BANGOR, Maine — A motivated Deer Isle-Stonington team captured the school’s first regional cheerleading title when it won the East-West crown Saturday morning at the Bangor Auditorium.
DI-S coach Kimberly Larsen, in her 28th year as a cheering coach, said that, “this group was driven right from the start.”
“They are true athletes,” said Larsen. “They were the best they can be in true athletic form.”
The Mariners compiled 124 points to win the title. Team members include Sarah Wilson, Sara Eaton, Stephanie Siebert, Danielle Powers, Paige Rollins, Marissa Donovan, Tessa Bray, Belle Merritt, Kennady Eaton, Alicia Allen; captains Sarah Burgess and Amber Jones; and coach Kimberly Larsen.
The DI-S captains were ecstatic.
“We’ve been in second and third, but never won,” said co-captain Burgess.
“It was well overdue,” chimed in co-captain Amber Jones.
The captains said the team began practicing for the routine in late October. With only a few sick days and a few sprained ankles throughout the season the team was able to compete with little to no disturbances.
“We stayed healthy … It’s [coach] Larsen’s biggest thing,” said Jones about Larsen’s emphasis on staying healthy.
The Mariners pulled off an impressive performance of precise moves, strong skills and team cohesion. DI-S was the only team to perform an all-team round off and several girls showcased their full cheering ability with clean and well-performed backhand springs.
“We used everything we’ve got,” said Jones about their variety in moves and skills.
The top eight teams move on to the state competition on Feb. 9 at the Bangor Auditorium. Teams trailing DI-S and moving on include Central Aroostook of Mars Hill (116.8), Machias (100.9), Bangor Christian (96.9), Penobscot Valley of Howland (83.3), Washburn (82.3), Buckfield (82.1) and Jonesport-Beals (77.6). Rounding out the scoring were Woodland (75.6) and Fort Fairfield (74.8).
Maine’s Class D cheerleaders gave it their all as they were judged on multiple aspects of their routines. Judges critiqued and scored teams on their jumps, partner stunts, dancing, tumbling, transition, timing, spacing and overall showmanship among other categories.
Many teams had strong performances with quick and precise dancing and choreography. Good stunts and jumps are steady and timed well corresponding with other teammates. Teams can lose points for reasons such as wobbling or falling on stunts, choppy performances, or lack of energy level.
Central Aroostook High School went home with second place after winning the regional competition for the past five years in a row. Team members include Jordan Canney, Colby Endy, Brittney Drost, Alexis Brewer, Laken Kingsbury, Shannon Scully, Courtney Milliard, Janice Mosher, Victoria Brewer, Noelle Bailey, Dayna Collins, Brook Cyr, Hailey Isabelle, Tucker Fletcher, Rae Brewer, Elizabeth Gillen and Alexis Bradbury and head coach Sami Allen.
“We plan on bringing up our scores in different categories,” Allen said about the upcoming state cheering competition.
Although there were tears in some of her teammate’s eyes, Central Aroostook’s Bradbury had a good attitude, “We did what we needed to do … it’s good with us,” she said.
“It’s really tough, we really want this,” added teammate Gillen. “We’re going to leave our hearts on the floor at states.”
Machias placed third with team members Abby McCurdy, Kaylah Parsons, Alyssa Preston, Ashley Knowles, Alisha Bouchard, Lorena Mattox, Ciara Schoppe, Karigan Scanlon and Allison Guptill and head coach Michelle Wood.