AUGUSTA — Some words just grate the ears.

School teachers go into a tizzy when “ain’t” rolls off a student’s tongue. Toddlers throw tantrums when they hear “no.” And Monmouth Academy’s senior cheerleadrers probably wouldn’t mind if “runner-up” were purged from the sports lexicon.

“We’ve been second at our last six competitions,” Abby Szotkowski said. “So we really wanted to go for the gold this time. We wanted it not just for ourselves but our coaches, too, because this year is our last chance. We wanted to go out with a bang.”

After four years of playing bridesmaid to Mountain Valley, St. Dom’s and Washington Academy at the conference, regional and state levels, Monmouth took out its frustration with a convincing victory Saturday over Dirigo and the defending champion Saints for the Western Class C championship.

Four regional championships were contested before a total crowd of more than 5,000 at Augusta Civic Center.

Poland dominated Western Class B on the way to its second championship in three years. Bangor prevented a local sweep of the three competitions involving tri-county schools, edging Lewiston by a slim margin for the Eastern Class A crown.

The top six teams in each division advanced to their respective state meets here Feb. 6. Eleven area teams earned a trip to the finals.

Mt. Blue joined Lewiston in Class A, finishing third to clinch a state berth for the first time. Leavitt, Mountain Valley and Oak Hill moved ahead with Poland in Class B. Jay and Livermore Falls followed Monmouth, Dirigo and St. Dom’s in Class C.

Having fallen shy by a fraction of a point in those haunting recent competitions, Monmouth might have expected that any breakthrough to the top spot would be rife with drama. Instead, the Mustangs prevailed over the Cougars by a comfortable six-point margin, 121.8 to 115.8 on a scale of 175.

“We’ve been so close, but we had a lot more heart this time,” said Devon Ayer, one of two Monmouth cheerleaders to compete all four years. “Our team is a lot closer this year.”

“This will go a long way toward getting that confidence,” Monmouth coach Leanne Yeaton Burnham said. “That’s what they’ve always had, but for so long it’s been just shy and it’s been ‘what if we did this?’ and ‘what if we did that?’ Now they feel they know what it takes, and they want to keep building on it.”

Dirigo made a dramatic rally from its performance at the Mountain Valley Conference championship meet, when it trailed Monmouth and nearly everyone else en route to a sixth-place finish.

“We’ve had a lot of injuries this year. We rebuilt our routine, and the girls completely nailed it today,” said Dirigo coach Melissa Porter. “I couldn’t have asked for anything better from them. We changed it all. It was really the whole team pulling together.”

Armed with only one senior, Poland needed no such confidence boost.

The Knights took the mat with the confidence befitting a program that has won two of the last six state championships and breezed to an 11-point win (140.7 to 129.7) over Medomak Valley.

“I was the only senior who stuck it out, probably because they weren’t sure how it was going to go,” said Sophie Geelhoed. “Obviously it’s gone very well. We did great in our (Western Maine Conference) meet, so we’ve just been really excited. We kept that energy up.”

“We knew that other teams would be fighting for it 100 percent, so we said we had to fight 110 percent,” Poland coach Katie Hebert said. “We had the WMC meet and another meet at South Portland, but there were teams here that we hadn’t seen at either one. We knew we had to fight even harder today.”

Lewiston has been snakebitten by what the Blue Devils saw as controversial point deductions at the Class A regionals and states in recent years.

There were no such issues Saturday, when Lewiston coach Lynnette Morency said her team was simply beaten, 149 to 147.7, by a seemingly flawless Bangor routine.

“I think this might be the best thing for us,” Morency said. “There are no surprises on my score sheets. What they tell me, I know. Now the girls have to listen and do what I’m telling them to do. We can go up. I’m not worried. We’ll regroup, and we’ll be back.”

Mt. Blue was the day’s underdog story on the strength of a pleasing performance that put the Cougars ahead of traditional KVAC powers Lawrence, Hampden, Brewer, Edward Little and Oxford Hills, to name a few.

“We’ve never been to states, ever. But we thought we’d have a chance,” said Morgan Bowering.

Holly Gould has coached the Cougars for 17 years.

“I told them to go out, have a good time, be energetic,” she said. “And they nailed it.”

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