BANGOR – When Washburn cheerleader Hillary Irving fell during the Beavers’ preliminary cheer at Wednesday’s Eastern Maine cheerleading competition at the Bangor Auditorium, her first thought wasn’t to smile and get back up on her feet for the team.
Her first thought, as she clutched her left knee and writhed in pain on the mat, was more along the lines of, “Oh God, not again!”
Irving had just finished eight months of rehabilitation on that knee after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament. So she hobbled to trainer Wes Jordan for tape and a big bag of ice.
“I’ve worked too hard to just walk away,” said Irving.
At the end of the preliminary round, Washburn was allowed to finish its routine right where it left off. The Beavers made the cut for finals and finished in third place with a score of 54.7.
Bangor Christian took the regional title with a final score of 56.0 points. Fort Fairfield’s 55.7 was good for Class D runner-up honors.
“We’ve never even been called back before, so this is great,” Patriots’ coach Sheila Collins said. “The team is almost all freshmen, so we have a lot of inexperience.”
Gardiner won the Class A championship with a loud, well-synchronized routine and few mistakes on tumbling passes and pyramids. The Tigers racked up 78.7 points, the most of any team’s preliminary and final routines.
Brewer came in second with 76.7 points. Bangor, which won the Penobscot Valley Conference championship two weeks ago, scored 71.3 for third place.
The maximum scores for the cheerleading routines is 100. Judges can give up to 10 points each for fundamentals and perfection on routine, and a maximum of five points for a variety of additions to the routines, such as jumps, stunts, pyramids, tumbling, creativity and voice projection. The routines can be up to three minutes long.
Each team performs a preliminary cheer and the field is halved based on the top scores. The teams that make the cut perform the routines again. Final places are based on how the judges rescore the routines.
In Brewer’s case, a smoother final routine was the key to second place. The Witches were third behind Bangor and Gardiner going into the finthe Rams at the end of the competition.
“I told [the team] that all they had to do was stick their landings and give it everything they had,” Brewer coach Lisa Webb said. “And I told them that if they did, I’d spring for the pizza.”
Brewer junior Heather Frasier said the Witches’ performance in the finals was their sharpest all season.
“That’s the best we’ve done on that routine so far,” she said. “We hit everything perfectly.”
Southern Aroostook of Dyer gets a nod for the most original move of the night, with the girls lifting Warriors’ male cheerleader, Michael Casey, to the top of a pyramid.
Members of the Gardiner team were Sarah Barnes, Kristen Billups, Melissa Christie, Samantha Fairfield, Gennie Gurney, Billie Jo Hatch, Stephanie Hayward, Madhu Maganti, Jessica Marsella, Jenni Norton, Amanda O’Donnell, Sadi O’Donnell, Danielle Raftus and Brie-anne Trott.
The Bangor Christian squad members were Myranda Carmichel, Susie Costigan, Kathy Fortier, Michelle Martin, Emily Morrill, Ester Pier, Jennifer Teague, Jamie Theriault, Sara White, Jennifer Wilkes and Alyssa Wiswell.