It has been a year of honoring Panther greatness and the highest level of achievement as Medomak Valley High School varsity athletic team state champions have been recognized, thanks to a concept by School Administrative District 40 athletic director Matt Lash that will come full circle this spring.

The Medomak Valley High School athletic department will recognize the 1995 state Class A softball champions on Wednesday, May 26 and the 1970 state Class B champions on Friday, May 28. The ceremonies will take place at 4 p.m., prior to the varsity games versus Rockland for softball and Lincoln Academy of Newcastle for baseball.

In the event of game rainouts, the state championship celebration ceremonies will still take place in the gym.

The 1995 Panther softball team included head coach Brad Robbins, assistant coach Charles Rasmussen, managers Jeff Kinney and Brian Sidelinger, and players Alice Bishop, Renee Grover, Portia Kelly, Melissa Nessmith, Tayler Nice, Rebecca Miller, Rebecca Rasmussen, Raquel Ross, Renee Ross, Alanna Starr, Samantha West and Christie Winchenbach. Charles Rasmussen is the dad of Rebecca Rasmussen and Raquel and Renee Ross are sisters.

Ironically, Charles Rasmussen will be honored twice, once as a coach of the softball team and again as a player on the baseball squad.

That Panther softball team finished 21-1. Medomak Valley scored 144 runs (6.5 average) and allowed 27 by opponents (1.2 per game). The Panthers posted nine shutouts that season, three of which came in the postseason. MVHS also was the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A champs thanks to  a 2-1 win over Cony of Augusta.

The Panthers defeated, in order in the Eastern Class A tournament, Skowhegan 2-0 in the quarterfinals, Cony 1-0 in the semifinals and Brewer 4-3 in the finals. The Panthers then beat Bonny Eagle of Standish 1-0 to capture the school’s only state softball championship.

The regional title game actually took two days to complete. Medomak Valley led Brewer 5-2 in the third inning in a Wednesday game and even had the bases loaded with no outs when the game was called off due to rain. Two days later, MVHS had to play the entire game over and then had to beat Bonny Eagle the next morning in the state final.

The 1970 Panther baseball team also earned plenty of distinction. The team, coached by Bob Green, included Tim Burns, Mark Conley, Pat Doherty, Rick Erickson, Greg Havener, Dick LaHaye, Charles Rasmussen, Wayne Sainio, Pete Savchick, Bill Stred, Lanny Winchenbach and Ronald Yattaw.

The Panthers finished 17-4, including 8-2 in the Knox-Lincoln League. Medomak Valley scored 142 runs (6.8 average) and allowed opponents 70 (3.3 per game). The Panthers beat Camden-Rockport 3-1 in the division playoffs and Lincoln Academy 3-2 in the Knox-Lincoln League championship.

In the West regional semifinals, the Panthers beat Winthrop 2-1. To win the regional championship, MVHS beat Noble 5-4. Forty years ago this spring, on June 8, the Panthers downed Dexter 6-1 to win the school’s first state athletic championship and only state baseball crown.

The 1970 Panthers also hold the distinction of winning the first Maine Principals’ Association-sponsored state Class B baseball championship.

The two upcoming ceremonies bring a close to a school year in which Lash and the MVHS athletic department will have honored all six of the school’s state championship teams, including 1970 baseball, with coach Bob Green; 1977 boys basketball, with coach Art Dyer; 1980 boys basketball, with coach Art Dyer; 1989 girls cross country, with coach George Gould; 1991 wrestling, with coach Doug Libby; and 1995 softball, with coach Brad Robbins.

“This project was something I wanted to do for several years,” Lash said. “My goal was to honor the teams, coaches and their accomplishments, but also to connect our current athletes with these special teams. Remembering the history of Medomak Valley and its athletic program is so important. It has been nice to see old faces and a pleasure to meet others for the first time. I enjoyed the many stories shared talking with players and coaches throughout the process. It has been a lot of work, but I am glad I was able to get many of those involved back together at Medomak one last time.”

Village NetMedia Regional Editor/Sports Director Ken Waltz can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail at kwaltz@villagesoup.com.