Lewiston jumps for joy after announcer said that the Blue Devils won the Class A state cheerleading championship at the Augusta Civic Center in February. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Lewiston’s cheer season was filled with ups and downs, but the Blue Devils overcame their trials and came together at the end to capture the school’s first Class A state championship in five years.

“We had some good practices and not-so-good practices,” Lewiston junior and team leader Emily Levasseur said. “But we never gave up on each other — I think that made the team so special. ”

The Blue Devils had to work through coronavirus protocols, which had six or seven cheerleaders out of practice in the two weeks leading up to the KVAC championship.

“It was a pretty weird time to set up your practice plans and your season-long schedule because it was a little unknown at the start,” Lewiston coach Matt Hanley said. “As the season progressed, being hit with the COVID cases, it was (a) weird season. I don’t think it was as easy as I thought it was going to be. Everybody thought it was going to be more normal, but in reality, it was a lot harder than last season.”

Instead of working on their routine with only half the team available to practice, the Blue Devils went back to working on individual skills, like motions, jumps and individual tumbling skills.

“I think it cleaned stuff up for us and made our individual skills stronger, working on those separately,” Levasseur said. “It just made us stronger.”


Hanley said the squad’s communication also improved during that time period.

“It did force the kids to work together more because they knew when everybody came back (from COVID), it was crunch time and time to work,” Handley said. “They did everything they needed to do (to get ready for KVACs).”

At the KVAC championships, Lewiston received a score of 72.95 and finished third behind Oxford Hills (73.5) and Bangor (73.2).

Hanley said he modified the routine for KVACs because he knew the team wasn’t quite near 100%, and therefore not ready for the original routine.

After seeing the scores at the conference meet, the Blue Devils also made changes before the Class A North regional competition, including to the pyramid portion of the routine.

Lewiston finished second at the Class A North regional with a score of 83.9, almost two full points behind Bangor (85.8).


When the time came to prepare for the Class A state championship, the Blue Devils were ready to incorporate more elite skills into the routine.

“We knew we could amp it up because their energy level had gotten back, and they were back to 100%,” Hanley said.

The Blue Devils nailed their routine and earned a score of 87.5, defeating Bangor by two points, to win Lewiston’s first state championship in five years and 11th overall (1991, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2022).

“It was very rewarding. I’ve got a very talented team, and they worked very hard, but they had to work even harder,” Hanley said. “They had to learn to communicate better, they had to learn to push through a struggle. We took a big hit at regionals — we all thought, and so did the crowd, that we were going to win. To not get that, it was hard for them. To see them in practice work even harder, and get rewarded at states in the best feeling ever.”

Levasseur said winning was nice, but she was proud of the performance, no matter what position the Blue Devils finished.

“States was the best, finishing first felt incredible, but at the end of the day, what matters is the 2 minutes and 30 seconds that we put out on the floor,” Levasseur said.

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