Sumner High School of East Sullivan already had two titles to its credit this season as it captured the Penobscot Valley Conference Class C competition and the Downeast Athletic Conference event.
The Tigers added the Class C North championship plaque to its mantelpiece on Saturday afternoon with an energetic routine performed to near perfection at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.
Sumner has dedicated its season to the memory of former Tigers cheerleader and youth cheerleading coach Whtiney Doughty, who died on May 25, 2019 at the age of 25 in an all-terrain vehicle accident.
Sumner will try to claim its first state Class C crown since 2010 at the state championships on Feb. 8 at the Augusta Civic Center.
Sumner tallied 77.9 points and was one of six schools to qualify. Central of Corinth was second with 66.1 points and the other four qualifiers were Mattanawcook Academy of Lincoln (65.1), Houlton (64.2), Bucksport (57.5) and Dexter (57).
Foxcroft Academy of Dover-Foxcroft (53.8), Calais (52.8), Orono (50.3) and Mount View of Thorndike (36) rounded out the field.
“This is the best performance we’ve done,” Sumner senior Rhiannon Alley said. “We always keep in mind who we’re doing this for. Right before we go on, we tell ourselves this one is for Whitney.”
“[Doughty] taught me everything I know about cheering,” senior Nataly Battis said. “If feels so good to go out and win it [for her].”
Monica Pettegrow, who co-coaches the Tigers with Jessica Snowdeal, said “I couldn’t have asked for a better performance. We were way better than we were at the PVCs. They went out with a much better attitude.”
“It was very exciting. I loved it,” Battis said. “We had some great practices and we worked really hard. We put all of our heart into it just for [Doughty].”
The Tigers were the favorites based on their wins at the PVC and DAC events but that didn’t negatively impact them.
“We work well under pressure,” Alley said.
“We trust each other,” said senior Devin Moshier. “We know when we get on the mat, we’re a family.”
The other members of the Sumner team are Ainsley Alley, Abigail Bell, Scarlet Capitano, Marissa Colby, Robin Faulkingham, Emilee Hutchins, Autumn Mowery, Emaly Ridere, Sage Soule, Skylar Soule and Madlyln Warren.
Central coach Cristy Strout was impressed by Sumner.
“They’re fantastic. I love to watch them. They are so clean. Their coaches do a wonderful job.”
Central turned in a quality performance with some exceptional tumbling but, during a four-pyramid routine, one of the pyramids collapsed which proved costly.
“It wasn’t our best but it wasn’t bad. In this sport, the way it is, it’s one and done,” Strout said. “You get one chance so when there’s a mistake, it’s hard because you know they don’t make those mistakes all the time.
“So you’re hoping if you don’t have a perfect performance, it’s [good] enough,” she added.
She was pleased with her young team’s showing.
“More than half of our team is freshmen and sophomores and to come in here, work through the nerves and end up in second place, I can’t complain. I’m a happy coach,” Strout said.
Central senior Kaitlynn Bean said they had that one mistake “but everything else went very good. We’re very fortunate as a team in that we only have small things to work on. We’re so solid.”