Following the conclusion of each high school calendar year, the Courier Publications/VillageSoup sports staff selects the best of the best from the Midcoast's athletic landscape, then highlights a handful of them and, eventually, spotlights two.

The task of whittling down a batch of semifinalists to finalists and, ultimately, to two recipients can be tough, especially with so much athletic talent in the three area counties.

This year was no different as student-athletes from Knox, Waldo and Lincoln counties were considered for the distinction of 2017-18 Courier Publications/VillageSoup high school boys and girls athlete of the year.

After 10 male and female semifinalists were whittled to five finalists for each gender — and after much deliberation among the most deserving of the two batches of finalists — the athletes of the year have been selected.

On the boys side, Oceanside High School senior Mike Norton Jr. was chosen from a talented group of finalists — which included Belfast’s Ricky Smith, Oceanside’s Titus Kaewthong, Medomak Valley’s Eli Miller and Searsport’s Charlie Spiegel — as the Courier Publications/VillageSoup schoolboy athlete of the year.

It was the third straight year Norton was named a finalist and his first athlete-of-the-year honor.

On the girls side, Medomak Valley High School senior Gabby DePatsy was chosen from a talented group of finalists — including Vinalhaven’s Gilleyanne Davis-Oakes and Deja Doughty and Belfast’s Junne Robertson-McIntire and Kelsey Mehuren — as the Courier Publications/VillageSoup schoolgirl athlete of the year.

It was the third straight year DePatsy was named a finalist and her first athlete-of-the-year honor.

For years, the honors were exclusive to student-athletes in Knox and Lincoln counties, but Waldo County student-athletes became eligible for the distinction in 2009-10.

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 considered for athlete-of-year honors.

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: and

The athletes of the year will receive a free year subscription to one of the company’s print newspaper or online websites, in addition to a gift from the Courier Publications/VillageSoup sports department.

DePatsy, a senior, was a three-sport athlete for Medomak Valley who played soccer, basketball and softball for the Panthers. On the pitch, DePatsy played defense and played a role in bottling up the top players on opposing offenses. On the hardwood, DePatsy averaged 19.8 points, 9.1 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 2.2 steals and one block, while shooting 69 percent from the foul line and amassing nearly 40 3-pointers. She was named Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A first-team all-conference and was also tabbed to play in the McDonald’s Senior All-Star game. On the diamond, she excelled in the pitching circle and at the plate as she earned first-team all-conference honors. At the plate, she batted .361, with 22 hits (4 doubles, triple, 2 home runs), 10 RBIs, a .409 on-base percentage and .557 slugging percentage. In the circle, she boasted a 1.78 earned run average and allowed 38 runs (21 earned) on 69 hits and 94 strikeouts.

Norton, a senior, was a three-sport athlete for Oceanside as he played football, basketball and baseball for the Mariners. On the gridiron, Norton was a dominant force on both sides of the ball as he was named to the Big 11 Conference’s first team at both running back and linebacker. On offense, he rushed for 1,869 yards, 242 receiving yards and ended the season with an astounding 30 touchdowns. On defense, he had 94 tackles and also amassed 12 quarterback sacks. On the hardwood, the 6-foot 2-inch guard/forward was a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B first-team all-conference selection as he averaged 19.6 points, 10.1 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 3.6 steals and 1.0 blocks and could change a game’s momentum at a moment’s notice with an emphatic block or a slam dunk. On the diamond, he batted .411, with 23 hits, 14 runs, five RBIs and 18 stolen bases.

More in-depth stories on Norton and DePatsy will appear in the future.

Courier Publications' sports staff can be reached by email at or by phone at 594-4401.