OLD TOWN, Maine — When the sound system at Old Town’s MacKenzie Gym malfunctioned during the first round of Saturday’s Big East cheerleading competition, causing a 90-minute delay between the first (non-scoring) and second (judged) rounds, the Hermon Hawks didn’t let that dampen their spirits.
The Hawks stayed loose, danced to the music of top recording artist Lady Gaga, and put together a dynamite routine to win their second competition in as many weeks with a score of 136 points.
Ellsworth captured runner-up honors in the nine-school field with 131.9 points, followed by Presque Isle with 125.5, Caribou (120.9) and John Bapst of Bangor (111.2).
Coach Kristie Reed’s Hawks, the reigning Eastern Maine and state Class B champions, featured a little bit of everything from difficult stunts to dancing and tumbling.
“It was definitely better than last week, so we’re getting better every day,” said Reed, whose team won the Penobscot Valley Conference competition a week ago.
The Hawks, who feature three seniors in Abbe Curtis, Makelle Jarvis and Cortney Hawes, weren’t frustrated by the delay between rounds.
“It was definitely really hard but I think we used it to kind of bond, kind of get things together,” said Curtis.
Presque Isle was performing its non-judged routine in the first round when the sound system died, but the Wildcats finished with a five-count and no music while MDI and Ellsworth performed their routines with a boom box.
Old Town athletic administrator Greg Thibodeau then brought in a sound system with numerous speakers, and the second round got going at 3:05 p.m.
Hermon, whose routine features a wide mix of music from dance to hip-hop to some classic rock, actually had a music malfunction of its own in the second round when its music cut out for about 20 seconds, but the Hawks kept their composure.
“I think somebody hit the wrong button,” Curtis admitted. “We kind of appreciated it because it gave us a little breather.”
Hermon has been piecing together its difficult routine, which also featured high basket tosses and lots of energy, since the beginning of the season.
“It’s a lot of work at practice, tumbling, stunting, dancing, we keep going back and forth,” said Jarvis. “It’s a lot of everything.”
Hermon’s other team members are juniors Kasey Fratini and Meagan Dearborn, sophomores Ashley Cyr, Brianna Savoy, Casie Frederick, Jasmine St. Pierre and Katelyn Lugdon and freshman Becca Watson, along with freshman Catherine Mcelvain and sophomore Courtney Applebee, the Hawks’ alternates.
Ellsworth stayed focused after having to perform its routine with a boom box and a silent crowd in the first round.
“That first delay really put a cramp in the style, going out on the floor with no music was really hard for them, no crowd support was very hard for them,” said first-year coach Cori-Lynn Noddin. “We went back in the locker room and talked about it, we revisited our goals and talked about those, we just decided to go out there and do it.”
In contrast to Hermon’s winning routine, the Eagles just fine-tuned theirs over the course of the week, and the beginning featured four flyers with the primary focus being on difficulty and gymnastics.
“We have a huge tumbling base, and then our second focus was stunting,” Noddin said.
Ellsworth’s squad is made up of Heather Tupper, Sarah Conry, Rebecca Marckoon, Kate Dickens, Gabi Huebner, Jennifer Tupper, Anna Seavey, Katy Whitney, Marissa Boynton, Lauren Barkhouse, Alyssa DeWitt, Heather Holt, Cristin Wright, Kat Dickens, Abby Hayden and Anna Jordan.