Orono sweeps PVC small-school track championships – Bangor Daily News

By Ernie Clark, BDN Staff
Posted May 28, 2016, at 7:44 p.m.


DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — Lauren Stoops is known for her nurturing instincts around the Orono High School girls track and field team and as a senior is quite accepting of the description.

“It’s a give and take,” said the Red Riots’ veteran sprinter and hurdler. “You’ve got to work hard and you’ve got to take care of your teammates. A lot of people call me ‘Mom’ as a joke because it will be cold and I’ll tell someone to put on a sweatshirt or it will be sunny and I’ll ask if anyone needs sunscreen and if they need it I’ll put it on them.”

Orono’s Lauren Stoops (center) and teammate Katie O’Brien (left) finish first and second in the 200 meters during the PVC Small School Track Championships Saturday at Dover-Foxcroft. (Ernie Clark/BDN)

So it came as no surprise that after Stoops won three individual events and sparked Orono’s 4×400 relay team to a conference record Saturday that she was just as excited about the efforts of a younger teammate in helping the four-time defending Class C state champions to another Penobscot Valley Conference small-school championship.

“(Sophomore) Katie O’Brien got a bunch of PRs today, I was so proud of her,” said Stoops. “I’ve tried to take her under my wing and she did a fantastic job today.”

Orono dominated the girls and boys competitions during the meet at Oakes Field on the campus of Foxcroft Academy — the last event before the participating schools will return here next Saturday for the Class C state meet.

The Orono girls won a stunning 14 of the 19 individual events to total 237 points, nearly triple that of second-place George Stevens Academy of Blue Hill (79.5). Caribou was third with 75 points, followed by Central of Corinth (61) and Bucksport (24) in the 14-school field.

Record-setting junior Jake Koffman won all three throwing events as the Red Riots cruised to a 194-103 victory over runner-up Caribou in the boys division, with Washington Academy of East Machias (64), George Stevens (60) and Mattanawcook Academy of Lincoln (30) rounding out the top five.

Stoops and Washington Academy junior Michaiah Robinson, who swept the boys sprints, were named the meet’s outstanding performers while Orono’s Chris Libby was voted PVC small-school coach of the year for both boys and girls.

Stoops was on her game early in the meet, dipping below 13 seconds in the 100 dash for the first time this spring en route to finishing 1-2 with O’Brien in 12.94 seconds.

“When I saw my father (Kyle), he gave me the look and I knew I had done it,” said Stoops. “I always look at him because he’s always looking at the time.”

After winning the 300 hurdles in 46.57, Stoops’ time of 27.05 in the 200 led her and O’Brien to another 1-2 finish before she capped off her day as the first leg of a record-setting PVC 4×400 relay team that also featured juniors Becky Lopez-Anido, Kassidy Dill and Tia Tardy.

“I trust my girls,” said Stoops after Orono won the 4×800 in 4:07.29, 0.14 seconds faster than the Red Riots’ 2015 time. “I know they’re not going to give up on me or ever give a half-effort. I know they’re going to pour their hearts into the race so it’s comforting for me as a senior in my last PVCs to know they’re going to give it their all. That’s nice.”

Tardy, Orono’s star distance runner, also finished 1-2 with teammate Hannah Steelman in the 1,600 with a time of 5:03.40 and anchored the Red Riots’ 4×800 relay (9:52.23), teaming with Lopez-Anido, Steelman and Dill to win the day’s first event.

Senior Emma Honey won the long jump (15-11) and triple jump (32-9¾), while other Orono event winners were Kylie Gray in the 1,600 race walk (8:47.27), Lopez-Anido in the 800 (2:23.43), Steelman in the 3,200 (12:09.67), Lauren Melanson in the discus (98-6), Allison Pickering in the pole vault (10-0) and Pickering, Honey, O’Brien and freshman Camille Kohtala in the 4×100 relay (52.60).

Also crowned individual conference champions were Caribou’s JoJo Fields in the 100 hurdles (17.44), Central’s Sydney Allen in the 400 (1:01.15), Mattanawcook Academy of Lincoln’s Kelsey Kneeland in the high jump (4-8), Morgan Dauk of GSA in the javelin (112-9) and Bucksport’s Mavis Taungatu’a in the shot put (35-6¾).

Koffman, who will pursue an all-class state record in the discus next week, broke his own PVC record by more than 17 feet with a best of 179-6 — 53 feet farther than his nearest competition

“Things went pretty well. I’m happy I broke the record,” said Koffman, who threw a state-best 186-3 at a meet in Old Town two weeks ago. “I was looking to throw it a little further but I’m still really happy with what I did.”

Koffman also swept the javelin (156-11) and shot put (45-4½) — winning the shot while throwing with his opposite (left) hand due to a nagging right wrist injury that doesn’t bother him in his other events.

Orono’s Keenan Collett (left) and teammate Stephen Nelson battle for victory in the 300 hurdles during the PVC Small School Track Championships Saturday at Dover-Foxcroft. (Ernie Clark/BDN)

Keenan Collett and Stephen Nelson finished 1-2 in the 110 and 300 hurdles for Orono, with Collett winning the 110 and Nelson the victor in the 300.

The Red Riots also swept the relays. Jacob Fandel, Matt Keresey, Jonathan Steelman and Tristan Butterfield won the 4×800 in 8:29.72; Sam Honey, Collett, Nelson and Trent Lick were victorious in the 4×100 (45.67); and Butterfield anchored Honey, Tony Manev and Lick in the 4×400 (3:43.77).

Robinson broke a 21-year-old PVC record while winning the 400 in 50.16 and also won the 100 (11.30) and 200 (23.17).

Freshman Cayden Spencer-Thompson scored all of Mattanawcook’s points by winning all three jumping events. He won the high jump at 5-10, the long jump at 20-9 and the triple jump at 42-3¼.

GSA junior John Hassett shook off the heat to win the 800 in an impressive 1:58.98 after also triumphing in the 1,600 (4:36.19).

Other PVC boys champions were Evan Desmond of Caribou in the race walk (7:08.95), teammate Chatu Karunasiri in the 3,200 (11:06.55) and Bucksport pole vaulter Johann Bradley (13-0).

From Sub 5 – Girls ResultsBoys Results

Old Town softball team rallies past Orono in Cancer Awareness slugfest – Bangor Daily News

Orono’s Tianna Milton pitches to Old Town during their softball game Thursday in Orono. [Ashley L. Conti | BDN photo]

By Larry Mahoney, BDN Staff
Posted May 26, 2016, at 9:48 p.m.

ORONO, Maine — It wasn’t July 4th, but there was no shortage of fireworks Thursday at the Orono High School softball field.

Two softball teams combined for five homers in Old Town’s wild 20-12 victory while Orono High School’s baseball and softball seniors were honored and two courageous girls, one from each school, were recognized for their battles with cancer in the Cancer Awareness game.

Orono High School junior Emily LeClair is the Red Riots’ starting first baseman after several months of chemotherapy and radiation sent her lymphoma into remission, and Old Town High School freshman Gabby Sherman is making significant progress in her battle with brain cancer. Sherman is hoping to play softball next season.

Orono jumped out to a 7-2 lead on two homers by junior shortstop Katelyn Richards, a three-run shot in the first inning and a grand slam in the second, but the Coyotes scored the next 18 runs before Orono pushed across five in the seventh.

Senior shortstop Mikayla Richards belted a solo homer in the fifth for Old Town and a three-run shot in the seventh, and sophomore Mckenna Smith had a three-run homer and picked up the win with five innings of five-hit, five-run relief.Smith threw four scoreless innings while her mates built the 20-7 lead before surrendering the five runs in the seventh.

Class B Old Town improved to 10-3, and Class C Orono fell to 9-5 after having its six-game winning streak snapped.

“We got off to a bad start, but then we started focusing, and we timed [Orono pitcher Tianna Milton] up pretty well,” said Old Town’s Richards, adding that both of her home runs “felt good coming off the barrel of the bat.”

The Coyotes used a six-run fourth-inning rally to take an 8-7 lead.

Kayla Hayward doubled to trigger the rally, Olivia King singled and Olivia Westura delivered the first run with a bunt on which she was ruled safe at first when the first baseman came off the bag.

Natalie St. Louis walked, and Smith reached on an infield error to drive in another run.

Olivia Albert ripped a two-run double over the right fielder’s head to make it 7-6, and the final two runs scored on groundouts by Caitlyn King and Lauren Gasaway.

Richards’ solo homer and Smith’s three-run shot highlighted a seven-run fifth inning before Richards’ three-run homer keyed a five-run seventh inning.

Smith came on at the outset of the third inning and retired 12 of the first 14 hitters she faced with nine strikeouts before Orono rallied in the seventh.

“I knew I needed to throw strikes,” said Smith.

“It was a great comeback,” said Old Town coach Jenn Plourde. “Mckenna shut them down and our bats came alive.”

“Both teams can hit,” said Orono’s Richards. “I play with a lot of their girls, and they’re very respectable players. They’re fun to play against.”

“It was pretty crazy,” said LeClair, who singled and nearly homered in the seventh only to have her ball hit the fence for a two-run double.

“Our girls hit the ball well,” said Orono coach Kristen Espling. “It’s good stuff for our program to play these better teams.”

Richards had a single to go with her two homers for Old Town. Smith had a double and single to go with her homer; Hayward doubled and singled, and St. Louis and King singled twice each.

Orono’s Richards had a double to go with her two homers, and Lizzie White had three singles. LeClair was the other repeat hitter.

Orono High School runner on track to be one of Maine’s best – Bangor Daily News

Orono High School’s Tia Tardy (center) listens to music before running the 1600-meter run during a track meet at the University of Maine in Orono [Ashley L. Conti | BDN photo]

By Pete Warner, BDN Staff
Posted May 26, 2016, at 4:50 p.m.

ORONO, Maine — Tia Tardy has a hard time explaining how much she loves to run.

“Unless you’re a runner and you’re really dedicated and you have that same passion, it’s hard to understand,” she said.

“You have those days where you just feel like you could go forever.”

Tardy has coupled her enthusiasm for running with considerable God-given talent and a relentless work ethic during a successful track and field/cross-country career.

The Lincoln native, who transferred to Orono last fall from Mattanawcook Academy, continues to set the pace among the state’s female distance runners. She looks to help the Red Riots claim a fifth straight Class C outdoor state championship while reaching some personal goals.Going into Saturday’s Penobscot Valley Conference Small School championship meet at Dover-Foxcroft, Tardy owns the state’s best times, regardless of class, in the 800 meters (2 minutes,

“She is certainly in the conversation of the greatest female distance runner in the state,” Orono head coach Chris Libby, who now works with Tardy after coaching against her, said.

He explained it is her versatility that helps her stand out.

“She hasn’t run the fastest times in state history, but she’s better rounded than some of those [all-time great] girls were,” Libby said.

Two weeks ago, Tardy was the top-seeded athlete in Maine Class C track in five events, including the 200 and 400 meters. Teammate Lauren Stoops has since overtaken her in the 200 (26.51).

“She’s a phenomenal athlete. She’s strong and she’s flexible and she’s explosive,” Libby said.

Tardy, who has been bothered by some soreness in her right leg, is gearing up for the stretch run by focusing her efforts on the 800 and the 1,600.

The sound of music

Tardy’s decision to transfer had nothing to do with her athletic interests.

“I heard that they had a really great music program. They offered show choir, which is something that I’ve kind of always dreamed about doing,” she said.

Tardy plays the flute and the ukulele and is teaching herself guitar and piano.

“Music is just as important as running is to me,” she said. “It’s good for me to have that balance.”

The move meant leaving her friends in Lincoln, adapting to a different school and meshing with new classmates and teammates.

“I was a little nervous about fitting in and stuff, but once I got here everyone was really welcoming,” Tardy said.

She spends a lot of time on the road, but the 45-minute trip from Lincoln to Orono gives her a chance to think, mostly about running.

“I take a look at some of my upcoming goals, what I want to do at meets,” Tardy said.

Big fish in a bigger pond

Tardy was far and away the most outstanding runner at Mattanawcook, which fielded a small squad and has a gravel track.

At Orono, she is on a much larger team, one that motivates her further. She grew up with Cassidy Dill and had competed against classmates Becky Lopez Anido and Hannah Steelman.

“It’s a wonderful group of people. Everyone’s very like team and like family,” Tardy said. “It’s good to be able to come here and like kind of feel like I’m a part of something big.”

Orono’s talented, deep roster enables the athletes to chase personal goals while contributing to the team’s goals. Tardy won the 800, the mile and the 2-mile in February to help Orono capture the Class B indoor state title.

“We listen to Tia and find out what her goals are and what she would like to attain by the end of the season,” Libby said, “and we have the team dynamic where we’re trying to experience success.”

Tardy said the competition with her Orono teammates has been beneficial.

“They always gave me a run for my money. Now to be able to call them teammates is really something special,” she said.

A better, structured plan

Tardy has been blessed with good coaches during her young career. She credited middle school Dave Cox with having an early impact on her career.

Most recently, she has benefited from the help of her cousin, David Nantkes, who was a standout runner at Mattanawcook in the early 1980s. He was an assistant cross-country coach at MA in 2014.

The two have since trained extensively together.

“I was kind of a little discouraged with what I had been getting [for times] and didn’t really know what to do,” Tardy said. “He came in and was trying to push me and motivate me and show me a path.”

Tardy began to focus more on the 800 and the mile and more refined training including the philosophy from nationally renowned coach Jack Daniels’ philosophy that uses set distances, times and paces for runs.

“I kind of helped get her on a training plan that made sense. We found something that really clicked for her,” Nantkes said.

Nantkes said Tardy also benefited from working with Portland personal trainer Adam Hanrahan.

Building toward the future

Tardy already has won 11 individual state titles in track and cross-country during her first three years of high school. She is hungry for bigger and better things, in the short term and down the road.

Tardy plans to compete in college, where some coaches already have suggested she become a “multi” athlete so she can pursue the pentathlon and the heptathlon. It is more likely she will wind up running the 800 and/or the 1,600.

She has some lofty long-term goals.

“I would like to see myself at least qualify for the [U.S. Olympic] Trials. I think that I’m very capable of it,” Tardy said. “It’s going to take a lot of work, clearly, but I’m really dedicated and it’s something that I’ve always dreamed of.”

Tardy hopes to follow in the footsteps of two former Maine high school stars, Carsyn Koch of Washburn and Casco’s Kate Hall, both of whom have qualified for the Trials. Koch did so in the 800 (2:02.39) and Hall qualified in the long jump (21 feet, 5½ inches).

“It’s cool to know them and be like, this could be me, hopefully,” Tardy said.

Nantkes, who has run more than 1,000 miles alongside Tardy, said mastering the mental part of racing is key for her. Participating in the New England Championships and the New Balance Indoor Nationals, where she won the Emerging Elite mile in March, helped build confidence.

“Tia has come out of nowhere in the matter of a year and a half,” Nantkes said.

“She’s always believed in herself, but there’s different levels,” he added. “As you get better, the competition gets better.”

Libby’s aim is to keep Tardy and all of his athletes focused on short-term pursuits, but he praised her overall makeup as she moves forward.

“She certainly holds herself to super high standards,” he said. “As coaches, there are times that some of our efforts are spent trying to bring her down to earth a little bit so she doesn’t expect too much all at once. We just have to keep her eyes on the goal she has set with herself and provide her the workouts that are going to help get her there.”

Change of Venue. Weather sends Noel Coward to the Cafeteria


SYNC 2016 Week 4 – Between lighthearted childhood & the dark danger of adulthood — Free to download

SYNC - Free Summer Audiobooks from Teens AudioFile
The precarious balance between lighthearted childhood and the dark danger of adulthood…
Finding your own voice may require moving beyond believing what you thought you knew of yourself in Tamara Ireland Stone’sEvery Last Word and Gregory Maguire’s Egg & Spoon.
Download the free pair from SYNC »here.
This Week’s Audiobooks
Every Last Word
By Tamara Ireland Stone
Read by Amy Rubinate
Published by Ideal Audiobooks
Samantha looks just like the rest of the popular girls, but she has a secret her friends would never understand: Purely-Obsessional OCD, and a stream of dark thoughts and worries that consume her. Then Sam meets Caroline, who introduces her to Poet’s Corner, a hidden room claimed by a tight-knit group of misfits. Sam is drawn to them, especially a guitar-playing guy with a talent for verse. Slowly, she begins to feel more “normal” than she ever has…until she finds a new reason to question her sanity and all she holds dear.
“Rubinate’s characterizations and a surprising ending enhance this story.”
Egg & Spoon
By Gregory Maguire
Read by Michael Page
Published by Brilliance Audio
Master storyteller Gregory Maguire surpasses himself in a dazzling, tour de force novel for listeners and fantasy lovers of all ages.
“The character may be unreliable, but we believe his aged and patrician voice and hang on to his every measured word as he challenges us to ponder the nature of fate.”
Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award, 2015 Audies Winner
Thank you to Ideal Audiobooks and Brilliance Audio for generously providing this week’s titles.
Available for a Limited Time
Remember — grab these titles before they are replaced by a new pairing on 6/2/2016! While the title availability is time-limited, your listening time is not. Once you have downloaded the MP3 files, the audiobook is yours to listen to at your leisure.Downloading Tips
Get the OverDrive App to access free SYNC audiobooks. The app is available for every major desktop and mobile platform, including Windows, Mac, iPad, iPhone, Android phones and tablets, Kindle, NOOK, Windows 8 PC and tablet, Blackberry, and Windows Phone.

Orono, Old Town to play cancer awareness softball game on Thursday

By Larry Mahoney, BDN Staff
Posted May 25, 2016, at 8:07 a.m.

Two quality softball teams who are also rivals will square off on Thursday in Orono.

But, more importantly, the game between the Class B Old Town Coyotes and Class C Orono Red Riots will be a cancer awareness contest.

And cancer directly impacts both schools.

Orono’s starting first baseman is junior Emily LeClair, who was treated for lymphoma and is in remission, according to Orono coach Kristen Espling.

Old Town freshman Gabby Sherman used to play softball but is undergoing chemotherapy for a brain tumor which has prevented her from playing.LeClair and Sherman will each throw out a ceremonial first pitch before the 4:30 p.m. game.

It will be the third straight year Orono and Old Town will play a cancer awareness game.

Old Town High School coach Jenn Plourde played her first cancer awareness game against John Bapst of Bangor four years ago. She explained that the teams will be wearing colors that have been affiliated with those specific types of cancer.

“Gray represents brain cancer and purple represents lymphoma,” said Plourde. “We’ll be wearing all gray uniforms with purple writing on our shirts and Orono will be wearing all purple with gray writing.”

Espling pointed out that it will also be Seniors Day for the Orono softball and baseball teams.

“There’s going to be a big celebration. The Orono High School boosters club will be holding a barbecue and we will also be accepting donations. All the money from the barbecue and the donations will go to Emily LeClair’s team at the Champion the Cure Challenge on August 20th,” said Espling.

The fundraiser for cancer research will be held at the Lafayette Family Cancer Center in Brewer.

“The Lafayette Center has been very special to Emily and her family,” said Espling who added that members of the field hockey and softball teams are involved in fundraising projects.

Espling said Plourde has done a “nice job coordinating this event” and that Plourde came up with the idea of playing the game in Orono.

“They had already done some [fundraising] things for Emily so I thought it would be good to have it there,” said Plourde.

“This is going to be pretty special,” said Espling. “It’s nice to be able to dedicate this day to Emily and Gabby.”

Both coaches are also looking forward to the game.

Old Town is currently 9-3 and ranked fifth in Class B North while Orono is 9-4 and seventh in Class C North but knocked off previously undefeated Bucksport 7-6 last week.

“We’re pretty amped up,” said Espling whose Riots lost their season-opener to Old Town 13-1 on April 19 but will bring a six-game winning streak into the game.

“It should be a real good game. They beat Bucksport and are on an upswing,” Plourde said.

WABI-TV Play of the Week puts two of our students in competition

Our congratulations to Jake Koffman last week’s winner

May 20th PLAY OF THE WEEK (WABI TV5/CW) The winner of the Play of the Week this week is Jake Koffman.  The Orono junior tossed the discus last week 186 feet 3 inches.  No high school kid has ever done that in state history.

Jake may be saving his best for the state meet when he can actually set a state record.

Now we have two Orono students to vote for on WABI-TV

Cody (Peirce) Farnsworth at Speedway 95 Sport 4 Feature Winner

or Tianna Milton at the Bucksport game

Orono Softball Deals Bucksport First Loss

Vote for Tianna!

Fox The Maine Moment –  another Cody video