State championships, amazing individual/team accomplishments and a bevy of high-level accolades were commonplace for a bundle of Midcoast high school student-athletes during the 2014-15 sports seasons.

 

Now, the question becomes: Who was the best of the best among the teenage athletes in Knox, Waldo and part of Lincoln counties?

 

That is a query the Courier Publications/VillageSoup sports department will answer soon as Sports Director Ken Waltz and Associate Sports Director Mark Haskell begin their quest for the 2014-15 Courier Publications/Villagesoup schoolboy and schoolgirl athletes of the year.

 

Courier Publications publishes three weekly newspapers, The Courier-Gazette in Rockland, The Camden Herald and The Republican Journal in Belfast. The company also has two websites: knox.villagesoup.com and waldo.villagesoup.com.

 

A lengthy list of potential athlete-of-year candidates was whittled to 10 male and female semifinalists — and ultimately, five male and five female finalists — by Waltz and Haskell.

 

Students from Oceanside High School of Rockland/Thomaston, Camden Hills Regional High School of Rockport, Mount View High School of Thorndike, Belfast Area High School, Medomak Valley High School of Waldoboro, Vinalhaven School, North Haven Community School, Searsport District High School and Islesboro Central School are eligible for athlete-of-year honors.

 

The 2014-15 schoolgirl athlete-of-the-year finalists are: Camden Hills' Charlotte Messer and Emma Gutheinz, Oceanside's Emily Gould, Belfast's Kylie Nelson and Searsport's Brittany Ward.

 

The five finalists were whittled from 10 semifinalists, who included Camden Hills' Rachel Pease, Belfast's Mariah Sturgis and Cassidy Hill, Vinalhaven's Gilleyanne Davis-Oakes and Mount View's Dinah Bilodeau.

 

The 2014-15 schoolboy athlete-of-the-year finalists are: Oceanside's Nick Mazurek, Medomak Valley's Micah Williamson, Searsport's Troy Reynolds, Belfast's Steven Davis and Mount View's Nathan Wren.

 

The five finalists were whittled from 10 semifinalists, who included Medomak Valley's Nicholas DePatsy, Camden Hills' Kyle Crans and Mark McCluskey, Oceanside's Preston Spear and Belfast's Drew Nealey.

 

There were many other student-athletes who were considered for the top 10, but, ultimately, did not make the final lists.

As is the case with any list where one is determining a top all-around athlete for a full year, the process is subjective. However, the final decision lies with the Courier Publications' sports staff on the schoolboy and schoolgirl athletes of the year.

Athletes who excelled in three different sports, particularly who were given all-conference awards, receive more consideration given the fact their overall ability in a variety of sports makes the case for them being more well-rounded "athletes."

Two-sport athletes also are given consideration and, in rare cases, single-sport athletes, since one could argue that the athlete who focuses solely on perfection in one sport and outshines the competition in that sport should not be excluded.

Stories on the two winners will appear in future newspapers.

The 2014-15 athlete-of-the-year nominees, with a brief recap of notable accomplishments during the school year, follows, with athletes listed in alphabetical order:

Schoolgirl nominees

 

Gould, a senior, played soccer, basketball and tennis for Oceanside and was a topnotch athlete in all three. Gould had three goals and two assists on the soccer pitch and was Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B first-team all-conference while she "controlled the midfield, created opportunities for her offensive players by winning balls and distributing to her teammates," said coach Darryl Townsend. She also was integral to the success of the school's basketball team, where she was a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B first-team all-conference selection. She also was a key member of the playoff-bound tennis team.

 

Gutheinz, a junior, participated in soccer, swimming and outdoor track and field for Camden Hills and had a myriad of successes across the athletic board. On the pitch, Gutheinz was a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B first-team all-conference selection as she pumped in 20 goals and notched eight assists. She also was a force in the water for the Windjammers as she had several top performances individually and as members of relay teams at both the conference and state championship levels, including Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B championships as part of two relays. She also turned in topnotch performances at the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B outdoor track championships in the spring, including a second-place finish in the 1,600 meters and a fifth in the 800 meters.

 

Messer, a sophomore, played soccer, basketball and softball for Camden Hills and certainly made her impression felt on the field and hardwood. Messer crease the net 14 times and logged eight assists to earn Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B first-team all-conference honors in soccer, while she earned the same distinction on the basketball court as she averaged 11.8 points, 2.6 rebounds and two assists for the Windjammers. In softball, primarily playing shortstop and outfield, Messer batted .333, had 16 RBIs and scored 20 runs, which earned her Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B honorable mention.

 

Nelson, a sophomore, participated field hockey, indoor track and outdoor track and field for Belfast as she proved equally comfortable on the pitch and on the track. In field hockey, Nelson had 18 goals and 12 assists, including breaking the school record for goals in a game (6). She was named Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B second-team all-conference in that sport. She then was Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B all-conference in both indoor and outdoor track in the winter and spring, respectively, as she won the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B title for the long jump in indoor track and also was a member of the 4×200-meter relay team that missed the state indoor title by less than half a second. In outdoor track, she was part of the 4×100- and 4×400-meter relay teams that won the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B crown. She also was part of that 4×400-meter relay team that went on to win the state title and the 4×100-meter relay team that finished second. She also is one of the states best pole vaulters.

 

Ward, a senior, played soccer, basketball and softball for Searsport and proved a cut about the rest in several of those sports in the Class D ranks. Ward was a first-team fullback for Class D West and represented Searsport in the Senior Bowl, while in basketball she was one of the team's best all-around players as she not only was named to the Penobscot Valley Conference all-defensive team, but also played in the senior all-star game. In softball, she was named the Penobscot Valley Conference pitcher and overall player of the year. Ward, a hard-throwing right-handed pitcher, had 149 strikeouts in 90 regular-season innings and also battled roughly .600 on the season, according to assistant coach R.J. Robertson. All of Ward's teams made deep regional playoff runs.

 

Schoolboy nominees

Davis, a senior, participated in football, basketball, indoor track and outdoor track and field for Belfast — and performed at a high level in all four sports. In football, Davis was immense as the Lions' tailback as he amassed 1,591 yards, eight two-point conversions and an astounding 29 touchdowns, including an eight-touchdown performance in a game against Madison-Carrabec. He added to that total in the postseason as he racked up another 500 yards, six touchdowns and a two-point conversion. On the basketball court, Davis helped lead the resurgence of the school's boys basketball team as he racked up 14.1 points per game, 8.4 rebounds per game, 2.5 blocks and 2.0 steals. He was named Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B first-team all-conference and to the league's all-defensive team. While Davis did not earn any particularly notable accolades in indoor track over the winter (he juggled basketball and track0, he seemed to hit his stride in the spring as he earned Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B first-team all-conference honors. He had many topnotch finishes in the league track championship and qualified for the state championships as well, placing among the best in his events in both meets.

 

Mazurek, a junior, played golf, basketball and baseball for Oceanside, won the Courier Publications schoolboy athlete of the year for 2013-14 and did not miss a beat this season, again finding himself among the final cut. On the links, Mazurek won a share of the state Class A golf championship as he shot a 72 — along with Bangor's Drew Powell. He was named Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B first-team all-conference in Class A golf, while on the basketball court, he was named Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B second-team all-conference. On the diamond, Mazurek was Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B first-team all-conference as he batted .388 and had 19 hits (6 home runs), 19 runs and 22 RBIs. On the mound, Mazurek sported a microscopic 0.48 earned-run average and struck out 59 batters, while yielding only three walks.

 

Reynolds, a junior, played soccer, basketball and baseball for Searsport and was a force, albeit in different ways, in each sport. In soccer, Reynolds played fullback and halfback and had “a few goals and a few assists” on the season, according to assistant coach R.J. Robertson, while on the basketball court, Reynolds was a force as he was the team's top scorer (and tremendous 3-point shooter) and best all-around player. He was named to the Penobscot Valley Conference first-team all-conference team. On the mound in baseball, Reynolds was nearly unhittable all season as he sported a microscopic earned-run average and was named the Penobscot Valley Conference player and pitcher of the year. Searsport rode his arm all the way to a state Class D baseball championship as Reynolds tossed eight innings in and struck out 16 in an exciting 4-3 win in extra innings.

 

Williamson, a senior, played soccer, basketball and baseball for Medomak Valley and proved to be a leader and topnotch performer in all three sports. On the pitch, Williamson, who became Mr. Panther, was a defensive midfielder and nabbed Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B first-team all-conference honors on a team that was the 11th seed and made an impressive run to the Eastern Class B semifinals. On the basketball court, Williamson's impact was immense as he ran point — both literally and figuratively — on a Panther squad that was on the brink of capturing the schools' first state basketball championship since 1980. While the Panthers lost the state final on a buzzer-beating layup, Williamson was named Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B second-team all-conference for his efforts as the Panthers also won the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B title. In baseball, Williamson was one of the team's top performers as both a shortstop and pitcher and also named Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B first-team all-conference.

 

Wren, a senior, played soccer, basketball and baseball for Mount View and was a pivotal component of the teams' successes across the board. On the pitch, Wren was a sweeper and team captain, nabbing Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B first-team all-conference honors as coach Tom Ballard said Wren was one of the more dominant defenders in the league. On the court, Wren was a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B second-team all-conference selection and Mount View's top offensive and defensive threat as a 6-foot-3-inch forward. On the diamond, Wren was the team's most valuable player as he pitched and played shortstop. On the mound, Wren was a workhorse as nearly all of his starts were complete-game efforts, while he “was one of the team's best hitters,” according to coach Tom Ballard, as he hit more than .300 from the cleanup position, and was one of the league's best all-around players.