High school sports

Courier Publications/VillageSoup showcases schoolboy athlete-of-year finalists

Ripley, Creamer, Miller, Hansen, Spiegel check in as five elite student-athletes
By Mark Haskell | Aug 07, 2019
Artwork by: Christine Dunkle

Rockland — Whether a state championship being pitched, individual titles pinned down or hurdled to or simply sensational individual efforts, the 2018-19 school year saw a wealth of tremendous accomplishments for high school male student-athletes throughout Knox, Waldo and a portion of Lincoln counties.

Now, the question becomes: Who, among those stalwarts, were the best of the best?

The Courier Publications/VillageSoup sports department — sports director Ken Waltz, associate sports director Mark Haskell and sports reporter Zack Miller — will attempt to answer that question as they begin their quest to sort out the 2018-19 Courier Publications/VillageSoup schoolboy athlete of the year.

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: knox.villagesoup.com and waldo.villagesoup.com.

A lengthy list of potential athlete-of-year candidates was whittled to 10 male semifinalists — and, ultimately, five finalists — by Waltz, Haskell and Miller.

Students from Oceanside High School of Rockland, 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 eligible for athlete-of-year honors.

The 2018-19 schoolboy athlete-of-the-year finalists are: Oceanside’s Ben Ripley, Medomak Valley’s Ryan Creamer and Eli Miller, Belfast’s Jack Hansen and Searsport’s Charlie Spiegel.

The five finalists were whittled from 10 semifinalists, the other five of whom included: Belfast’s Max Lewis, Mount View’s Elijah Allen and Matt Overlock, Camden Hills’ Bryce Tyler and Medomak Valley’s Erik Benner.

There were many other student-athletes considered for the top 10, but, ultimately, did not make the final lists.

As is the case with any list where one is determining a top all-around athlete for a full school year, the process is subjective. However, the final decision lies with the Courier Publications' sports staff on the schoolboy athlete of the year.

Athletes who excelled in three different sports, particularly who were given all-conference awards, receive more consideration given the fact their overall ability in a variety of sports makes the case for them being more well-rounded "athletes."

Two-sport athletes also are given consideration and, in rare cases, single-sport athletes, since one could argue that the athlete who focuses solely on perfection in one sport and outshines the competition in that sport should not be excluded.

A story on the top athlete will appear in a future newspaper and on the company's websites.

The 2018-19 athlete-of-the-year finalists and semifinalists, with a brief recap of notable accomplishments during the school year, follows, with athletes listed in alphabetical order:

Finalists

Creamer, a senior, was a three-sport athlete for Medomak Valley as he played soccer, basketball and baseball for the Panthers. On the soccer pitch, Creamer played striker and led the team in scoring with 10 goals and five assists, earning a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B South first-team all-conference selection. On the basketball court, Creamer was a team captain and averaged 10.4 points, three assists and 2.5 steals, while shooting 78 percent from the foul line and 54 percent from the floor. He also led a late-game comeback in a crucial late-season game against Mount Ararat of Topsham and hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to win the game for the Panthers. He also was a KVAC Class A South first-team all-conference selection. On the diamond, Creamer finished with a steady .273 batting average, with 15 hits, 12 RBIs and 17 runs at the plate, while on the mound, he was 6-1 with a 1.65 earned run average, with 34 strikeouts and five walks in 42.1 innings pitched.

Hansen, a junior, was a three-sport athlete for Belfast as he participated in football, indoor track and outdoor track and field for the Lions. On the gridiron Hansen, as a wide receiver, was a Class C Big 11 all-conference selection as he hauled in 14 catches for 496 yards and five touchdowns. As a defensive back, ht also had 25 solo tackles, 13 assists and two interceptions. In indoor track, Hansen was a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B first-team all-conference selection as he collected conference championships in the 55-meter hurdles, pole vault and long jump, while also going on to win state championships in the pole vault and long jump. In outdoor track, he also was a KVAC first-team all-conference selection and won state Class B titles in the triple jump and pole vault. He was the Class B athlete of the year in indoor and outdoor track.

Miller, a senior, was a two-sport athlete for Medomak Valley as he participated in football and wrestling for the Panthers. On the gridiron, Miller was a Big 11 all-conference honorable mention as he amassed 323 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns, 118 passing yards and two passing touchdowns and five two-point conversions, while also adding 39 tackles and 10 assists on defense. He also was tabbed to participate in the Lobster Bowl. On the mats, Miller capped off a tremendous unbeaten regular season as he was a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B first-team all-conference selection and finished an astounding 46-0, collecting conference, regional and state championships at the 160-pound weight class.

Ripley, a senior, was a two-sport athlete for Oceanside as he played football and baseball for the Mariners. On the gridiron, Ripley was a Class C Big 11 all-conference selection at running back and also was a conference player-of-the-year nominee as he amassed 1,052 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns, while he also collected a whopping 81 total tackles and 11 quarterback sacks on defense for Oceanside. On the diamond, Ripley was a KVAC first-team all-conference selection as he batted .423, with 22 hits, 17 runs, nine RBIs and swiped 13 bases in 13 attempts.

Spiegel, a senior, was a three-sport athlete for Searsport as he played soccer, basketball and baseball for the Vikings. On the pitch, Spiegel was primarily a defender but also spent some time at forward, where he was a Penobscot Valley Conference first-team all-conference selection with six goals and seven assists. On the hardwood, he was a PVC honorable mention as he averaged 16 points and 10 rebounds, but it was on the baseball diamond where Spiegel’s star shone the brightest. Spiegel was not only a PVC first-team all-conference selection, but also collected the conference’s pitcher of the year and overall player of the year awards, as well as being a finalist for the Dr. John Winkin Award, also known as “Mr. Maine Baseball.” In the regular season, Spiegel pitched 42 innings and allowed 20 runs (4 unearned) on 25 hits and 12 walks, with 78 strikeouts for a 2.29 earned run average. At the plate, Spiegel batted .528, with 19 hits (4 doubles, home run), 21 runs and nine RBIs. In three postseason games on the mound — and 15 total innings, where he led Searsport to the state Class D championship — Spiegel allowed one unearned run on six hits and four walks, with 18 strikeouts.

Semifinalists

Allen, a senior, was a two-sport athlete for Mount View as he played soccer and participated in outdoor track and field for the Mustangs. On the soccer pitch, Allen was named Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B first-team all-conference and was also the conference player of the year as he amassed 23 goals and 10 assists, leading the Mustangs to an undefeated regular season.

Benner, a senior, was a two-sport athlete for Medomak Valley as he was on the football and wrestling teams for the Panthers. As an offensive and defensive lineman, Benner was a Class C Big 11 all-conference honorable mention and was selected to participate in the Lobster Bowl. On the mats, Benner was tremendous as he was a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B first-team all-conference selection and pinned down conference, regional and state championships at the 220-pound weight class. He finished his senior season with an astounding 52-1 record.

Lewis, a senior, was a three-sport athlete for Belfast as he did soccer, tennis and outdoor track for the Lions. On the pitch, Lewis, as the team’s keeper, made 93 saves and was a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B first-team all-conference selection. On the tennis court, at third singles, Lewis was also a KVAC first-team all-conference selection as he helped the Lions swing to their first regional championship. He also was a KVAC second-team all-conference selection in outdoor track and field, as he specialized in high jump.

Overlock, a senior, was a two-sport athlete for Mount View as he played soccer and participated in outdoor track and field for the Mustangs. On the soccer pitch, Overlock made the transition from forward to fullback and, despite that fact, netted three goals and four assists and helped the Mustangs earn an undefeated regular season. Overlock then carried that success to outdoor track, where he collected a state Class C championship in the javelin.

Tyler, a senior, was a three-sport athlete for Camden Hills as he played soccer, ice hockey and lacrosse for the Windjammers. On the pitch, Tyler collected two goals and four assists and was “the most improved player on the team,” said coach Ryan Hurley. On the ice, Tyler, at right wing, was a Class B North third-team all star and netted 18 goals and eight assists. On the lacrosse field, he was named Kennebec Valley Atletic Conference second-team all-conference as he racked up 23 goals and eight assists in only nine regular-season games.

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