ELLSWORTH — The Hermon cheerleading squad is a fairly young one this winter with only one senior among its 18 team members.
But coach Kristie Reed’s Hawks showed they haven’t missed a beat Saturday as they won their second competition in as many weeks, scoring 128.9 points to capture the Penobscot Valley Conference Large School title at Katsiaficas Gymnasium.
John Bapst of Bangor finished second among the nine squads with 12.5 points, while Presque Isle’s 116.5 rounded out the top three.
The competition featured two rounds, with all nine teams performing their routine once in a non-judged round before coming back to perform in a judged round later in the afternoon.
Hermon, which has won the last two Eastern Maine Class B championships, showed that it is ready to defend that crown again with a high-energy routine that featured two flyers, a variety of tumbling and stunting and a three-person pyramid.
Even though one of Hermon’s squad members lost a sneaker during the midst of the routine, the Hawks managed to maintain their composure and nail it down, which was a reflection of their focus.
“I think our attitudes are really good this year, so that certainly has helped us,” Reed said.
The Hawks also won last weekend’s Big East competition at Old Town.
Hermon’s lone senior is Meagan Dearborn, whom Reed says is a tremendous leader, while the remainder of the squad consists of Brianna Savoy, Courtney Applebee, Katie Raynosa, Alivia Brown, Casie Frederick, Rayshell Gagne, Catherine McElvain, Taylor Smith, Ashley Cyr, Kelsey Small, Destinee Knight, Emilie Dulas, Kaitlinn Turner, Alexis Pelkey, Nikki Robinson, Lacey Austin and Colleen Cropley.
Hermon also showcased a solid blend of dance in its routine, as a number of its squad members have backgrounds in dance, including sophomore co-captain Knight, who has taken everything from hip-hop to ballet to jazz.
John Bapst, which also finished second at the Big East competition, featured a solid blend of tumbling, stunting and a couple of high basket tosses.
But Crusaders coach Becky Bennett felt that her team improved tremendously over the course of the week.
“They stepped it up so much more this week, they did a great job,” Bennett said. “They stepped it up so much more this week.”
The Crusaders also had high energy, which brought the crowd to its feet.
John Bapst, which has seven seniors, features Kelly Henry, Mandy Sawyer, Shelby Martin, Kara Cowan, Erica Peavey, Lauren Piccirillo, Jenny Hannigan, Megan Doane, Nicole Carr, Julia Laverdiere, Abby Marvin, Becca Leathers, Christie Rand, Krysti Sanzaro and Katie Day.
The Crusaders’ routine showcases “a lot of different things,” Bennett said, but desire was the biggest trait, as Bapst had very few mistakes.
“I think that the biggest thing is their heart,” Bennett said.
The Crusaders’ seven seniors were freshmen when Bapst won the Eastern Maine Class B championship in 2008, and Bennett’s squad certainly showed Saturday they have the talent to contend for another this winter.
“We were talking before we went out there about how they all used to look up to John Bapst cheerleaders, when they were in middle school they would watch John Bapst cheerleaders and they were dream of being them,” she said, “and I said girls, let’s be that team today and they really were.”
Presque Isle pieced together one of the more difficult routines in finishing third, as the Wildcats, who also won the Aroostook League competition on Friday, featured high basket tossing and a five-person pyramid.
Coach Jolene Kinney’s team is made up of Julea Gorneault, Courtney Lyford, Bonnie Zeng, Kelsey Buck, Megan Byers, Kelsey Corriveau, Kenedy Jarvis, Kelsie Spooner, Michaela Powers, Brittany Good, Paige Doyen, Gabby McCrum, Rachel Dow, Mary Green, Justena Cleveland and Elena Ford.
The Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference teams will compete Monday at 10 a.m. at the Augusta Civic Center with the EM Regionals set Jan. 29, with the Class A squads in Augusta and the B-C-D teams at the Bangor Auditorium.