Youth ruled the Class B North cheering championships Saturday morning, with three-time defending state champion Hermon — a team with just one senior — capturing the regional title.
Coach Kristie Reed’s team, winner of eight of the last nine Class B state titles, was the seventh of the 12 participating teams at the Cross Insurance Center to perform and delivered a strong blend of cheer, tumbling and stunts.
“We finally hit our routine, I’m really proud of them,” Reed said. “We had a great week of practice and they just really performed today.”
The effort by the 15-member squad represented marked improvement from its efforts in winning the Big East and Penobscot Valley Conference championships earlier this month.
“At PVCs and Big East we dropped a stunt in each, and since this is the first time we hit it we were just so happy,” said Brooklyn Brown, the Hawks’ lone fourth-year performer. “It’s such a different feeling. I feel like people don’t understand that when you don’t hit your routine, even if you still win you feel like you didn’t win.
“But this is so different. I feel so good right now.”
Hermon totaled 88.2 points to lead six teams that qualified for the state championships to be held Feb. 8 at the Augusta Civic Center.
Brewer, another youthful squad in its first year of Class B cheering after previously competing in Class A, placed second with 71.7 points despite having to stop late in its routine when a participating team member fell ill.
The Witches were left to complete the final 45 seconds of their performance approximately a half-hour later after the other teams had finished competing.
Then after waiting through its music to the point where their routine was interrupted, Brewer completed its final pyramid element and dance sequence in solid fashion to earn the runner-up plaque.
“We had a kiddo who wasn’t feeling well but is also pretty affected by nerves so we were kind of prepared for the possibility, it’s happened once before in competition,” Brewer coach Nancy Snowdeal said.
“When we ended the routine partway through, we just regrouped and talked about what we can control and what we can’t control, and just to keep doing the things we can control as best as we can. Clearly they did a pretty good job.”
Defending regional champion Ellsworth, which figured to be Hermon’s primary challenger, was off to a strong start until suffering a significant fall that resulted in a 10-point deduction.
The Eagles, who had finished second to Hermon at both the Big East and PVC meets, rebounded from the mishap to place third with 67.7 points.
Also advancing to states are Presque Isle (67.5), Old Town (66.5) and John Bapst of Bangor (64.3).
Rounding out the regional field were Nokomis of Newport (61.4), Lawrence of Fairfield (60.1), Mt. Blue of Farmington (56.7), Mount Desert Island (49.7), Caribou (47.4) and Belfast (37.4).
Members of the champion Hermon squad are Brown, Alanna Berube, Jasmine Boulier, Allyson Coxson, Kalley Curry, Cali Cyr, Madison Despault, Megan Dorr, Hailey Gogan, Madison Higgins, Alexis Raymond, Lyndsee Reed, Michaela Saulter, Madison Smith, Caitlin Whitehouse and Torria Wittmer.
Representing the runner-up Brewer team are Kurstin Chute, Jordyn Eastman, Jacqueline Heanssler, Abigail Lawrence, Katelynn Leighton, Maria McLaughlin, Taylor Pelkey, Brielle Record-Bowden, Abby Sargent, Abi Sinclair and Alysaundra Stefanik.