The Central Red Devils perform their routine in the class C state championship competition on Saturday at the Augusta Civic Center. Credit: Linda Coan O’Kresik

AUGUSTA, Maine — Lisbon High School emerged from a relatively tight pack at the top of the Class C cheering competition Saturday to capture its third state championship in the last five years.

The Greyhounds, led by lone senior Olivia Clark, scored 72.6 points to defeat South region runner-up Sacopee Valley of South Hiram, which placed second with 71.1 points.

Credit: Linda Coan O’Kresik

“Our main goal approaching every competition is to improve ourselves from the last one,” said Lisbon coach Nicole Adams, whose team previously also won gold in 2015 and 2017.

“Every competition I try to up the bar of difficulty and as you could tell when the [public address announcer] was rattling off our roster we have a much younger team this year so our main goals were building confidence and developing the skills as we went.”

Rounding out the top five were defending state champion and 2019 North region title winner Central of Corinth (68.6), North runner-up Sumner of East Sullivan (68.2) and Mattanawcook Academy of Lincoln (67.5).

Also competing at states were Houlton (65.6), Monmouth Academy (58.3), Bucksport (55.9), Calais (53.7), Madison-Carrabec (52.6), Wiscasset (49.9) and Dirigo of Dixfield (40.5).

While schools like Lewiston, Hermon and Central Aroostook of Mars Hill have won the bulk of the state championships in Classes A, B and D in recent years, Class C has had the most wide-open competition of the four classes with eight different schools earning state titles in the last 12 years.

Credit: Linda Coan O’Kresik

That left some uncertainty as the participants remained gathered on the mat even after Sacopee Valley was named the state runner-up, with the Central and Lisbon squads huddled next to each other waiting to learn which school would be crowned the new champion.

This year it was a sweep of the top two spots for the South.

“You could tell today that they finally had the confidence. That part really clicked,” said Adams, whose team also won the MPA’s sportsmanship banner for Class C South cheering. “By far this was their best performance this year.”

Cheering for the championship Lisbon team were Clark, Oceana Assignon, Amanda Bergin, Courtney Bonsaint, Grace Braley, Emma Cleaves, Makayla Driscoll, Annika Golino, Mykayla Harrington, Reese McAtee, Madison Ryder, Reice St. Amant, Jennifer St. Pierre, Maranda Swett, Trinity Trufant, Addisen Turcotte, Madison Valcourt and Vannessa Wasielewski.

Credit: Linda Coan O’Kresik

Sacopee Valley was represented by Gabby Barnes, April Barrett, Hailey Capano, Colby Cummings, Taylor Dastoli, Jeremy Dennison, Makayla Dube, Isabelle Keim, Kayla King, Avery Magda, Gabby Martin, Nicole Mead, Sierra Miller, Mitchell Thurlow, Patricia Thurlow, Savannah Nance, Molly Pettengill and Cassidy Shea.

Mattanawcook Academy won the Class C North cheering sportsmanship award.

Ernie Clark is a veteran sportswriter who has worked with the Bangor Daily News for more than a decade. A four-time Maine Sportswriter of the Year as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters...