January 27, 2013

HIGH SCHOOL REGIONAL CHEERLEADING CHAMPIONSHIPS: Mustangs, Tigers move on to states

By Bill Stewart bstewart@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

AUGUSTA -- The Gardiner cheerleading team came to the Augusta Civic Center hoping to end a decade of frustration at the regional championships. Monmouth came looking for a little redemption Saturday.

Both headed home satisfied.

Gardiner scored 124.8 points to finish third in Western B and earn its first state championship appearance in 10 years. Medomak Valley won with 131.4 points while Wells scored 129.9.

Monmouth finished runner-up in Western C a season after it went third.

"We are working toward where we want to be," Monmouth coach Mike Gilbert said. "We still have a little work to do, but we are enthusiastically happy. We wanted to get into the top three, that was our goal."

Monmouth, which was also second at the Mountain Valley Conference championships, finished with 110.4 points. Lisbon won the regional title with 128.3 points.

The top six teams qualify for states.

The Mustangs were the first team on the mat when Western C competition opened.

"It was more relaxing," Monmouth senior Miranda Allen said. "We wanted to set the stage for everyone else."

Added Monmouth captain Meagan Michaud: "We did what we wanted to do. We always tell each other, no regrets, and we don't have any."

Gilbert said the Mustangs tweaked their routine since the MVC championships, adding a few elements of difficulty. The move paid off Saturday as Monmouth performed a penalty-free routine.

"We knew we had to increase our points," Gilbert said. "We start off with a Plan B and we work up from there. We had a clean routine (Saturday)."

Madison finished third in Western C with 101.5 points.

"I always stay with the same principle and that I go with what I know is safe," Madison coach Amber Noyes said. "I always choose the routine I know they will hit, and they did. We wanted to get to states and we did."

So, too, did Gardiner, which finished ninth in Western B last season.

"It's been a long time since we've qualified for states.," Gardiner senior Hannah Morgan said. "We really thought we could do it this year."

Added Gardiner coach Jeanne Moody: "Ten years is a long time. I've been waiting a long time for this."

Moody, who is in her 25th year as Gardiner coach, credited an increase in numbers and a more difficult routine that catapulted the team into states. The Tigers featured 12 cheerleaders on the floor Saturday. They brought just eight to the Civic Center last year.

"We really stepped up," Moody said. "It's nice to have the numbers this year, too."

Added Gardiner senior Paige Hinkley: "We added a degree of difficulty and that helped."

The Tigers spent much of the morning watching their fellow competition. They were the 11th of 12 teams to perform.

"It was kind of nervous but we saw what we needed to do and what not to do," Hinkley said.

Morgan agreed, saying the tension mounted throughout the session. Still, the Tigers persevered thanks to a routine that included more stunts.

"Going next to last, it was a difficult thing," Morgan said. "We're just so excited. We worked hard for this."

Elsewhere Saturday, defending New England champ Lewiston won its fourth consecutive Eastern A title. The two-time defending Class A state champ Blue Devils finished with 161.4 points. Bangor finished second with 154.4. Brewer (146.9), Edward Little (142.5), Oxford Hills (132.8) and Hampden (127.3) rounded out the top six.

Lewiston coach Lynnette Morency said her squad still isn't in peak form.

"We're not hitting clean yet," she said. "I wanted to see the girls have a clean routine here but we don't want to peak too early,"

Lawrence finished seventh, just missing out of qualifying for states.

Other regional champs Saturday included the following: Deer-Isle Stonington (Class D East/West), Dexter (Eastern C) and Ellsworth (Eastern B).

Bill Stewart -- 621-5640

bstewart@centralmaine.com

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