Lisbon High captured the Class C state championship at the Augusta Civic Center in February. Staff photo by Brianna Soukup

Unlike teams in other winter sports, cheerleading squads don’t have the benefit of regular-season competitions to test their abilities against opponents.

Save for a possible invitational competition before the conference championships, teams practice from mid-November until mid-January all for two or three chances at the perfect routine. They also are required by the Maine Principals’ Association to perform at least 50 percent of a school’s home basketball or ice hockey games to be eligible for competition, increasing the chance for injury.

Biddeford cheerleaders react after hearing they won first place at the Class A state championships at the Augusta Civic Center in February. Staff photo by Brianna Soukup

It takes resiliency to make it to the top, to make difficult routines look easy. And in the end, familiar powerhouses won state championships in February at the Augusta Civic Center.

Class A champion Biddeford won its sixth state title, ending a five-year hiatus. Coach Deb Lebel had one of her youngest squads this season, with eight freshmen on the roster.

Biddeford senior Cassidy Mawhinney said afterward that the team overcame any fears about competing for the state title by turning in two good weeks of preparation after winning regionals.

“We just worked really hard every practice, no breaks,” she said. “We wouldn’t give in to injuries or anything. You’ve just got to push through everything.”

Hermon won its third consecutive Class B state crown and eighth in the last nine years. The Hawks have 10 Class B titles total, all since 2007. Coach Kristy Reed told her team there was no margin for error if it wanted to defend its title.

“Watching them, each piece of the routine, it was like it kept getting more exciting,” she said afterward. “It was just really great to see them hit it when it counted.”

Lisbon, the Class C champion, had to replace seven seniors from last year’s team and only had one senior this season, so a crop of sophomores-turned-juniors were heavily relied upon.

Lisbon Coach Nicole Adams said her team ended up switching up its routine even after winning the Mountain Valley Conference championship, knowing that it wasn’t good enough to win the Class C South regional title. The Greyhounds only had two weeks to learn and perfect those adjustments. Some teams are forced to do the same because of injuries or illnesses, and in cheerleading every team member has a specific role, so finding a replacement isn’t an easy task.

Lisbon had to beat out Sacopee Valley both in the regional and at states, edging the Hawks 72.6 points to 71.1 for the state title. It was the best finish in school history for the Sacopee team, quite an accomplishment considering an illness bug went around the team in the two weeks between regionals and states.

Central Aroostook won its sixth straight Class D crown and its 11th in 12 years. Like Biddeford, the Panthers had one of their younger teams, with six sophomores and three freshmen joining three juniors and three seniors.

“Our pyramid is probably one of the best … and our score showed that today for difficulty, so we’re very pleased with that,” Central co-coach SamiJo Allen said afterward. “Our tumbling, because we’re at majority, that helped us today.”


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