AUGUSTA, Maine — Hermon continued one championship tradition and Central of East Corinth might have started another one Saturday in the state cheerleading championships at Augusta Civic Center.
The Hawks soared to their second straight Class B title and their fourth in the past six seasons, while the Red Devils hoisted the Class C trophy for the first time in school history before a vociferous crowd of more than 3,000.
Each team avenged a narrow loss two weeks ago at the Eastern Maine regional meet in Bangor. Hermon edged Ellsworth in its encore, while Central swapped places with Dexter and fought off Western Maine champion Lisbon.
“Losing at regionals, Ellsworth outperformed us there, and I think it was sort of a wake-up call,” Hermon coach Kristie Reed said. ”We got back to practice and they were serious. I’ve had great leadership from my seniors. I cant say enough about them.”
Courtney Applebee, Ashley Cyr, Casie Frederick, Briana Savoy and Kelsey Small are the five veterans for Hermon, which had won the title in the past three odd-numbered years before this successful defense.
“We overcame a lot this year. We went through a lot of difficulties and pulled it together,” Small said. “We’re really surprised. We worked so hard. We had so much energy today. We have never done a routine with that much energy.”
Three Class B teams performed after Hermon in the dual B-C session, but the Hawks set the bar high by finishing with a flourish.
It was enough to hold off Ellsworth by less than a point — 147.4 to 146.5 on a 175-point judging scale.
”They had a little bobble in the beginning and of course that scares you,” Reed said of her team. “But the rest of the time they were right on.”
”We kept that energy and that smile on our face the entire time,” Frederick added.
WM champion Medomak Valley of Waldoboro was third with 141 points, followed by John Bapst of Bangor (134) and Leavitt of Turner (130.2).
Other EM representatives were Old Town (115.1, eighth), Presque Isle (114.9, ninth) and Mount Desert Island (99.8, 12th).
Central clarified some of its most basic maneuvers to catch the judges watchful eyes.
The Devils were disappointed that they weren’t given full credit for their tumbling passes in the conference and regional meets.
”Today we got majority points, and were really proud of that,” said Logan Wilson, a captain and one of 11 Central seniors. ”We deserved it. We had it before. They just never saw it.”
Coach Cristy Wilson resisted the temptation to reinvent the wheel, as some teams do by tearing apart their routines when early-season results don’t match expectations.
”Our tumbling has been our sore spot all year. It was just choreography and formations, making it more clear,” Wilson said. ”We haven’t changed much, just made it stronger and stronger. These kids are houses. They can hold up anything.”
Central (135 points) also had to wait out later performances by Lisbon (130.9, second) and EM champion Dexter (118.7, fourth) before being able to breathe more easily.
Orono made a leap from the regional round, as well, taking third.
“I think we were really excited, but we didn’t want to get too confident,” Wilson said. ”We were all just really happy. Either way we would have still been happy.”
Despite the wealth of experience on the Devils’ roster, Wilson who co-captained the team with junior Randi Clark , proclaimed the title a surprise.
“After the season got going it got better and we thought maybe we can be state champs, but at the beginning we weren’t sure. We weren’t even thinking it,” Wilson said. ”In previous years we’ve done a lot of changes and taken a lot of feedback from the judges. This year we went into every competition just knowing the routine and feeling confident.”
Defending Class C champion Houlton finished fifth. Sumner of East Sullivan settled for sixth and Calais was credited with ninth.