State Cheering Championships: Lewiston in four-ocious mood

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That is, never getting on a bus and riding away from a state championship meet without leaving their fingerprints on the big trophy.

Bonny Eagle (1994 through 1996) and Biddeford (2008 through 2010) each won three consecutive titles. Oxford Hills (1997, 1999, 2000) and a previous senior group from Lewiston (2003, ’04 and ’06) each enjoyed the three-out-of-four thrill.

But undefeated? Unthinkable, until now. And the pressure? Unbearable, at times.

“I don’t think that we’re afraid of the pressure,” Madden said. “I think it’s going to be a little nerve-wracking because no one’s won four before, and we want to be the ones to do it. If we can just forget about it for that three minutes, then we have a really good chance.”

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The Class A competition begins at 10 a.m. Saturday in Augusta. Lewiston and a captive audience will learn around noon whether or not history has been made.

So far, a historic season has gone according to plan. The Blue Devils captured their sixth straight KVAC championship and fifth consecutive Class A East crown in the space of six days in January.

Lewiston has been irritated by its own little imperfections along the way. Then again, leaving a little space between itself and the mountaintop isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

“I think it we were a hitting a perfect routine at any point in the season, then it would be too easy,” Morris said. “Having a difficult routine, it’s expected that we would have bobbles.”

In almost any other sport, one look at Lewiston’s roster would suggest a rebuilding year.

Eight freshmen and six sophomores startlingly outnumber the totals of four juniors and four seniors.

“I’m more nervous than in the past,” Regner said. “It’s more from ourselves, but we definitely feel it from other people too. I feel like we have a lot more inexperience this year.”

The newest Blue Devils enter the tradition-rich program well prepared, however, after cheering for Lewiston’s championship middle school team.

Others have perfected the finer points of the sport at local gyms — although coach Lynnette Morency noted that only five of the 22 Lewiston cheerleaders currently are on a touring all-star team.

And Lewiston didn’t water down its routine, either, setting the invisible bar every bit as high for itself as it does the competition.

“We will continue to raise the bar every year. We will always pull the most difficult routine. That’s just who we are. That’s what people expect of us,” Morency said. “I’m not going to push them beyond their limits. I think everything about our routine is within them. They’ve just got to believe.”

From longtime conference rivals Bangor and Brewer to southern powers Biddeford and Marshwood, Lewiston has grown accustomed to bringing the best out of its rivals. Morris compares it to the Blue Devils having a target on their backs.

Fundis agreed. “The expectation bar is set so high for us,” she said. “We have a lot to live up to. ‘It’s Lewiston. They’re big. They’re bad. They’re good.’ We have all that pressure on us to keep it going and keep winning.”

With the exception of Fundis, who joined the team her sophomore season, the Blue Devils’ seniors are four-year performers.

Morris took up the sport at age 6. Aside from a likely trip to Massachusetts in pursuit of a third straight New England title in March, Saturday’s meet marks the end of an emotional road.

That, alone, ensures that nobody in blue-and-white intends to leave with any regrets.

“It’s crazy that you put all that time and effort into one three-minute routine. All those months of crying and laughing and blood and tears, all for three minutes on the mat to either make it or break it,” Morris said. “We want to go in there and know if we lose, it’s because we gave our best and they were the better team. Not because we messed up and fell apart.”

Such collapses are highly unlikely for a program whose six total titles already are a Class A record.

“It’s there. They can have it if they want it, but they’ve got to hit it and they can’t be flat,” Morency said. “I’m a little bit more relaxed this year than I normally am, and I guess it’s because it’s out of my control. This group is stacked with a lot athletes and a lot of talent. I’ve just got to get them to relax a little bit and have some fun.”

What: 22nd annual State Cheerleading Championshis

Where: Augusta Civic Center

When: Saturday. Class A-D, 10 a.m.; Class B-C, 2:30 p.m.

Defending champions: Lewiston (A), Hermon (B), Dexter (C), Deer Isle-Stonington (D).

Local schools competing: Class A — Lewiston, Oxford Hills, Edward Little; Class B — Leavitt; Class C — Lisbon, Mountain Valley, Dirigo, St. Dom’s, Monmouth; Class D — Buckfield.

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