Monmouth Academy won the Class C South regional cheering title in 2020 at the Augusta Civic Center. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

Editor’s note: This is the sixth in a series of previews of Franklin- and Kennebec-county teams in the Sun Journal’s coverage area that have decided to play this winter.

The Monmouth Academy Mustangs are relying on their leaders in this unique cheering season.

“As a team, we are focusing on building memories and on individual goals,” Monmouth coach Brandon Ouellette said. “Monmouth Academy has three strong captains  Alicen Burnham, Delaney Houston, and Jake Umberhind. Their experience and drive are giving this team the push they need to hopefully have a successful season.”

The Mustangs are coming off a successful 2019-20 campaign that started with a second-place finish at the Mountain Valley Conference championships. At the Class C South regional final, they took first place and followed that performance with a third-place finish at the Class C state championships.

As many athletes are dealing with in the coronavirus pandemic world, the Monmouth cheering squad will have to adjust to virtual meets this season and not having a crowd to perform to.

“Virtual meets will definitely be different considering this team thrives off the crowd’s reaction,” Ouellette said. “We are just excited to have a season this year!”

MT. BLUE COUGARS

The Mt. Blue cheer squad is trying use its time as best as it can after the fall cheering season was canceled.

“The pandemic canceled all of our team trainings over the summer and fall. We, the Mt Blue cheer team, is making up for lost time,” second-year head coach Dani Tannenbaum said. “We are working hard to polish skills and learn new ones all while navigating through all of the imposed COVID guidelines.”

Tannenbaum and her team is taking it one day at a time.

“We are really just rolling with the punches this season while we navigate all the changes,” Tannenbaum said. “We are practicing every day like we will be competing in February and March, while still being aware of the reality that the next week isn’t promised to us due to county designations. We are very grateful to be able to have a season with no interruptions so far.”

Mt. Blue finished eighth at the KVAC championship last winter and the team isn’t concerned with the results for any virtual meet that may happen. Just like everything in 2021, it’s all about safety.

“Our goals for this season is for everyone to stay safe and healthy as well as hit a clean and technical routine that we can be proud of,” Tannenbaum said.

SPRUCE MOUNTAIN PHOENIX

Spruce Mountain has seven cheerleaders that are either freshmen or sophomores for the 2021 campaign, but coach Nicole Mason is excited where the program is heading.

“I have a really young team. My team is definitely different. There’s a lot more potential in my team than in the past,” Mason said. “I think they are very good at adapting to anything. I think that’s a positive with this team. If one week they can’t practice, they are OK and the next week they will be able to jump right back in.”

Taylor Nault, Kirstyn Wetherell and Julianna Adams are the only seniors on the team, while Haley Nichols is the lone junior.

The Phoenix haven’t been able to hit the mat yet to really work on their routine for any potential virtual meets this season. They have been using the practice time so far on skills and drills.

“We’ve definitely gone over places where we lacked last year and we definitely focused on improving on our tumbling and jumping,” Mason said. “We have definitely improved significantly in that area with this team.”

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