There were “show tune” themes, “shout it out” and “girls” themes. Yet, if there was an Originality award, it would go to St. Dom’s. Along with silencing other teams and their fans, the Saints took home the Western Class C Regional Championship for the second year in a row; thus securing a spot in the state competition.

As usual, the ten teams competing brought fire and passion, along with loud and spirited fans. Chants rang from wall to wall, as squads from the Western Maine Conference and Mountain Valley Conference took the floor and rocked the gym. Perennial contenders impressed the judges and the adrenaline was almost overwhelming for the girls in black. Performing nearly last, St. Dom’s was under immense pressure…but you couldn’t tell. A nearly flawless routine sent Saints fans sporting “The Carnival has Arrived” t-shirts into a frenzy. Winning by an impressive 12-point deficit with a 129, St. Dom’s again showed poise and class on the mat.

The final spot on their journey was a return to the site of their Regional Championship on February 11. The Augusta Civic Center was packed for the matinee competition. This was a familiar place for the Saints, who have become the dominant team that everyone strives to beat. Surely St. Dom’s cheerleading is the cream of the crop in Class C, taking home titles in 1992, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, and 2005.

With a few more tweaks, St. Dom’s was expected to again contend for the title. With a score of 139 in the first round, the team qualified for call-backs along with Eastern C teams Washington Academy, Orono, and Houlton. Unfortunately, the routine was not best. The nearly error free performance gave them a final score of 142.3: third place behind champion Houlton (150.1) and Washington Academy (147).

Tears were shed and disappointment haunted both athletes and fans of most teams present. Yet, no one should be disappointed. As I have learned this year, Cheerleading is a very demanding sport. Frequent 3-plus hour practices, including early Saturday mornings, is very exhausting. In addition, being expected to perform a flawless routine in front of 5,000 screaming fans can get to the best of your nerves. No one should be disappointed, especially St. Dom’s, who even this year provoked fear in the eyes of all other teams. They were still the best from C West, and still have taken home 5 titles in the last 8 years. Look at this as a positive experience that only gives younger cheerleaders more experience for future championship years. For this school, the Carnival certainly has arrived; as in a hard working team that always contends for the title.

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