AUGUSTA, Maine — When the Bangor and Lewiston cheering squads left the mat in the center of the Augusta Civic Center late Saturday morning, there was no celebration among teammates, as is the norm after strong performances.
The only team that was not aware of those emotional clues to how the Class A state championship competition was going was the lone team left to perform, but the Biddeford Tigers capitalized on the opportunity to capture their first crown since 2014.
“They nailed it,” said Biddeford coach Deb Lebel, whose team entered the meet two weeks removed from winning the Class A South championship. “They actually hit it, and it was amazing. In regionals they had one fall and a bobble, but today they had a lot of energy and executed all the way through.”
Biddeford finished with 92.7 points, just ahead of defending state champion Bangor (91.3) and Lewiston (89.9), which had won six titles in the past eight years.
Noble of North Berwick (86.3) and Brewer (85.8) rounded out the top five, followed in the 12-school field by Thornton Academy of Saco (83.3), Oxford Hills of South Paris (83.1), Sanford (77.4), Marshwood of South Berwick (75.7), Lawrence of Fairfield (72.1), Hampden Academy (69.3) and Gorham (69.2)
“I was a little nervous,” Lebel said. “I had one freshman who was iffy, she was crying while we were stretching and I’m like, ‘You’ve got to pull it together.’ Then the first little bobble we had was her and I’m like, ‘She’s not going to do it,’ but she pulled it all off and I thought, ‘Thank you very much.’”
Lewiston, Bangor and Biddeford were among the final four teams to perform, and Lewiston’s championship bid fell victim to at least one mishandled stunt as well as two tumbling slips.
Bangor soon followed, and while the Rams got off to a strong start, they were not able to maintain that momentum to the finish.
“My center flyer, whose one of the best flyers I’ve ever seen at Bangor, something happened in their stunt, and it went a little wrong and came down early, causing them to fall,” Bangor coach Taylor Clark said. “From there I think the energy kind of dropped, and that’s what really made it between us and Biddeford at that point.
“It could have gone either way, but I’m proud of them. They did their best, and that was the best they’ve done in competition this year.”
This year’s Bangor team was led by senior captains Chloe Woodward, Natasha Ivey and Alainna Roach. Others on the squad are Emily Chappelle, Rebecca Chappelle, Madison Clay, Hannah Dunn, Sydney Latlippe, Kylie Lavoie, Gracie McAuliffe, Hailey Miles, Kelsie White, Briana Tracy, Kaydence Lux, Haley Pasternack, Tynia Robinson and Hailey Tracy.
Cheering for Biddeford were Brianna Adams, Mariah Bayley, Lexi Berry, Michaela Bouthillette, Brooklyn Goff, Hillary Gonzalez, Delaney Hatch, Selena Huot, Claudia Janelle, Brianna Keely, Julia Ketcham, Anna Lavigne, Mackenzee LeBlanc, Mersadies Martinez, Cassidy Mawhinney, Taylor McKay, Kairlye McQueen, Shalyn Menard, Alli Souliere, Isabella Thibault and Mercedes Thomes.