AUGUSTA, Maine — Maintaining a dynasty in any high school sport involves coping with the virtually constant turnover that graduation brings each year.
That places a heavy onus on the coaches for leadership, but also on the more veteran performers on a given team.
A youthful Hermon team with seven sophomores and six freshmen battled through the disappointment of a loss at its regional competition two weeks ago to return to the top at the Augusta Civic Center on Saturday. The Hawks captured their third consecutive Class B state championship and the program’s eighth in the last nine years.
“We just focused a lot more, pushed ourselves hard the last two weeks and got super hyped up for this and cheered our hearts out,” said Hermon senior Mercedes Davis.
Hermon totaled 86 points to defeat North region champion Ellsworth, which finished second with 82.8 points, Eight-time defending South region champion Medomak Valley of Waldoboro (78.5), Old Town (74.1) and Leavitt of Turner Center (74) rounded out the top five.
Other teams in the 12-school field were Presque Isle (69.4), Gray-New Gloucester (58.6), Spruce Mountain of Jay (57.9), Morse of Bath (57), Mount Desert Island of Bar Harbor (52.9), Freeport (52.5) and John Bapst of Bangor (46.5).
“We hadn’t hit our routine all season so that was really our goal, to come out here and do what we knew we could do,” said Hermon coach Kristie Reed. “I’m proud of the kids. We had a little bit of difficulty but we just had kids who wanted it.
“Today it was good to come out and watch them. Each piece of the routine kept getting more exciting and it was just really great to see them hit it when it counted.”
Davis, classmates Olivia Nash and Hannah Morin, and junior Brooklyn Brown were the lone upperclassmen on a Hermon roster that, while hardened by previous championship experience, was still sometimes subject to the inconsistencies of youth during the winter.
“We have awesome leaders who took them under their wings and really led them,” said Reed. “This year I didn’t have to do a lot of coaching in that part, the leaders helped teach them how to be good teammates and gave them the confidence they needed.”
Members of the state champion Hermon squad were Davis, Nash, Morin, Brown, Alanna Berube, Jasmine Boulier, Ella Campbell, Kailey Curry, Cali Cyr, Madison Despault, Hailey Gogan, Madison Higgins, Kristen Lusignan, Riley Perry, Alexis Raymond, Caitlinn Whitehouse and Torria Wittmer.
“It’s a very young team and it’s hard to deal with a lot of the nerves but we did really good today and I’m proud of the team for that,” said Morin. “We got more confident on the mat and that definitely helps.”
Competing for Ellsworth were Tanner Hardison, Emma Whitney, Bailey Peterson, Abigail Bland, Anna Brown, Chenell Campbell, Brooke Carver, Allison Dorr, Laura Jude, Jada Kairys, Ellie Kane, Alexis Rossi, Paige Sawyer and Kerrigan Shorey.
Gardiner Area High School (North) and Spruce Mountain (South) were awarded the MPA sportsmanship banners for Class B cheering.