BANGOR — Timing and transitioning are just as important to any cheerleading routine as stunting, tumbling and dancing.
The Hermon Hawks perfected all five of those traits Saturday afternoon, as coach Kristie Reed’s squad claimed its third consecutive Eastern Maine Class B championship at the Bangor Auditorium.
Hermon registered 150.6 points to outdistance runner-up Ellsworth, which tallied 136.8.
Rounding out the six squads advancing to the Feb. 12 state championships, also in Bangor, were Presque Isle (123.9), John Bapst (120.5), Waterville (114.8) and Nokomis of Newport (113.2).
Hermon, which was the second of the 12 schools to perform its routine, showcased a few new twists from the Penobscot Valley Conference championship, but the key was making sure everything went smoothly from one stunt to the next.
“We really worked on cleaning up our transitions, and just timing on everything,” said Hermon senior Meagan Dearborn, the Hawks’ lone senior.
When the timing is perfected, the stunting only comes naturally.
“I think we’ve gotten a lot more confident with what we’ve been doing, we just went out there and put some extra pizazz on it I guess,” Dearborn said.
The Hawks feature a number of squad members with backgrounds in dance, and they showcased those abilities, along with some difficult stunts, including a couple of double-down twists.
“The one thing this team does well is they’re exciting on the floor to watch,” Reed said.
Hermon also had as many as seven tumblers doing back-hand springs at once, but Dearborn said they hope to add another for the state championships.
“I think there’s still a few things that we can work on, but you’ll have to wait until states,” she said.
Hermon’s other squad members are Lacey Austin, Olivia Brown, Colleen Cropley, Ashley Cyr, Brittany Duell, Emilie Dullas, Casie Frederick, Rayshell Gagne, Destinee Knight, Catherine McElvain, Alexis Pelkey, Katherine Reynosa, Miranda Roberts, Nicole Robinson, Brianna Savoy, Kelsey Small, Taylor Smith, Kaitlinn Turner and Becca Watson.
Many of those squad members are new to the varsity, and with Hermon in the midst of a regional cheerleading dynasty that includes a state championship in 2009, Dearborn couldn’t be happier with the newcomers.
“The girls that are with me jut mean a lot, and they couldn’t have made it any better for me,” she said. “The freshmen that came in did such an awesome job this year.”
Ellsworth turned back the clock a couple of decades in its second-place routine, which was choreographed to the music of Guns ‘n Roses.
That was different than current artists like Katy Perry, Kesha and Lady Gaga, to which most squads tend to perform.
“I think we wanted to be a little more original and not have all the popular music,” said Ellsworth tri-captain Abby Hayden.
The Eagles featured many difficult stunts, including some high basket tosses and double-twists, while Ellsworth’s “Jungle” theme got its fans riled up.
Coach Cori-Lynn Noddin’s squad didn’t really tweak anything from the PVC championships two weeks ago.
“We just fixed our confidence really, and we just needed some kind of boost,” said tri-captain Becca Marckoon.
Ellsworth, which finished second in regionals last winter, was satisfied with its performance.
“As long as we gave it our all and performed our best we’re happy with what we did,” Eagles’ trip-captain Heather Tupper said.
The remainder of the Eagles’ roster features with Erin Beauvais, Marissa Boynton, Nikoe Carner, Kathryn Dickens, Anna Jordan, Marina Magee, Brittany Moulton, Caitlyn Ramos, Heather Holt, Katie Whitney and Cristin Wright.