AUGUSTA — The Lewiston High School cheerleading team has set a standard of excellence wherever it’s competed the past few years.
Monday, the Blue Devils won their fifth straight Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A championship in front of a couple of thousand fans at the Augusta Civic Center. This is only the first step for the team which last year won the Class A state title and went on to become the first-ever New England champion from a Maine high school.
“We have a lot of things to live up to and there’s a lot of weight on our shoulders,” senior captain Kirsty Beauchesne said. “But I think that encourages us because we know everyone expects a lot out of us.”
The Blue Devils scored 155 points to beat runner-up Bangor by just over 10 points. The team’s strength, among other things, is its tumblers and nearly every member on the squad is good at it.
“We’ve all been tumbling since a young age,” Beauchesne said. “Most of the team has been cheering since we were little.”
Edward Little, Brewer and Oxford Hills rounded out the top five in Class A while Lawrence placed sixth, Mt. Blue 11th and Messalonskee 12th. Cony did not field a team for the championships this year due to illness and injuries. The Class A regionals will be held next Saturday at the Bangor Auditorium, which will also host the state championships Feb. 9.
“I think we’ve got a lot of work to do between now and regionals,” Lewiston coach Lynnette Morency said. “I think they’ve got the potential to be just as good (as last year). It’s just working out the kinks right now.”
Medomak Valley won the KVAC Class B title with 135.5 points while Leavitt finished second, Gardiner third and Waterville fourth. The Class B regionals will be held next Saturday with the top six teams advancing to the state championships in Bangor.
Gardiner, which struggled to field a full team two years ago, has rebounded nicely.
“Last year we only had seven and this year we had 12 cheerleaders on the floor and we’re on our way up,” coach Jeanne Moody said. “New uniforms, new bows, new attitude, new everything.”
Gardiner’s renewed confidence spilled over to the competition.
“It’s one of the hardest routines we’ve had in awhile,” Moody said. “They worked hard and they hit it. The stunting is more difficult and the jumps are more advanced. We only have three tumblers, that’s our weakest point.”
Waterville, likewise, turned in an improved performance from a year ago, finishing eight points behind Gardiner.
“We have seven freshmen, two sophomores, one junior and three seniors,” Waterville coach Andrea Fullerton. “Our stunting got a lot better, we have improved our flexibility and their confidence level has gone up completely.”
Medomak Valley and Brewer were selected as winner of the Jamie Beth Shible Award given annually to the most improved team from the previous year. The award is named in honor of a former Mt. Blue cheerleader who co-captained the team from 1995-97 before passing away while still in high school.
Gary Hawkins — 621-5638