AUGUSTA — Biddeford and Central Aroostook are known for not only reaching the top of the state cheerleading pyramid, but holding steady in that coveted spot for a long time.

At Saturday’s state finals, Biddeford reclaimed its spot atop Class A after a five-year hiatus, while Central Aroostook of Mars Hill made history with its staying power in Class D at the Augusta Civic Center.

Biddeford knocked off defending champion Bangor to win its sixth Class A state title and first since 2014. Central Aroostook claimed its 11th Class D state crown in the last 12 years, eclipsing a record it shared with Class B Hermon.

The Tigers earned the top score from two of the four judges to finish with 92.7 points, ahead of Bangor (91.3) and Lewiston (89.9). Noble (86.3) and Brewer (85.8) rounded out the top five.

Biddeford coach Deb Lebel had one of her youngest teams take the mat this season, with eight freshmen on the roster. She leaned on her seniors to lift up any teammates lacking state competition experience.

“The upperclassmen stepped it up and said, ‘You’ve got this,’ ” said Lebel, who has coached the Tigers to six state titles, including three in a row from 2008-10.


Before Saturday’s final, she added, “I told them they’ve done it a million times; do it again.”

Senior Cassidy Mawhinney said the Tigers overcame any fears after winning regionals with two good weeks of preparation.

“We just worked really hard every practice, no breaks. We wouldn’t give in to injuries or anything. You’ve just got to push through everything,” Mawhinney said.

Lisbon High School cheerleaders react after hearing they won first place in Class C at the state cheerleading championships.

“It’s always nerve-wracking, but we were pretty confident that we could do it,” Mawhinney said.

Mawhinney and Lebel agreed team chemistry helped the Tigers reach their championship level.

“I think the biggest thing is that they get along so well,” Lebel said. “They’re a bonded team.”


“You can’t hit anything unless your whole team gets along, so we just had to really form a bond,” Mawhinney said.

A couple of bobbles and falls during Lewiston’s 2½-minute routine dropped the Blue Devils out of the top two for the first time since 2014

“I am so proud of them. They had a lot of fun today,” Lewiston coach Lysa Laverdiere said. “There’s nothing more I can ask for. Sometimes it’s not your day, and that’s OK.”

Central Aroostook easily scored the highest marks with each of the four judges to claim Class D with 74.8 points. Penobscot Valley (66.5), Machias (53.8), Deer Isle-Stonington (52.5) and Bangor Christian (52.4) rounded out the top five.

Central Aroostook co-coaches Janice Lyons and SamiJo Allen said the chance to make history was mostly left unspoken among the Panthers, but was likely at least in the back of everyone’s mind.

“We’re very excited about that,” Allen said. “We tried to do it in 2013 and we just weren’t successful, but we were able to do it today, so we’re very proud of that.”


Cheerleaders practice their routine at the state championships on Saturday at the Augusta Civic Center.

Like Biddeford, Central Aroostook brought one of its younger teams to Augusta, with just six sophomores and three freshmen joining three each from the senior and junior classes. Difficulty, tumbling and teamwork helped put the Panthers over the top.

“We have worked really hard on our stunt skidding, so that we didn’t have front so that our stunting score could go up,” Allen said. “Our pyramid is probably one of the best … and our score showed that today for difficulty, so we’re very pleased with that. Our tumbling, because we’re at majority, that helped us today.”

With reclassification scheduled for next year, Central Aroostook’s prospects for a seventh consecutive Class D championship may be scuttled before it gets a chance to start.

“Depending on what happens with that, we’ll see,” Allen said. “We’re up for the challenge.”

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