BANGOR, Maine — For the Central Aroostook High School cheering team, Saturday’s Class D regional championships marked a return to normalcy.
The Panthers, who won five consecutive state championships before being dethroned last year by Deer Isle-Stonington, scored 123.1 points to overwhelm the rest of the regional field and earn one of eight berths in this year’s state meet, to be held Feb. 8 in Augusta.
Machias, third behind Central Aroostook and Deer Isle-Stonington in last year’s regional, placed second with 99.6 points, while Penobscot Valley of Howland, Washburn, Bangor Christian, Deer Isle-Stonington, Fort Fairfield and Buckfield also qualified for states.
“It’s always good to be on top, of course,” said Central Aroostook assistant coach Janice Mosher, “and when you’re used to it and you get second, you get that extra drive because you want to be on top again. You can’t deny that.”
Final team scores were Central Aroostook 123.1, Machias 99.6, Penobscot Valley 95.6, Washburn 92.3, Bangor Christian 91.4, Deer Isle-Stonington 91.3, Fort Fairfield 90.2, Buckfield 78.8, Woodland 76.8 and Rangeley 64.8.
The Panthers’ 16-member squad, which included four competitors from each class, was the eighth of 10 teams to perform, and used an energetic blend of dance and tumbling to post the top score of the meet.
“It was wonderful, you could probably tell that by my expression after they did it,” said Central Aroostook coach Sami Allen. “They did an amazing job, they nailed the routine and did exactly what I asked them to do. They brought it today.”
Competing for the Panthers were Whitnie Bradbury, Jordan Canney, Alexis Bradbury, Brittney Drost, Colby Endy, Megan King, Courtney Milliard, Shannon Scully, Victoria Brewer, Elizabeth Gillen, Dayna Collins, Hallee Rusby, Sarah Gerritsen, Noelle Bailey, Haley Rowe and Emilee Durost.
Machias, which didn’t qualify for states as recently as 2012, relied on the veteran leadership of seniors Lorena Mattox, Karigan Scanlon, Brooke Beal and Shauna Knowles to edge Penobscot Valley by four points for second place.
“We had a clean routine,” said Machias coach Michelle Wood. “We didn’t have a lot of difficulty, we’re definitely going to add some in for states, but today we were going for something clean and solid.
“I knew they had done well, but it’s hard watching the teams from the back because you have no idea where you’re going to place.”
Team members for the Bulldogs were Beal, Scanlon, Knowles, Mattox, Alisha Bouchard, Regan Bragg, Kalee Brooks, Ciara Schoppee and Ava Dray.