By Tess McLaughlin, Special to the BDN: BANGOR — The Dexter Tigers clawed their way to the top and captured the Eastern Maine Class C cheerleading title Saturday, barely escaping the hot pursuit of the Central Red Devils at the Bangor Auditorium.
The Tigers earned 134.6 points, springing above their competitors with strong, solid jumps. The Red Devils of Corinth came close to the Tigers with a score of 133.
The six top teams will go on to compete in the state championships on Saturday, Feb. 11, at the Augusta Civic Center.
Dexter performed its winning routine after holding the majority of its practices in the high school cafeteria. Having to use wrestling mats instead of regulation competition mats in a small space didn't stop the Tigers from selling their routine.
"We were able to get into our gym a couple times this week and work on spacing, and I think that really helped," said coach Kacie Ladd, who glowed with pride for her team's success.
"They worked very hard. Jumps are [one of] our strengths, especially after today where our scores tended to go up… I was just hoping to make the top six for states," Ladd added.
Senior captains Danielle Mower, Hillary Mower, Whitney Mower, and Emily Sevey agreed that jumps as well as facials were the team's strongest part of their winning performance. For states, they hope to improve their tumbling scores, stick their stunts, and build up more energy for the routine as a whole.
"[This years team] always seems to have the same goals in mind, which I think is important." Ladd said.
Other state qualifiers include third-place Sumner of East Sullivan (129), followed by Orono (125.7), defending state champion Houlton (123.2), and Calais (110.9). Central received a one-point penalty deduction, and Orono and Houlton each received five-point deductions.
Teams that did not qualify for the state championships were Penquis of Milo (104.9), Bucksport (101.9), Mattanawcook Academy of Lincoln (98.9), Narraguagus of Harrington (97.5), Lee Academy (94.1), and George Stevens Academy of Blue Hill (85.3).
Dexter finished fifth in last year's EM Class C regional. Team members are: Chelsea Ronco, Jessica Chabot, Shayna Fogg, Taylor Goulette, Ansalewit Laughton, David McKusick, Danielle Mower, Hillary Mower, Whitney Mower, Mackenzie Peatfield, Harley Ponte, Madison Provost, Emily Sevey, Matthew Stanhope, Sarah Ann Vigue, Danielle Whitten, Aaliyah Williams, and Alex Wulf.
The runnerup Red Devils are coached by Cristy Strout. Team members are: Kassidy Chase, Randi Clark, Taylor Clark, Tabitha Goldsmith, Kayla Grindle, K.C. Helper, Jennifer Howard, Billie-Joe Hurd, Kayla Kelley, Kristina Leeds, Cassidy McNerney, Janelle Portmann, Autumn Preble, Melyssa Prescott, Erin Smith, Heather Tanguay, Hillary Williams, Logan Wilson, and Megan Young.
For information on the state cheering championships, visit www.mpa.cc.
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