AUGUSTA — Leavitt had almost everything it needed to be successful at Saturday’s Western Class B cheerleading championship.

Close-knit, senior-led team, strengthened by a trip to last year’s state competition? Check.

Confidence at its peak after finishing at the head of the class in its final exhibition meet? Check.

Transportation for the 45-minute ride from Turner to Augusta Civic Center?

Ummm…

Thirty minutes passed with neither the sound nor sight of a bus. Then another half-hour, and then another, inspiring the Hornets to consider every alternative this side of snowshoes.

“We almost came in a limo,” senior Carly Comeau said. “That was our last resort.”

That wouldn’t have been a bad idea for the ride home.

Leavitt earned a motorcade, finishing second to Medomak Valley for its best result at the regional showcase since 1993.

A scheduling issue resulted in the missing bus, according to the team. Leavitt was 90 minutes late to the civic center, where teams were supposed to register at 10 a.m. for the noon start.

Judges and meet directors cut the Hornets a break after their late arrival, moving them from third (as set by an earlier random draw) to last in the 14-team parade.

Contrary to Tom Petty’s musical warning that the waiting is the hardest part, it didn’t seem to frustrate or unnerve the Hornets.

With co-favorites Medomak, Wells and Lisbon all performing on the second half of the itinerary, Leavitt wasn’t forced to watch them. The timing of their routines coincided with the Hornets’ stretching and last-minute instructions from coach Brenda Perry.

“We cleared it off and just came back and competed,” senior Nicole Smith said.

“I’m not really sure that it changed (the team’s mindset) today, but it gave us time to catch our breath,” added Perry.

Medomak backed up its narrow victory over Leavitt two weeks ago here at the KVAC championship, prevailing by a margin of 140.9 to 136.2 on a 175-point scale.

Like Leavitt, Medomak — second to Poland in last year’s regional — is a group that has paid its dues.

“It’s almost all the same kids. We have just two new kids. We’ve grown close over the last three years. They know each other pretty well and they’ve been through it together for a long time,” Medomak coach Rachel Coor said. “Leavitt is strong. They beat us last week. It was only by a couple of points. We knew it was going to be tight. We figured it would be a couple of points spread.”

When co-captains Smith, Comeau, Carolann McClellan and Chelsea Perry were freshmen, Leavitt competed in Class A.

Trying to earn a top-six berth and get into the state meet meant going stunt-for-stunt with Lewiston, Oxford Hills, Bangor, Brewer and Edward Little, to name only a few.

“We had no chance,” McClellan said.

“We just prayed not to get last,” echoed Smith.

They’ve found a home in Western B, a division dominated by tri-county teams this season.

In addition to Leavitt, MVC champion Lisbon, reigning state champ Poland and Mountain Valley finished fourth through sixth and advanced to the Feb. 5 state meet in Bangor.

Gray-New Gloucester (seventh) and Oak Hill (eighth) just missed the cut.

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