Cheering: Bangor wins first Class A crown, tops Lewiston; Central Aroostook rules D again

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Bangor cheerleaders react after winning the Class A state championship in Bangor on Saturday afternoon. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)

BANGOR — In front of its home crowd Bangor won its first Class A cheering state championship, beating four-time defending champ Lewiston and perennial contender Biddeford.

Central Aroostook won its fifth straight Class D title and 10th in 11 years at Cross Insurance Center on Saturday. The Panthers edged Penobscot Valley, which has now finished second three years in a row.

The Class A state championship has been dominated by Lewiston and Biddeford for the past decade, with the Blue Devils winning six out of seven, and the Tigers winning three straight from 2008-10 before breaking up a Lewiston streak in 2014. On Saturday, however, the two powerhouses played second (and third) fiddle to the hometown Rams, who scored 93.8 points to easily beat Lewiston (88.4) and Biddeford (87.1).

“I think it’s extra special winning in Bangor,” Bangor co-coach Kate Robichaud said. “I think it’s extra special to have the fan base this time. Typically we don’t have this type of a turnout, so it was just awesome.”

Biddeford coach Deb Lebel, who got to watch some of Bangor’s routine before her team finished up the competition, said the Rams “were as clean as a whistle.”

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And that’s what it took for the Rams to finally climb the Class A mountaintop.

“That’s the best performance that they possibly could have done, the best performance that I’ve seen them do all season,” Robichaud said. “They saved it for the state championship, which is perfect.”

Robichaud said her program has watched Lewiston’s dominance for years and tried to emulate what the Blue Devils have done on the mat.

“I think that we’ve finally gotten to the point where we are able to do those skills,” she said.

The combination of those skills and that cleanliness was what it took to finally dethrone the Blue Devils.

“(Our girls) did well,” Lewiston assistant coach Jennifer LaBonte said. “I think that they did the best that they could today, but they have more in them.

“I think that there’s always a big expectation because of who we are, and the pressure is a lot, and these kids are dealing with a lot, and there’s always more under the surface than what is shown out there, that they’re dealing with.”

LaBonte said the team will “let go of today and figure out what to do with New Englands.”

Lebel said she was also looking forward to the New England Championships, for which qualifying was one of the goals Saturday. The Tigers did that with their top-three finish.

Oxford Hills (85.5 points) finished in fourth, edging fifth-place Gorham (85.3 points), while Noble, which was the runner-up at the South regionals, was sixth with 83.1 points.

“Our routine wasn’t perfect, but I’m really proud of them because this is the best they’ve hit it,” Lebel said. “I think our routine is really good, and it’s hard, and I think if we had hit it completely solid and strong we would have been closer at least.”

Central Aroostook wasn’t perfect either, but the Panthers did well enough to hold off Penobscot Valley, with a score of 62.7 to the Howlers’ 60.1 for the Class D crown.

“Of course it always looks like a title win, but it was not our best performance,” Panthers coach Sami Jo Allen said. “We actually performed it in front of our school yesterday and it was flawless. So we were hoping for that. We did have one stunt come down just a little bit and they were able to recover from it.”

The Panthers’ experience was what allowed them to recover from a mistake.

“We have told them, and I tell them ‘as soon as something comes down you keep going. No matter what happens you got to keep going,'” Allen said.

Machias was third in Class D, followed by Woodland, Bangor Christian and Deer Isle-Stonington.

wkramlich@sunjournal.com

Lewiston High School cheerleaders react to a second-place finish in the Class A Championships in Bangor on Saturday. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)

Lewiston cheerleaders compete in the the State Class A Championships on Saturday in Bangor.Lewiston cheerleaders compete in the the State Class A Championships on Saturday in Bangor.Lewiston cheerleaders compete in the the State Class A Championships on Saturday in Bangor.The Biddeford Tigers compete in the Class A Championships in Bangor on Saturday. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)The Biddeford Tigers compete in the Class A Championships in Bangor on Saturday. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)The Biddeford Tigers compete in the Class A Championships in Bangor on Saturday. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)The Biddeford Tigers compete in the Class A Championships in Bangor on Saturday. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)The Biddeford Tigers compete in the Class A Championships in Bangor on Saturday. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)The Biddeford Tigers compete in the Class A Championships in Bangor on Saturday. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)Lewiston cheerleaders compete in the the State Class A Championships on Saturday in Bangor.Lewiston cheerleaders compete in the the State Class A Championships on Saturday in Bangor.Lewiston cheerleaders compete in the the State Class A Championships on Saturday in Bangor.Mt Blue Cougars compete in the Class A Championships in Bangor on Saturday.Mt Blue Cougars compete in the Class A Championships in Bangor on Saturday.Mt Blue Cougars compete in the Class A Championships in Bangor on Saturday.Oxford Hills Vikings compete in the Class A Championships in Bangor on Saturday.Oxford Hills Vikings compete in the Class A Championships in Bangor on Saturday.Lewiston fans go crazy in the stands for their cheerleaders at the State Class A Championships on Saturday in Bangor.Lewiston cheerleaders came in second at the state championships in Bangor on Saturday. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)Bangor competes at the cheering state championships in Bangor on Saturday. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)Central Aroostook cheerleaders won the Class D cheering championships in Bangor on Saturday. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)

Lewiston High School cheerleaders react to a second-place finish in the Class A  State Cheerleading Championships in Bangor on Saturday. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)

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