AUGUSTA — Hampden Academy senior Samantha Brodek was a bit surprised when the results of Monday’s Kennebec Athletic Valley Conference cheering competition were divulged and the Broncos learned they had finished second.
“I had no idea,” she said, “it’s a big improvement.”
Hampden improved tremendously over its sixth-place finish from a year ago, scoring 137.4 points in coming in second to perennial cheering powerhouse Lewiston at the Augusta Civic Center.
The Blue Devils claimed their third straight KVAC Class A title with 150.5 points, while Brewer finished third in the 14-team Class A field with 134.5 points.
Oxford Hills of South Paris totaled 133.9 points while Bangor rounded out the top five with 131.
Medomak Valley of Waldoboro earned the Class B championship with a score of 126.4, with Leavitt of Turner Center a close second (121.3).
Gardiner took third with 114.1, while Waterville was fourth with 105.7 points and Mount View of Thorndike fifth with 96.6.
Hampden was one of the final Class A teams to perform, and while the Broncos didn’t feature lots of difficult stunts, they made up for it with a strong blend of tumbling and dancing.
“We’ve been practicing it since Thanksgiving,” said Hampden senior Lauren Lee. “This will give us so much more confidence.”
Some of Hampden’s difficult stunts included a four-person pyramid, high basket tossing and a double-down twist, which enabled the Broncos to medal in the KVAC championships for the first time since joining the conference.
“We’re always kind of at the bottom, barely making it to states,” said Lee.
The rest of Hampden’s team members are senior Bethany Henneberry, juniors Bryce Arsenault, Kara Day, Mackenzie Dunning, Kimberly Durell, Emily Guillow, Courtney Junkins, Heather Sanborn, Samantha Sanborn and Alyson Tremblay; sophomores Gabrielle Brodek, Alicia Fortier, Heather Greatorex, Nicole MacDougall, Katie Moody, Jenna Packard and Morgan Springer and freshmen Mikayla Becker and Nicole Quigley.
Brewer pieced together a fine routine to capture third place. Coach Christina Bush’s squad showcased a little bit of everything, from double-twists to high basket tosses and a three-person rotating pyramid that the Witches quickly turned into five.
“We try and hit it out, and max out our score sheets,” Bush said. “We’ve got to work on the little mistakes, no deductions, hitting our stunts.”
Even though Bush was happy with her team’s performance, she feels there are a few things the Witches need to clean up before the Eastern Maine regionals on Jan. 29.
“They’re working very hard. We’ve come a long ways, we’ve still got a long ways to go, but that’s why we’re just going to keep working,” she said.
The Witches’ roster includes seniors Courtney Arrico, Erin Helfen, Jennican Keslar, Meghan Parkhurst, Miranda Thompson and Catherine Nichols; juniors Anna Berube, Sonia Biswas, Jennifer Cyr and Mikayla Love; sophomores Haley Bickford, Ivy Carl, Brianna Grindle, Ashley Howland, Alexis Ireland, Kayla Reed and Hunter Spencer; and freshmen Kaitlyn Spencer, Amy Vallance and Nicole Vieira.
Lewiston showcased arguably the day’s most eye-popping routine en route to its first-place finish.
The Blue Devils, who have won nine conference titles since 1997, featured some difficult stunts, including a high, double-down twist and a five-person pyramid, while their tumblers wowed the audience with high back handsprings.
“They were really good,” Lee said.
Lewiston’s roster is made up of seniors Ashley Blaubelt, Jessica Bowen, Abby Campbell, Morgan Gilbert, Samantha Hopkins, Heather Michaud and Rebecca Lessard; juniors Shae Godbout, Tiana Lacombe, Rachel Mills, Ellie Rojas and Krista Thomas; sophomores Adreena Adams, Kara Barnies, Kirsty Beauchesne, Ashley Freve, Maddie Ide, Taylor Pratt and Torey Reny; and freshmen Megan Larkin, Abby Maddin, Erin Moris and Cassie Regner.
In Class B, Medomak put together a solid all-around routine to capture its first KVAC championship.
The Panthers had high energy and featured a couple of double-twists, but they feel there are some things that can be fixed.
“(We had) a couple of stunts that were off,” said Daniele Moshier, the Panthers’ lone senior.
The rest of Medomak’s roster are juniors Brittany Alexander, Danica Bryant, Savannah Chamberlain, Chelsea Creamer, Taylor Pelkey and Chelsea Wedge; sophomores Jennifer Delano, Kelsie Grady, Michaela Melody, Jessica Prescot, Mollie Strunk and Charlene Wilbur; and freshmen Haley Mank, Lori Meservey, Lyndsey Miller and Jennica Smith.
The Jamie Beth Shible award, given to the squads which show the most improvement, went to Oxford Hills in Class A and Gardiner in Class B.