Despite COVID-19 doing its best to put a damper on the 2020-21 high school athletic seasons, there still were plenty of high spots for Midcoast student-athletes.

And now, a question: Who, of those athletes, were the best of the best?

The Courier Publications/VillageSoup sports staff — Ken Waltz, director; and Mark Haskell, associate director; along with Zack Miller, community editor and former sports reporter — will attempt to answer that question as the trio sorts out the media company’s 2020-21 schoolgirl athletes of the year.

Courier Publications publishes three weekly newspapers, The Courier-Gazette in Rockland, Camden Herald and Republican Journal in Belfast. The company also has two websites: stage.cg.10upmanaged.com and stage-villagesoup.cg.10upmanaged.com.

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

The 2020-21 schoolgirl athlete-of-the-year finalists are: Searsport’s Makenzie Alley; Mount View’s Hannah Coolen; Medomak Valley’s Abby Lash and Belfast’s Lillie Mitchell and Lia Frazee.

The five finalists were whittled from a list of semifinalists, who included Medomak Valley’s Annie Vannoy and Aly Creamer; Oceanside’s Abby Waterman; Camden Hills’ Caroline Contento; and Searsport’s Ana Lang.

As is the case with any list where one determines a top all-around athlete for a full school year (or, in some cases, less than a school year on the athletic front), the process is subjective. However, the final decision lies with the sports staff on its schoolgirl athlete of the year.

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

In rare cases, athletes who participate in a single sport are considered, since one could argue the athlete who focuses solely on perfection in one sport and outshines the competition in that sport should not be excluded.

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

The 2020-21 selection process proved to be just as unconventional as the previous year, with many, but not all, schools opting out of particular sports — either by choice or by mandate from the Maine Principals’ Association — in the fall and winter seasons.

In addition, the majority of conferences did not give all-conference honors in the fall and winter seasons, though some did when they had sports that were able to play seasons in their entirety.

Furthermore, some schools had seasons they were participating in cut short in the fall when the color-coded county designations shifted due to COVID-19, which canceled the remainder of campaigns for many squads.

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.

A story on the female athlete of the year will appear in the future.

The 2020-21 athlete-of-the-year finalists and semifinalists, with a recap of notable accomplishments during the previous school year, follows, with athletes listed in alphabetical order and their grades in 2020-21 from which they are being considered, listed:

Finalists

Alley, a senior, was a three-sport athlete for Searsport, where she played soccer, basketball and softball for the Vikings. On the pitch, Alley scored seven goals in five games played, while on the hardwood, she averaged roughly 25 points and also collected her 1,000th career varsity point. In softball, she batted .267 with 21 hits (4 doubles, 2 triples), eight RBIs and 24 runs. She helped lead the Vikings to the state Class D softball championship. She was second-team all-conference in softball.

Coolen, a junior, was a three-sport athlete for Mount View, where she played soccer, basketball and softball for the Mustangs. On the pitch, Coolen scored three goals and added two assists on a team that went unbeaten through five games, while on the basketball court, she averaged 14 points, eight rebounds, four assists and three steals. In softball, Coolen batted .412, with 21 hits (8 doubles, 3 triples, 3 home runs), 21 RBIs, 21 runs and 13 stolen bases. She also sported a .958 fielding percentage playing at shortstop (she also occasionally pitched). She was all-conference in softball.

Frazee, a junior, was a two-sport athlete for Belfast where she played soccer and participated in outdoor track and field for the Lions. On the pitch, Frazee played defensive back and did not record any statistics, but coach Brian Beaulieu said: “She is one of those rare athletes that I can put anywhere that is needed.” In outdoor track, Frazee captured individual state titles in the high jump (5 feet 4 inches) and the pole vault (11 feet 6 inches) and also won the conference championship in the pole vault (10-8). She was all-conference in outdoor track and field.

Lash, a senior, was a three-sport athlete for Medomak Valley, where she participated in soccer, basketball and outdoor track and field for the Panthers. On the pitch, Lash scored eight goals and added two assists in five games, while she also averaged 15 points on the hardwood. In outdoor track and field, she participated in the 4×100- and 4×400-meter relays in addition to the triple jump at the conference and state levels. Her 4×400 team finished third in the state championship and second in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference championships, while her 4×100 foursome finished fourth at KVACs and she was fourth in the triple jump. She was all-conference in track and field.

Mitchell, a senior, was a three-sport athlete for Belfast as she participated in cross country, basketball and outdoor track and field for the Lions. Mitchell was a steady contributor on the cross-country team before the season was canceled prior to conference and state championship races, but also went on to average 11 points, five rebounds, two assists and four steals on the basketball court. In outdoor track and field, Mitchell won the state Class B title in the long jump (16-2.5) and was third in the triple jump (33-9). She also was a member of the 4×100-meter relay team that won the conference championship and was third and fourth in the long and triple jumps. She was all-conference in outdoor track and field.

Semifinalists

Lang, a sophomore, was a rare one-sport athlete for Searsport, where she excelled in softball and helped lead the Viking to the state Class D championship. Lang batted .574 and had 27 hits (8 doubles, triple, home run), 18 RBIs, 11 runs scored and seven stolen bases. In the pitching circle, she sported a 1.36 earned-run average, allowed few earned runs and struck out an eye-popping 214 batters in the regular season. She had three no-hitters — including one in the playoffs — and also was named Penobscot Valley Conference pitcher and player of the year.

Contento, a senior, was a two-sport athlete for Camden Hills, where she played ice hockey and lacrosse for the Windjammers. Contento had no recorded stats for ice hockey, but played regular, impactful shifts on a boys team that won its “pod” championship. Windjammer coach John Magri said, “If she had chosen to play girls hockey, she would have had stats that put her in the top six girls players in the state.” In lacrosse, Contento racked up 36 goals and added seven assists. Contento, also a fine soccer player (Camden Hills did not play other schools in the fall), was all-conference in lacrosse.

Creamer, a junior, was a three-sport athlete for Medomak Valley, where she played soccer, basketball and softball for the Panthers. On the pitch, she scored three goals, while she averaged about eight points on the basketball court. In softball, she batted .389, with 23 hits (3 doubles, 4 triples, home run), 12 RBIs and 23 runs. In the pitching circle, she sported a 1.96 earned-run average and struck out 40 batters. She was all-conference in softball.

Waterman, a sophomore, was a three-sport athlete for Oceanside, where she played soccer, basketball and softball for the Mariners. On the soccer field she played center mid and stopper through the team’s four games, while she averaged 11 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and four steals on a basketball team that went undefeated and won its “pod” championship. On the softball field, she had 13 hits, including a home run, 12 runs batted in and eight runs scored.

Vannoy, a junior, was a two-sport athlete for Medomak Valley, where she played soccer and participated in outdoor track and field for the Panthers. On the pitch, Vannoy netted five goals and added four assists on a team that won four of five games, while she finished third in three separate events (400 meters, 800 meters, 4×400-meter relay) at the state Class B championships. She also won the conference championship in the 400 and 800 meters, while her 4×400 relay team finished second. She was all-conference in outdoor track and field.