AUGUSTA — No pressure, no expectations.
Madison cheerleading coach Amber Noyes had some simple advice for her team in the days leading up to the Western C championship Saturday at the Augusta Civic Center.
“You just never know,” Noyes said. “We talked all week about just staying calm and going out there and hitting our routine. It’s all we wanted to do.”
The Bulldogs did just that — and in a big way, too.
Madison turned in a near-flawless routine and finished with 118.8 points to win the Western C championship.
Lisbon was second with 113.6 while Mountain Valley Conference champ Mountain Valley was third with 111.2. Monmouth finished fifth with 98.5 points to qualify for the Class C state championships.
The top six teams qualify for the state championships.
“It’s so unreal,” Madison senior captain Ashley Peters said. “It’s just unbelievable. We wanted to hit our routine and we did.”
The Bulldogs didn’t compete at the MVC meet because they had too many cheerleaders who were sick or hurt.
They came to the Civic Center looking to make an impression, and they did just that.
We had to go for it,” Noyes said. “For too many years we just played it clean and safe, but you aren’t going to win doing it that way. We stepped it up level. We took on more challenges.”
Noyes added that the team fine-tuned its one-legged stunts, which helped secure the regional title.
“We decided to go for it with that,” she said. “We knew we could do it, and we did.”
Added senior captain Tiffany Camire: “We just came out and said, ‘no matter what, we had to hit the routine. We just had to. It feels so awesome. I can’t even describe it.”
Madison will try to win the Class C state title on Feb. 8, also at the Augusta Civic Center.
Elsewhere Saturday, it was a difficult day for Gardiner, which was coming off a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B title.
The Tigers, who were seeking their second consecutive trip to the state championships, finished eighth in Eastern B at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor with a score of 106.1.
“The nerves got the best of us,” Gardiner coach Jeanne Moody said. “We missed a couple of stunts. It happens. I’m so proud of the team and the season we had. We’ll regroup and come back strong next season.”
Gardiner was assessed a 10-point deduction, but finished 12.5 points out of sixth place.
“We had somebody hit the floor and that is an automatic deduction,” Moody said. “We got out there and we were nailing the routine and then all of a sudden we had that happen. It’s tough but we had a great year.”
Defending Class B state champ Hermon won the regional title with 145.1 points. Ellsworth was second with 142.8 while Old Town (131.4), Presque Isle (130.6), Caribou (121.1) and John Bapst (119.6) rounded out the top six.
Lewiston, meanwhile, wasn’t perfect but it didn’t need to be to win its fifth straight Eastern A title.
The three-time defending Class A state champion Blue Devils had a one-point deduction penalty but still finished with 147.9 points. Bangor was second with 141 points while Brewer was third with 129.8.
Hampden (114.2), Oxford Hills (110.4) and Edward Little (108.2) rounded out the top six and qualified for the Class A state championships.
“This is really important because it’s where we were ranked,” Lewiston senior captain Cassie Regner said.
Added Lewiston coach Lynette Morency: “It’s hard, the expectations. We want to go really far. We weren’t perfect today but we did a great job.”
Mt. Blue finished seventh, just missing out on a state championship berth. The Cougars finished with 100.1 points, 8.1 behind the Red Eddies.
Lawrence (94.7) checked in ninth while Cony was 11th (75.1).
Elsewhere Saturday, Central Aroostook won the Class D East/West title with a score of 123.1. Medomak (130.7) won Western B while Biddeford (148.4) edged Marshwood (146.8) for the Western A title.