Orono girls rounding into championship form


Fans of the New England Patriots are well versed of the "Patriot Way," and how it has helped produce arguably the greatest professional sports dynasty of the 21st century.

In Maine high school track circles, the same can be said about the girls' program at Orono, and coach Chris Libby has crafted a winning tradition that Bill Belichick would be proud of.

And the scary news for the rest of Class C: The Red Riots are gliding towards postseason peak form, and appear to be well-constructed to add more trophies to a growing case.

The Riots concluded their regular season Wednesday in a multi-team PVC meet at the University of Maine, gearing up for next weekend's championship meets with a 204-point performance in a meet featuring many large-school contenders, including Hampden Academy, which placed second with 193 points.

Rounding out the top five schools were John Bapst (78), Bangor Christian (24) and Penquis (24).

The term "they don't rebuild, they reload" certainly applies to the Riots, as in spite of losing a talented senior class led by Hannah Steelman, enjoying an outstanding freshman campaign at Wofford College, Orono hasn't missed a beat.

That showed on Wednesday as they used talent and depth to conclude their regular season with a victory, and that should come as no surprise under the leadership of Libby, who cut his coaching teeth at Brewer under the legendary Dave Jeffrey.

Leading the Riots on Wednesday was junior Camille Kohtala, who picked up three individual wins in the long jump (16-11.75),  200 (27.18) and 300 hurdles (47.54).

Kohtala's classmate, Lauren Melanson, enjoyed another strong day in the throwing events, picking up a pair of second-place finishes while winning the discus with a heave of 110-7.

Orono's other individual winner was freshman Erin Gerbi in the 3,200, who covered the eight laps in 12:40.20.

Elsewhere, Hampden's Helen Shearer continues to establish herself as the large-school PVC favorite in the distance races, dominating the 1,600 and 800.

Shearer came home in 5:18.84 in the 1,600 and 2:31.10 in the 800.

In the boys' meet, it was Hermon winning with 151 points, while Hampden took second with 121 and John Bapst third with 101.

Orono (85.50) and Washington Academy (62) rounded out the top five.

James Petersen paced the Hawks' team triumph with a pair of individual victories, covering the 200 in 23.86 and the 400 in 51.52.

Ben Cotton of John Bapst was another multi-event winner, claiming the 100 in 11.60 the long jump with a mark of 21-5.

Bangor Christian's Austin Keib, one of the top throwers in Class C, picked up victories in the discus (141-9) and shot put (47-8).