By Amanda Scripture

Poland Regional High School

The Poland Regional High School Knights competition-cheering season got off to a great start at their first competition on January 10, at the South Portland Invitational. The vast majority of the teams there were class A, only three were class B, and St. Dom’s was the only class C team there. Out of the five teams called back, Poland was the only team not representing class A to be called back, beating out two of the top class A teams: Deering and Edward Little. Second round, one of Poland’s stunts fell, and a flyer hit the ground, meaning an automatic five- point deduction. Poland wound up in fourth place, a great confidence booster for the Knights. After performing so well against class A teams, Poland went into the Conference competition feeling pretty confident.

On January 17, in Wells the Western Maine Conference competition was held. Poland’s first round, all of their stunts hit, but the first round score sheet showed that Poland needed to have stronger voices and better facials. After round one, Poland was ahead of second place Wells by three points, with Gorham in third. Every team had the opportunity to perform again second round. Second round, Poland was louder and more entertaining, but one of their opening stunts did not hit all the way, and there was a question as to whether they would receive a deduction on one of their back handsprings. When second round was completed, Coach Tiffany Fourtier came back from the coach’s meeting with good news- Poland would not have a deduction! The Knights were still nervous, however; Wells had hit their routine pretty well, plus they had home- gym advantages. The Knights wound up on top, becoming Conference champions for the second year in a row.

On January 24, the Western Maine Regional Competition was held at the Augusta Civic Center. Unlike previous competitions, at Regionals no teams were being called back- meaning only one shot to nail it. Gorham performed before Poland, and busted out their routine perfectly. Being sixth, and a little early in the line-up, made Poland a little bit nervous; the Knights knew they had to set the bar. The Knights screamed, smiled, danced, and every one of their stunts went up. The Knights were not perfect, however, some of their stunts were not sturdy, and they would suffer a five-point deduction for a questionable catch. But because of all of the little clean up work the Knights had worked on before the competition, they became Western Maine Regional Champions for the second year in a row. Poland’s winning score was a 148.7, a full five points ahead of second place Gorham.

January 31 brought along the Cheers From the Heart Invitational at Marshwood High School. After the junior varsity competition (in which Poland’s JV Team earned a much deserved second place) the Varsity competition began at 5 p.m.. Poland’s performance went pretty well, with the exception of the double downs; there would be two five-point deductions for questionable catches. After waiting for all of the 20 teams to compete, Poland once again came out on top of the class B competition, with a score of 158.3. Gray finished up in second, 20 or so points behind the Knights. This win was a great lead- in to the State Cheering competition.

February 7 arrived and it was time for the state competition. The Class B competition was the last of the day, beginning at 7:45 PM. The judges did something they usually do not do before the competition began- they made all the tumblers of the teams come out to the mat so they could count them. It was a little nerve-racking, knowing that they were scrutinizing your tumbling, and this made the Knights a little bit nervous for their first- round performance. Poland was the last team to perform, and before they were up, Coach Tiffany took the team to the back locker room for a pep talk. With two teams left before Poland’s performance, the Knights went to the back practice area, ignored the teams performing, and got themselves pumped up. The huge crowd helped the Knights excitement grow; people had painted their shirts to spell GO KNIGHTS, and a couple of boys had painted their chests to spell PRHS. Finally, Poland was up. The Knights took the floor with their fans cheering them on, louder than anyone else. Despite one of their best tumblers spraining her ankle early in the routine, Poland executed a beautiful routine, nailing their doubles and hitting their stunts.

After first round, Poland was ahead of second place Gorham by nine points, followed by last year’s state champions Rockland and rounding up the teams called back, Wells. Poland would once again be last to perform. The Knights hid behind the curtain once again, and ignored the other performances. The Knights would have to hit their routine again, since all the scores from first round would be thrown out. Poland performed, although not perfectly, one of their double downs did not land correctly, meaning a mandatory 5 point deduction. The Knights were clearly nervous. Gorham was announced the runners-up, and while waiting for the winners to be announced, all these camera- men were taking pictures of Rockland. The Knights were thinking that since the camera’s were all on Rockland, this must mean that Rockland was the winner. The members of the Poland Regional High School just held hands and waited for the news. Finally it was announced that the Knights of Poland Regional High School were the 2004 Class B cheerleading state champions. The Knights cheerleading team brought back home the first state championship title in any sport of Poland’s history. Congratulations girls!

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