AUGUSTA, Maine — The Central Aroostook High School Panthers had their string of five consecutive state Class D cheerleading championships derailed by Deer Isle-Stonington a year ago.
Central Aroostook coach Sami Allen didn’t feel her team had its best performance of the year on Saturday in the state championships at the Augusta Civic Center, but it was good enough to return the Panthers to the winners podium. The team tallied 114.2 points to outdistance Machias and Penobscot Valley of Howland.
Machias and Penobscot Valley finished with 99.9 points, but Machias was awarded second based on the second tiebreaker which is an appeal of the routine.
The first tiebreaker is points deducted, and that enabled Biddeford High School to nip Marshwood High of Eliot and end Lewiston’s three-year reign as state Class A champs.
Biddeford and Marshwood each tallied 158.8 points, but the Tigers didn’t have any deductions. Marshwood had a one-point deduction.
Bangor finished third with 149.1 points, and Lewiston was fourth with 148.9 points. Noble High of North Berwick was fifth (144) followed by Gorham (133.5), Scarborough (130.3), Oxford Hills of South Paris (129.8), Thornton Academy of Saco (127.4), Brewer (126.4), Hampden Academy (115.4) and Edward Little of Auburn (111.5).
In Class D, Washburn was fourth (96) followed by Deer Isle-Stonington (95), Fort Fairfield (91.5), Buckfield (89.1) and Bangor Christian (83.2).
Central Aroostook became the first school to win six state cheering championships during a seven-year span in any class.
“Losing last year was a huge incentive for us,” said Allen. “It’s a very, very dedicated team. They knew they had the routine, and they pulled through. It’s wasn’t our best, but it was good enough.”
“We were pretty upset last year, but we knew we’d come back and win it again,” said senior Colby Endy, one of the captains.
“We had a few mishaps today, but we pulled through,” he added.
“We basically went out and did what we could,” said senior Alexis Bradbury, another captain. “There were some issues with it, but we worked hard and pulled through.
“We used all of what we did for regionals, and we needed to push twice as hard because you never know what’s going to happen [at the states]. Accidents happen, so we had to work even harder after the regionals. We knew what we wanted,” she said.
In addition to Endy, the only boy on the team, and Bradbury, the other team members were Whitnie Bradbury, Jordan Canney, Brittney Drost, Megan King, Courtney Milliard, Shannon Scully, Victoria Brewer, Elizabeth Gillen, Dayna Collins, Hallee Rusby, Sarah Gerritsen, Noelle Bailey, Haley Rowe and Emilee Durost. Janice Mosher assists Allen.
Machias coach Michelle Wood said her team did “very well,” especially considering they’ve had a “tough couple of weeks.”
The Bulldogs lost a cheerleader to an injury and personal reasons which required them to change their entire routine, she said.
“And we were able to have only a couple of practices [over the past two weeks],” said Wood.
Cheering for their basketball teams and snow days limited their practice time she said.
She praised Central Aroostook for their performance and success.
“They’re amazing,” said Wood.
Machias finished the season as runners-up in the Downeast Athletic Conference, the regionals and the states.
In Class A, Biddeford’s title was the Tigers’ first since 2010. Biddeford had won three straight championships from 2008-10.
Biddeford coach Debbie Lebel said her team turned in its “best performance of the year.”
“It was tough,” said Lebel, “I’m surprised, but the team has been getting better and better. They hit all of their stunts which is something we were looking forward to doing. They hit their routines flawlessly.”
“Our stunts hadn’t been hitting, but we hit them perfectly here, and we deserved to win,” said Biddeford senior Sarah Poirier. “We worked hard and felt really good [coming into the competition].
“We didn’t have a perfect warm-up today. We were struggling, so we knew we had to get into right mindset because we knew we could do it all along,” she added. “Our biggest motivation was we didn’t want one team to win the state all four years. We wanted to win one.”
“We did phenomenal today,” said Alex Boudreau. “We had four drops at the regionals, but we worked hard all week and pulled through.”
The members of the Biddeford team included Daniel Copeland, Rebecca Patoine, Poirier, Boudreau, Alyssa Voisine, Alex Morneau, Natalie Hatch, Olivia Souiliere, Peyton Foley, Sam Lamontagne, Kristen Morneau, Peyton Janelle, Sami Pinard, Jillian Vigneault, Hannah Morin-Roy, Cara Boisvert, Camryn McKewon, Kirsten Lebreux, Dominique Chantigny, Leah Perron, Erica Leland, Morgan Potvin and Audrey Desjardin.