SEARSPORT — It is no secret Makenzie Alley is a sensational athlete. For four years, by and large, she was the heartbeat of girls sports at Searsport District High School.

And if it were, the secret is decidedly out as she has been named the 2020-21 Courier Publications/VillageSoup schoolgirl athlete of the year.

Alley was selected from a talented pool of finalists, including Mount View’s Hannah Coolen, Belfast’s Lillie Mitchell and Lia Frazee and Medomak Valley’s Abby Lash.

In her senior year, Alley was a three-sport athlete for Searsport, where she played soccer, basketball and softball for the Vikings. On the pitch, Alley scored seven goals in a pandemic-shortened five games, while on the hardwood, she averaged roughly 25 points and also collected her 1,000th career varsity point. In softball, she batted .267, with 21 hits (4 doubles, 2 triples), eight RBIs and 24 runs. She helped lead the Vikings to the state Class D softball championship. She was second-team all-conference in softball.

Now a freshman at the University of Maine in Orono where she studies chemical engineering, Alley said “my initial reaction was disbelief” upon learning she had been chosen the media company’s top all-around female athlete for nine high schools in Waldo, Knox and Lincoln counties.

“Once I got over the disbelief, all I could feel was gratefulness,” she said. “Not just for me, but for my teammates, school community, friends, and family who have supported me over the years. I wouldn’t have been motivated to work as hard as I could to be the best on the court, field, or pitch if it weren’t for them. My main objective was to make those whom I care about proud, and this award helps me feel as though I accomplished just that.”

“I am extremely proud of Kenz and her many athletic accomplishments, but I am most proud of the way she conducted herself, both on and off the field/court,” said her mother Jen. “All the goals, points and plays were so fun to watch, but it was all the things that don’t get recorded in a scorebook that mattered most. I am so proud of the way she represented her community and school, the mutual respect she shared with her coaches and opponents, and the leadership and support she gave her teammates, all while being one of the fiercest competitors I know.”

Alley gave her all in three sports, but said “my favorite is basketball because there is a rich history of this sport in my family.”

Indeed there is. The Alley name is synonymous with basketball excellence.

Her great uncle is Ordie Alley, who won more than 600 games as a high school basketball coach for Jonesport-Beals High School. Her grandfathers, Dale Kenney and Wendell Alley, won state titles as players in 1966 and 1956 for Jonesport High School and Beals High School (before the schools consolidated).

Her father, Shawn, was a 1,000-point scorer and mother, Jen, an all-star, both also for the Royals (she wears her mother’s number 22 in her three sports).

Her father’s first cousins Troy, has been a longtime hoop coach and currently coaches the Searsport boys; and Skipper, the Royal boys.

As they say, the apple does not fall far from the tree.

Alley’s 1000th point came in a home game in late winter of 2021 against Sumner of Sullivan. Like many schools last season due to the pandemic, spectators were not permitted in gymnasiums.

She netted 27 points in the 52-28 win over the Tigers — including her 1,000th point off a fast break — and later ended her high school career with 1,070 points.

Looking back on getting her 1,000th point, Alley said “relief” was the feeling that stuck with her the most.

“I didn’t realize how much pressure I had put on myself during that season,” she said. “What was especially cool about scoring my 1,000th point was the fact that my dad actually scored his against Sumner as well. Also, my mom coordinated with the administration to safely allow some of my family members to watch the game in the cafeteria, so I was completely surprised when I walked in there after the game. I had always envisioned scoring my thousandth point in a packed gym, so it really meant a lot to me when my mom pushed and pushed for at least some of my family to be there.”

“Everyone knew Makenzie Alley,” said Viking hoop coach Mel Grant. “They knew what she was gonna bring night in and night out. She was the ultimate teammate and without a hesitation put her team on her back and led. Some kids take practices off, so to speak. This young lady worked just as hard in practice as she did a game. She means a lot to our school, our basketball family and certainly me. What people don’t know about her is she’s an even better person.”

While scoring one’s 1,000th point is a tough individual accomplishment to top, ending one’s high school career with a state team championship for Alley was the icing on the cake.

And that is exactly what Alley and her Viking softball teammates did with an 8-3 win over previously-undefeated Ashland on June 19 in the state Class D championship at Coffin Field in Brewer.

“I will never forget what it felt like when [starting pitcher] Ana [Lang] threw the last pitch,” Alley said. “I ended my high school career in the best way that I could have. It made moving on much easier for me, and I will never forget it.”

“Kenz is a phenomenal athlete,” said Viking softball coach Christin Obrey. “She worked very hard over her four years of softball to help bring home a state championship. Even when she was injured during the season and could not physically participate she was still at every practice encouraging her teammates. Her love for the game shines through her and onto her teammates which made a huge difference in our team’s success.”

Alley played shortstop for much of her senior season before she hyperextended her knee and sprained her ankle running for first base in a game against Orono.

She gritted through it and missed no time, though coach Obrey had Alley shift to third base for defensive purposes.

“I hated to give up my spot, but I trusted my coach to do what is right for the team,” Alley said. “Myself and the team’s mentality was basically to focus on one game at a time. We all knew what our goal was and how possible it was to achieve that goal with Ana on the mound.”

That, and “Advil, some tape and determination.”

“It definitely still bothered me quite a bit and still does at times, but I am beyond fortunate that it wasn’t a serious injury overall,” Alley said. “From what I was told, it was a pretty scary sight. The Orono coaches and team saw what happened more clearly than anyone since it happened right in front of their dugout. With that being said, they felt the need to send me flowers and a get well card. I was absolutely blown away by their kindness. Receiving those flowers was by far one of the nicest things anyone has ever done for me.”

Alley had a single and three runs in the first three rounds of the playoffs, but had a two-single, two-run, three-stolen base performance in the state final. Including laying down a perfectly-placed bunt through the infield shift to bring in the game’s first run.

“Our first goal was to win the quarter game, then the semi game, then the regional game, and then states,” she said. “With that being said, when we did win the gold, it was an overwhelming feeling of accomplishment and achievement to be the best of the best. The team worked so hard all season, and all of that hard work and determination paid off.”

Alley said she typically lifts weights either before or after practices, which helped in her athletic development, but staying sharp between the ears was paramount to her and her team’s successes.

“Overall, I tried to keep my mind focused on sports even when I wasn’t at practice or a game,” she said. “My primary objective was to be a better player and teammate, and one of the most important ways to do that is to keep your head in it regardless of where you are or what you’re doing.”

Alley enjoys many of the same activities as her peers, but she is just as successful in the kitchen it seems as she is in the realm of athletics.

“She bakes whenever her busy schedule allows,” said her mom. “That’s her happy place. She can bake just about anything, and always all from scratch. Breads, cakes, cupcakes, pies, cookies. She kept her coaches and teammates sugared up from season to season.”

“I’m a major stress baker,” Alley said. “So whenever I have free time, I’m usually in the kitchen. Thankfully, I don’t like to eat what I make.”

Alley has enjoyed her college experience, thus far, making a transition from one of the smaller high schools in the state to the largest university in Maine. Though she is not playing sports nor participating in intramurals — yet — she has a gym membership and “choose to spend my time away from homework there.”

“I will most likely participate in intramurals once I feel like I’ve got a feel for things,” she said. “I’m actually in a couple of chemical engineering clubs, and if they chose to form a basketball intramural team, then I am definitely sold. My classes are by far the hardest classes I’ve ever had to take, so I feel like I need to prioritize my grades as much as I can.”

And while she now is a Black Bear, her heart very much remains as a Viking in her hometown.

“I may not be in high school anymore, but I definitely think about my school community all the time,” Alley said. “They are what made me who I am today, and I wouldn’t have been able to take the next step in my life if it weren’t for them and the experiences we shared.”