Members of the Central cheering squad hoist the Class C North Championship trophy Saturday morning at the Cross Insurance Center. The Red Devils narrowly edged Sumner for the regional crown. Credit: Joseph Cyr | Houlton Pioneer Times

Defending state champion Central of Corinth earned the chance to pursue that title again in two weeks after winning the Class C North crown Saturday at the Cross Insurance Center.

The Red Devils, runner-up at last year’s regional, scored 73.1 points to top this year’s 11-school field and lead six schools that qualified for the 2019 state championships to be held Saturday, Feb. 9, at the Augusta Civic Center.

“We rocked the routine with everything we could,” Central senior captain Faith Fugel said. “We just had so much energy, and we brought it all together on the floor and worked together and came out with the win.”

Credit: Joseph Cyr | Houlton Pioneer Times

Central sent a squad of 18 out onto the mat for its three-minute routine and a solid blend of cheering, jumps, dance sequences, pyramid and partner stunts, and tumbling skills.

“We lost two practices this week due to the weather, and it’s hard to keep them believing in themselves,” Central coach Cristy Strout said. “At this point in the game that’s the biggest challenge, getting them to understand how good they are.

Credit: Joseph Cyr | Houlton Pioneer Times

“Maybe they get it now, but as of yesterday I didn’t think they did.”

Sumner of East Sullivan, the Downeast Athletic Conference champion and runner-up to Central at last week’s PVC Class C competition, finished second to the Red Devils at the regional with 71.2 points.

Credit: Joseph Cyr | Houlton Pioneer Times

“They had an excellent performance, I don’t think we can be disappointed at all today,” said Monica Pettegrow, who coaches the Sumner team with Jessica Snowdeal. “We had a few little bobbles in our routine at PVCs last week, so they wanted to come out strong today and they definitely did,”

Central and Sumner will be joined at states by Houlton (65.4), Mattanawcook Academy of Lincoln (65.3), Calais (58.3) and Bucksport (54.3).

Credit: Joseph Cyr | Houlton Pioneer Times

Other teams at the C North regional were Orono (52.3), Narraguagus of Harrington (48.2), Dexter (46.1), Lee Academy (40.2) and Penquis Valley of Milo (28.7).

Members of the Class C North champion Central team are Kaitlynn Bean, Brianna Butler, Bayley Casavant, Emily Cunningham, Maddie Demoranville, Kya Doyle, Faith Fugel, Vidya Gilley, Kylie Graffam, Cassidy Gray, Megan Hathaway and Anna Helstrom.

Credit: Joseph Cyr | Houlton Pioneer Times

Also, Cassidy King, Brooke Lunt, Heather MacNevin, Riese Mansfield, Tabitha McClure, Tiana McDougall, Mary Miller, Lauren Reece, Megan Subjec, Hope Taylor and Danielle Williams.

“We’ve got a couple of little tumbling issues that we’ve got to figure out and some minor timing issues in stunting,” Strout said. “Really it’s all minor stuff, but that minor stuff adds up to a lot of points.

Credit: Joseph Cyr | Houlton Pioneer Times

“But we’re sitting pretty good. We have a lot to do, but it’s little stuff and not big stuff so as a coach that’s a pretty exciting thing.”

Members of the Class C North runner-up Sumner squad are Rhiannon Alley, Abigail Bell, Audrey Buswell, Scarlett Capitano, Alexis Coombs, Megan Eastman, Robin Faulkingham, Laura Hanna, Emilee Hutchins, Devin Mosher and Lauren Nault.

Ernie Clark

Ernie Clark is a veteran sportswriter who has worked with the Bangor Daily News for more than a decade. A four-time Maine Sportswriter of the Year as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters...