AUGUSTA — Entering the season, the Erskine Academy cheer team had never finished higher than fourth place in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B championships.

Not only did the Eagles best that mark on a historic January afternoon — they shattered it.

Erskine beat out Leavitt to win its first-ever KVAC B title Saturday at the Augusta Civic Center. The Eagles racked up 60.3 points to the Hornets’ 57.45 to dethrone Medomak Valley atop the conference.

“I can’t believe it; I’m still shaking,” said Erskine senior Cadence Rau. “It didn’t feel real when they announced it. I’m so excited.”

Oxford Hills performs during the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference cheering championships Saturday at the Augusta Civic Center. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

In Class A, Oxford Hills (82.4 points) beat out reigning state champion Lewiston (73.55 points) and reigning KVAC champ Bangor (73.4) for the title. Mt. Blue (65.5), Hampden Academy (63.05), Skowhegan (46.1) and Edward Little (45.4) rounded out the seven-team Class A field.

Gray-New Gloucester took first place in the three-team Western Maine Conference competition, with Sacopee Valley placing second.


Erskine had a clean performance, finishing as one of just four teams without a deduction penalty in the 13-team competition. It was an effort that had the Eagles feeling confident as they left the mats, even with nine other B teams left to perform.

“We hit all of our stunts, and it just looked like we were out there having a lot of fun,” said senior Lauren Tyler. “We knew we did really well (after the performance); we just didn’t know how well until they announced it. We’re really proud of ourselves.”

Nokomis placed third with 54.6 points, and Brewer and Winslow finished with a respective 51.6 and 49 points to round out the top five. Other local performances in Class B saw Lawrence (41.85 points) claim seventh place, Waterville/Messalonskee (39.85 points) finish eighth and Gardiner (25.6) place 13th.

Defending champion Medomak Valley finished 10th after a fall that resulted in an injury cut the Panthers’ performance short and delayed the competition for 10 minutes. Erskine’s win marked only the second time since 2014 that Medomak failed to win the B meet (Leavitt took first place in 2020). 

Even after her team’s stellar performance, Tyler thought Leavitt had done enough to beat Erskine for the title as the teams gathered on the mats for the awards ceremony. The wait for the results was the latest in a string of uncertainties for the Eagles, who had to make a major change on the eve of the competition.

“We didn’t really know what to expect going into it, honestly,” said Meadow Laflamme, another Erskine senior. “We changed our pyramid last night, and we just had to say, ‘We’ll see, I guess.’ It’s just one of those things where the adrenaline kicks in, and we just have a lot of confidence within our group.”

Leavitt performs during the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference cheering championships Saturday at the Augusta Civic Center. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Skowhegan (Class A) and Waterville/Messalonskee (Class B) were winners of the Jamie Beth Shible Award. That award is presented annually to the teams that “demonstrate the greatest degree of improvement by their level of performance at the KVAC championships.”

For Erskine, the first-place finish was the latest chapter in a burgeoning program. Since qualifying for the state championships for the first time in 21 years in 2018, the Eagles have made a number of return trips, and their first-ever conference title is a sign that they’re ready for another run.

“It’s even better knowing that it’s our senior year, and we can say we won KVACs,” Laflamme said. “It’s such a good win for us. We’re all so happy.”

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