thunder Mountain Middle School for two years; assistant girls basketball coach at EHS for three years; head hoop coach at Enumclaw Middle School for10 years; assistant boys tennis coach for a decade; assistant track coach at EMS for one season and an assistant cross country coach at Enumclaw High for two seasons.

He has been on the EHS campus as a science teacher since the 2002-03 school year.

Rebekah Cheney has served as head EMS girls basketball for almost a decade, was head track coach at EMS for two years and assistant volleyball coach (off and on) for several seasons. She also can be seen courtside during Hornet basketball games, keeping the scorebook.

She has taught science in the Enumclaw School District since the 2004-05 school year, at both Enumclaw Middle School and one year at Enumclaw High School.