BANGOR, Maine — Lewiston High School is perennially the standard by which all Maine cheerleading teams are judged.
On Saturday morning, the Blue Devils demonstrated why with an efficient performance to capture the Class A cheering state championship at the Cross Insurance Center.
“It puts a lot of pressure on us, but all we think about is winning,” Lewiston senior Taylor Hopkins said of the expectations placed on the program, which won its second straight state title and its fifth in the last six years.
“We worked really hard for this. We went for an undefeated season and that’s what we were planning for,” she added.
Lewiston piled up 90.8 points to surpass runner-up Bangor, which scored 82.1 points. Noble of North Berwick took third place (78.5), while Gorham (78.1) and Marshwood of South Berwick (77.0) rounded out the top five.
Placing Nos. 6-10 were Thornton Academy of Saco (76.3), Brewer (75.6), Oxford Hills of South Paris (75.4), Sanford (67.7) and Windham (67.5), respectively.
It was the ninth state championship for Lewiston, which placed 20 competitors on the mat.
“We went through a lot of changes this year and I definitely feel like the eyes were on us to see if we were still going to be that program that everybody talks about,” said first-year head coach Lysa Laverdiere. “They lived up to it. They worked so hard for it every, single day.”
Lewiston rode the experience of its seven seniors: Kerrianna Asselin, Olivia Bergeron, Hopkins, Sierra Melanson, Meagan Murphy, Amber Smith and Gemma Smith.
The Blue Devils churned out a variety of impressive skills and rock-solid stunts. They also showed off crisp tumbling and had their vocal crowd and other cheerleaders clapping throughout.
“Our difficulty is quite a lot higher than others, but we also have great bonds between our cheerleaders. We work very well together,” Hopkins said.
Lewiston’s squad includes juniors Morgan Allen, Kaitlyn Beckwith, Hailee Ingerson, Alison Porter and Tawni Zamrock; sophomores Maggie Belleau, Jenna Burton, Jordan Girouard, Maraeka Merchant and Madelyne Regner; and freshmen Megan Gaudette, Sydney Hill, Nicholas Roy, Shelby Rucker and Marissa Larock.
Bangor, which also finished second behind Lewiston at the North regional, continued its success with an outstanding effort.
“It’s definitely the best that they have performed that routine this year, so they saved their best performance for the biggest day of the year,” said Kate Robichaud, who is the Rams’ co-coach with Stephanie Crane.
“We’ve overcome a lot of things,” said Bangor junior Jordyn Sumner. “Some people had injuries and we’ve been able to work past those and work as a team. It was just amazing.”
Bangor’s team members are: seniors Allison Dionne, Olivia Quinn and Jessica Winkler; juniors Shayna Coombs, Brianna Roach, Jade Noddin, Ashley Ouellette, Sumner, Ellie Babbidge and Jillian Henderson; sophomores Abbi Merrill, Hope Ouellette, Sammy McNaughton, Olivia Heanssler; and Kenzie Crichton, and freshmen Chloe Woodward and Alainna Roach.
“This is my first year cheering on varsity for my senior year, so it was awesome getting second place for states,” Winkler said.