AUGUSTA, Maine — Bangor High cheerleading coach Stephanie Crane thought a top-three finish would be a great one at Monday’s Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference championships.
Crane got what she wished for and then some, as the Rams compiled a score of 144.4 points to place second in a field of 15 Class A teams at the Augusta Civic Center.
Lewiston wound up taking home the crown with 154.1 points while Waterville captured the Class B title with 124 points.
The inclement weather that lasted Sunday night into Monday morning forced Brewer, Rockland and Lincoln Academy of Newcastle to stay home.
In Class A, Bangor’s routine featured a mix of noteworthy stunts, including an opening high-basket toss, which seemed to capture the attention of the judges.
“That’s kind of a wow factor we have, the opening basket toss was pretty high,” said Crane.
Defending conference champion Oxford Hills of South Paris took third with 135.2 points while Hampden Academy was fourth with 130.6 and Morse of Bath’s 129.9 rounded out the top five.
The Rams performed smoothly with mostly hip-hop and techno music and basic tumbling to go along with their stunts.
“I think anything that just kind of makes [the judges] sit there and think ‘wow’ to themselves is what we kind of go for,” said Crane. “It just goes all the time, doesn’t really stop.”
Crane’s Rams are made up of seniors Kim Fiore, Molly Fletcher, Bethany Harris, Taylor Libby, Megan Pratt, Nicole Stairs, Carlin Stimus, Sam Wilson and Abby Whitten; juniors Bailey Dunham, Aimee Conner, Hanya Phillips and Bree Shaw; sophomores Jenna Marshall, Sarah Conner and Elizabeth York; and freshmen Emma Hardy, Alicia Stairs, Mandy Monk, Olivia Whitten and Emily Meucci.
Despite Bangor’s excellent output, Lewiston’s superhero-themed routine was dynamite, as it featured difficult basket tosses, including a triple twist.
“They’re phenomenal, they’re really good. They’re very energetic and they have even flexibility in their flyers,” Crane said.
The Blue Devils’ squad consists of seniors Kiani Camire, Jane Campbell, Olivia Fournier, Morgan Harrison, Samantha Howaniec, Amber McKellick; juniors Jessica Beckwith, Kassandra Brown, Erin Griffin, Liz Morin, Erica Webber; sophomores Ashley Blauvelt, Jessica Bowen, Abby Campbell, Morgan Gilbert, Samantha Hopkins, Rebecca Lessard, Heather Michaud and freshmen Shae Godbout, Tianna Lacombe, Rachel Mills and Krista Thomas.
In Class B, Waterville’s Purple Panthers came in with a somewhat fresh routine after competing in the Shriners Classic in Lewiston last Friday.
“We have worked really hard for this meet. I feel we did a good job with the amount of time we’ve been working with,” said Nicole Duperry, one of five seniors on coach Carlee Evans’ squad.
The other seniors include Julie Bradford, Elizabeth Kowalik, Dylan Marsh and Lana Morgan.
Waterville’s all-star themed routine featured a number of difficult stunts such as double-twisting basket tosses.
“We wanted to go for a lot of hard stunts. It was kind of like an all-star feeling with a lot of difficulty,” said Duperry.
With a short amount of time to fine-tune the performance, the Panthers didn’t think first place was an expectation.
“We thought we’d be up there, but we weren’t expecting really to get first, I don’t think,” said Bradford.
However, the Panthers pieced things together soundly in practices.
“They go above and beyond, they don’t just go to practice. They take extra classes in tumbling, they’re always in the gym, always practicing,” Evans said.
The rest of the Panthers’ unit includes juniors Rae Egerton, Sarah Montgomery and Allison Roy; sophomores Gwen Nale, Blair Ruger and Sara Trottier; and freshman Katelynn Harris.
Medomak Valley of Waldoboro was second in the eight-school field with 112.8 points while Mount View of Thorndike was third with 101.8 and Oak Hill of Sabattus fourth (100.6).