AUGUSTA — Competitors failed to dethrone the Lewiston Blue Devils and Central Aroostook Panthers during the state cheerleading championships Saturday at the Augusta Civic Center. Both teams executed awe-inspiring routines to bring home the gold, the Devils in Class A and the Panthers in Class D.
The Central Aroostook High School team, after traveling more than four hours from their home in Mars Hill, earned their 10th state title, becoming the first team in Maine cheering history to accumulate double-digit state championships.
In Class D, four teams qualified for the New England Cheerleading Competition on March 17 at a location yet to be announced. The Woodland Dragons brought home the runners-up plaque for Class D with 116.7 points. The Dragons were followed by Deer Isle-Stonington (113.9) and Penobscot Valley of Howland (105.7).
Rounding out the scoring were Buckfield (104.3) and Bangor Christian (100.7).
“We’re very proud of the kids, and we’re excited about how many fans came,” said Central Aroostook coach Sami Jo Allen, standing beside assistant coach Janice Mosher after the awards ceremony. “The athletic director and superintendent were both in the stands today.”
The Panthers have won the Class D state championships every year since 2008. With their fifth consecutive win, they broke the Class D record for consecutive state championships.
The Panthers previously shared both records with Monmouth Academy, which has won nine state championships, four consecutively.
Despite only being 10 members strong, the talented team executed a multitude of advanced stunts, including arabesques and a tick tock. Viewing the Dragons as serious competition, the Panthers decided to upgrade their routine finale since the regional competitions by replacing liberty stunts with more difficult heel stretches.
When it came to tumbling, sophomore Colby Endy stirred up the crowd with a standing back tuck and a round-off back layout.
When asked what his plans are for next year, Endy replied, “I plan on cheering and I plan on winning.”
Three seniors — Patricia Donovan, Whitney Klien and Mariah Brewer — will leave the young team, optimistic about continuing their winning streak next year.
Central Aroostook team members are Lexie Brewer, Mariah Brewer, Donovan, Klein, Kellie Stitham, Laken Kingsbury, Shannon Scully, Alexis Bradbury, Brittany Drost, Endy, Jordan Canney and Courtney Milliard.
The champion of Class A, Lewiston, executed its routine without a hitch, scoring 163.1 points to win its sixth state championship in a row.
This year, the Blue Devils had some heavy competition, namely state runners-up the Biddeford Tigers (157.9), and Marshwood Hawks (155.8), at third place. All three teams qualified for the New England Cheerleading Championships.
“They both did really good, but when it comes down to it, it’s what team brings it to the mat,” said Lewiston captain Shae Godbout, one of the six seniors on the team that worked hard to guide 10 new members through the season.
Following Marshwood, were Bangor (152.2), Brewer (142.3), Hampden Academy (140.9), Noble of North Berwick (137.3), Edward Little of Auburn (135.9), Gorham (130.8), Oxford Hills of South Paris (128.8), Thornton Academy of Saco (124.5) and Scarborough (118.9).
With the scores so close, many of the teams were pleased with their performances. Big stunts, ambitious tumbling and quirky dance moves were abound in Class A.
But Godbout said that it was Lewiston’s high energy and confidence that raised them above the rest. After all, the judges scored teams on “expression, projection and showmanship” in multiple categories.
“My team had worked very hard. We worked as a true unit,” said Godbout. “We executed one of those routines that you may not see again from this team in a while — we like to push it to the limit.”
And when the Blue Devils push it to the limit, they open with standing back tucks and send five flyers up to execute bow-and-arrow stunts.
Though Lewiston has won the past four state titles, this year’s win was especially emotional — for the team members, their devoted coaches and group of blue-clad fans that dominated a sizeable section of the front bleachers.
“They hadn’t hit a clean routine yet,” said Lewiston coach Lynnette Morency, wiping tears from her eyes. “But the girls kept telling me, ‘We’re gonna get this coach,’ and I said to them, ‘Today would be the day to do that. Can we do that?’”
“We finally became a team at the very end,” said assistant coach Jennifer Roy. “We didn’t peak until states.”
Lewiston team members are Gabriella Rojas, Krista Thomas, Godbout, Tiana Lacombe, Rachel Mills, Rashonda Bailey, Abigail Madden, Erin Morris, Kirsty Beauchesne, Taylor Pratt, Kara Barnies, Torey Reny, Cassandra Regner, Kyla Sturtevant, Nadine Jones, Tierra Safe, Tia Cortes, Erika Thibault, Alyssa Rousseau, Elizabeth Fundis, Molly Kivus and Andrea Bonin.