BANGOR — The Bangor High School girls cheerleading squad had upset Lewiston at the Class A North regional two weekends ago at the Augusta Civic Center, but the Rams knew it was going to take a special performance to end Lewiston’s three-year title reign during the state championships at the Cross Insurance Center on Saturday afternoon.
That is exactly what they they supplied, turning in a virtually flawless and energetic routine to beat the Blue Devils by 5.4 points and claim their first state title.
Bangor registered a score of 93.8 and Lewiston finished with 88.4 points. Biddeford was third with 87.1 points and rounding out the top five were Oxford Hills of South Paris (85.5) and Gorham (85.3). Noble of North Berwick was sixth (83.1) followed by Brewer (80.5), Thornton Academy of Saco (73.9), Westbrook (73.2), Lawrence of Fairfield (68.4), Mt. Blue of Farmington 68.4) and Sanford (67.8).
“I’ve been cheering for eight years and this is the best performance I’ve seen in eight years,” said Bangor senior Olivia Heanssler. “It was amazing. We really brought it today and the fans really helped our performance.
“It didn’t matter what place we got, we wanted to hit our routine perfectly, better than we did at the regionals. And that’s what we did,” added Heanssler.
“They did the best that they could possibly do,” said elated Bangor co-coach Kate Robichaud whose 2016 Bangor team finished second. “It was a lot better than the regionals, actually. It was an unbelievable performance. They were rock solid in all of their stunts and a huge factor was all of the fans here today. We had tons of support.”
“Based on the volume of the crowd, we knew how we were doing. And we couldn’t even hear the music because the crowd was so loud,” said Heanssler.
“We knew it wasn’t going to be handed to us and if we were going to win, we were going to have to work hard for it and that’s just what we did. We hit our routine perfectly,” said senior Hope Ouellette.
“Winning the regional was definitely a confidence booster but we didn’t let it get to our heads,” added Ouellette. “If we had come here today thinking we were going to win, we wouldn’t have done as well.“
Senior Samantha McNaughton said the Rams sensed early in their routine that it was going to be a memorable performance.
“There’s always a certain point … if we hit our first stunt … that we just know ‘This is it, we got it,” said McNaughton. “It was absolutely amazing. It was such a rush being out there. It was an incredible feeling.”
The Rams got a boost from former Bangor cheerleaders, who attended their practice on Friday.
“They told us we were the best team to ever come through here,” said sophomore Hannah Dunn. “They gave us some tips and told us what they did before their state meets.”
“That really helped,” said co-coach Stephanie Crane. “The girls wanted to do it for them. They were all in the stands (supporting us) today.”
The Bangor team also includes Emily Chappelle and Rebecca Chappelle, Madison Clay, Kenzie Crichton, Kayla Crossman, Hailey Fournier, Ella Henry, Sydney Latlippe, Kylie Lavoie, Grace McAuliffe, Hailey Miles, Alainna Roach, Kelsey White and Chloe Woodward.
While Bangor’s routine was near-perfect, Lewiston had a cheerleader stumble while doing a backflip and one of its pyramids was a bit wobbly.
“We had some bobbles in our stunts,” acknowledged Lewiston coach Lysa Laverdiere, whose Blue Devils had won six of the last seven state titles. “But the girls did a wonderful job. They had a very good performance today. They did the best they could.”
Laverdiere said she didn’t see Bangor’s performance.
“I’m sure they did a wonderful job. Their coaches are amazing,” she said.
One of the other highlights of the event was a scintillating series of flips by Noble’s Tyrone McLean.
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