ORONO, Maine — Orono High School senior Camille Kohtala has idolized former Lake Region of Naples and University of Georgia track star Kate Hall since she was 12 years old.
Now, her name appears just below Hall in the Maine track and field record books.
Kohtala long-jumped 19 feet, 4 inches, during Saturday’s Penobscot Valley Conference-Eastern Maine Indoor Track League Small School championship meet at the University of Maine’s New Balance Field House. The effort is the second best ever by a Maine schoolgirl behind Hall’s record of 20-4 3/4.
“Kate has always been my role model and my inspiration,” said Kohtala. “It’s cool to be second to her.”
Kohtala, daughter of Orono High boys basketball coach Ed Kohtala, also won the 200- (26.68) and 400-meter (1:01.34) dashes to lead the Red Riots to the girls title. Her 30 points also earned her the girls Small School Performer of the Meet honor.
The Orono girls scored 108 points to finish 26 points ahead of runner-up George Stevens Academy of Blue Hill. Central of Corinth (60) was third followed by Bucksport (51), Penquis Valley of Milo (28), Mattanawcook Academy of Lincoln (23), Ellsworth (14), Sumner of East Sullivan (10) and Lee Academy (4).
Hall later jumped 22-5 at a national high school meet in North Carolina to set the national standard.
Kohtala, whose previous best was 18-2, said she wanted to jump 19 feet but wasn’t expecting it.
“It was definitely a dream but there is a difference between a dream and a realistic goal,” she said.
Kohtala credited Cymeria Robshaw of Penquis with providing her with the motivation to accomplish it as she thrives under pressure.
“Cymeria jumped 18-2 right before me and that had been been my PR (personal record). So I said to myself ‘Now it’s time to really go. So I backed my mark up a little bit, took really huge, intense steps and got a really good takeoff,” said Kohtala.
The Orono trio of Kohtala, freshman Eleanor Tyne and junior Maggie Coutts combined for 84 points.
Tyne racked up 28 points by winning the mile (6 minutes, 0.56 seconds)and 800 (2:38.03) and finishing second in the pole vault while Coutts tallied 26 points by triumphing in the pole vault (8 feet) and taking seconds in the 55-meter hurdles and the triple jump.
Robshaw won the triple jump (35-7 1/4) and the 55 dash (7.31). The other event winners were GSA’s Grace Broughton (55 hurdles, 9.74), Central’s Tori Hallett (shot put, 26-4 3/4), Ellsworth’s Emma McKechnie (high jump, 4-10), the GSA 4×800 relay team of Lannea Zentz, Tess Williamson, Josie Czuj and Gabriyah Gadsby (12:11.36), and GSA’s 4×200 unit of Zentz, Broughton, Elia O’Hara and Susanna Jakub (1:56.21).
The Ellsworth boys captured the small-school title by racking up 146 points. Orono was second with 82 followed by Central (79), Bucksport (41), GSA (32), Mattanawcook Academy (17), Bangor Christian (16) and Sumner (4).
Ellsworth coach Darren Richardson said his team exceeded expectations.
Sophomore Henry Scheff led the way for the Eagles as he won the 55 hurdles (8.62) and the high jump (6-0) while also earning a third in the triple jump en route to being named the performer of the meet.
“Henry’s previous best in the high jump was 5-8 and today he went 6 feet,” noted Richardson, who added that several other Eagles also set personal bests.
The other winners for Ellsworth were Matt Shea in the mile (4:53.12), Nate Mason in the long jump (19-10), Beck Deeny in the triple jump (38-9 1/4) and Nicholas Cormier in the two-mile (10:56.61). Shea was second to Cormier in the two-mile and Cormier was second to Shea in the mile.
Bucksport’s Carter Tolmasoff won the 55 meters (6.73) and the 200 (23.90) and teammate Nathaniel Sawyer won the 400 (53.42). GSA’s Thomas Bradshaw was the winner in the 200 (2:08.91), Bangor Christian’s Aaron Bird claimed the pole vault (11-0) and Central’s Luke Preble captured the shot put (43-0).
Central’s team of Ian Wright, Joey Cormier, Cody Raymond and Liam Velgouse won the 4×800 relay in 9:19.83 and Bucksport was the winner in the 4×200 (1:38.83) with a team of Sawyer, Gabriel Stegner, Jade Smith and Tolmasoff.
Mattanawcook Academy’s Cayden Spencer-Thompson did not participate because he was taking his ACTs. He had been entered in the long jump and the triple jump but because he didn’t show up for the long jump due to the ACTs, under EMITL rules, he couldn’t participate in any other events.