Hempfield’s Mackenna Orie named Tribune-Review Westmoreland Girls Athlete of the Year

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Saturday, June 29, 2019 | 7:45 PM


Mackenna Orie took up track and field, throwing events in particular, because she watched her sister, Sam, heave heavy objects during meets.

It looked fun. Challenging and burdensome, maybe, but something she wanted to try.

Four years later, Orie is following in her sister’s footsteps as a Division I thrower. Sam Orie is a thrower at Navy. Mackenna Orie, a just-graduated senior from Hempfield, put together a decorated final season in the discus and shot put, and also made significant contributions in soccer.

For her efforts, she is the Tribune-Review Westmoreland Girls Athlete of the Year.

Norwin’s Emily Brozeski and Jessica Kolesar, Belle Vernon’s Lindsay Steeber, Bella Skatell of Greensburg Central Catholic, and Mia Lynn of Ligonier Valley also were considered.

A DePaul recruit, Orie won WPIAL Class AAA titles in the discus and shot put and took second and third, respectively, in the events at the PIAA championships. In the process, she set school records in both events — 153 feet, 11 inches in the discus and 46-7.5 in the shot — and was the indoor state champion in the shot (47-5.5).

Orie gave up lacrosse after her sophomore year and played the two sports her final two years.

In soccer, she was an all-section second-team selection as a heady defender who scored a few goals off set pieces. But throwing is her forte.

She has been called one of the best to come out of the WPIAL and the numbers don’t lie: Her outdoor marks rank third (discus) and fifth (shot) all time in the WPIAL. She also won the WPIAL discus last season.

“Mackenna is a very talented athlete who worked super hard to become a great thrower,” Hempfield throwing coach Dave Murray said. “She would meet me after soccer practices to lift, and we practiced or worked on drills year round. She is still practicing and lifting with me. This year she also became a leader and really helped our other athletes out.

“She was a joy to coach.”

Orie took some time for a year-end Q&A:

Looking back on your track field career, what impresses your most and what would you like to do over again?

My track career in general, when I started track I only did it because my sister did. I never expected to become a D-1 thrower, I just expected to score some points for the team. I don’t think I would redo anything because each bad meet helps you load up for another meet. Everything teaches you a lesson.

How do you want people around the Hempfield track and field program to remember you?

I obviously have numbers that define me. I have the school records in every single throwing event, indoor and outdoor, but I want everyone to remember me as the person I am and not just numbers on a wall.

What do you consider the highlight of your career so far?

Hitting a personal best to win the indoor shot put state title.

Why is Hempfield so good in track and field every year?

Hempfield has amazing track and field coaches. Every coach is there to better the kids and not just to go through the motions.

When did you know throwing was your ticket to Division I college athletics?

I think it set in after hitting 40 feet my sophomore year that my collegiate future would be in track.

Where do you keep your medals?

I just keep them hanging on nails on my bedroom wall.

What will you miss most about soccer?

The friendships and memories I made throughout the years. I met some forever friends through the sport.

Are you going on vacation?

I’m going to Ocean Isle Beach for a week with my family.

Fireworks on the Fourth of July: Light them or watch them?

Definitely watch them. Can’t afford to be hit with any shrapnel.

Favorite restaurant in Greensburg?

I’m a huge fan of El Patron.

Best movie you’ve seen this year?

“Toy Story 4.”

Were you emotional at graduation?

I wasn’t because I know what the future holds.

What will be the key to throwing right away at DePaul?

Strength will the key to my throwing success at the collegiate level.

How far can you throw a football?

I’ve never measured it but probably pretty far.

Did you ever play softball?

Yes, I played for Youngwood and Fort Allen.

How impressive has the Hempfield softball team’s WPIAL and PIAA run been?

It was really impressive. I have some good friends on the softball team, and I couldn’t be prouder of the success they’ve had as a team.

What was coach Murray’s best advice to you?

Just to have fun, and that was the key to my senior year. So many people nowadays throw for a certain distance. They worry so much about one number that they forget how fun the sport can be. I can’t thank coach Murray enough for my successful high school career.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Bill by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

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