Biddeford celebrates after winning the Class A cheerleading state championship Saturday at the Augusta Civic Center. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

AUGUSTA — Biddeford Coach Deb Lebel called her team’s routine at the Class A cheerleading state championship the best she has ever seen.

Earning a score of 92.6 points, the Tigers ran away with the Class A title Saturday at the Augusta Civic Center, beating Lewiston (86.7) and Bangor (83.7).

“We had a perfect routine,” Lebel said. “It was amazing.”

The Tigers tumbled and danced in perfect synchronicity to earn an overwhelming win and successfully defend their title. It’s Biddeford’s sixth state championship since 2008.

“There’s no better feeling than what just happened,” Biddeford’s Claudia Janelle said. “When we came off that mat, it was so relieving and it didn’t feel like it was humanly possible to do that; we just did it, and it was the best feeling in the world and nothing compared to that.”

Janelle said that the team was so in sync that she didn’t have to think about the routine’s elements.

Lewiston cheerleaders congratulate Biddeford, which won the Class A cheerleading state championship for the second straight year. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

“During the routine, it’s like blackout,” Janelle said. “You’re in a zone and you’re so channel-focused, and at the end you’re like, ‘wow.’ It was like a phase, and then it just hits you and you’re like, ‘Wow, I just did that.’”

The only change Biddeford made from the South regional was to replace one team member who couldn’t compete because of a concussion.

Lewiston, on the other hand, created a new stunt section, and the scores reflected the change, as the Blue Devils improved on their score from the North regional.

“I liked that they showed that they are resilient,” Lewiston Coach Matt Hanley said. “We had major routine changes with every performance that we’ve put out, and they keep showing that they can hit no matter what. It’s really a good feeling knowing they can go out and hit whatever I put in front of them.”

Lewiston performed a strong routine with synchronicity. At the end of the routine, Brianna Desjardins fell to the ground and had to be carried off because of a knee injury that may have been caused by an ankle injury on Friday.

“They can hit if they’re tired, sick, we had girls with injuries on the floor, and they were able to push through and made all the stunts happen,” Hanley said. “… They feel really great. They’re a competitive team and they know what can happen if you don’t hit, so to still come out in second, they are extremely, extremely happy.”

Oxford Hills (79.3), Sanford (77.3) and Thornton Academy (77.2) rounded out the top six.

In Class D, Central Aroostook won its seventh straight championship with 74.6 points, just ahead of Penobscot Valley (72.1).

“We have had one of the toughest seasons that any sports team can go through,” Central Aroostook Coach Janice Lyons said. “We have had injuries upon injuries, sickness, weather, other circumstances, and it’s just been nonstop. We’ve had to change this routine I can’t even tell you how many times. They surprise us every time and they still give us everything they have, and we always end up on top somehow.”

Earlier, Hermon won its fourth consecutive Class B championship, and Sumner honored a former cheerleader and assistant coach, Whitney Doughty, by capturing the Class C title. Doughty died in an ATV accident last May.

Sumner performed a flawless routine and scored 80.1 points, beating defending champion Lisbon (77.7) and Monmouth Academy (75.1).

“It’s an amazing feeling,” said Sumner Coach Jessica Snowdeal. “They went out tonight and hit a flawless routine. They truly showed that they were doing it, not only for themselves, but also for Whitney. Whitney coached eight of these kids that were out on the mat today, and coached them in middle school and younger. A lot of talent shows today within those kids.”

Every aspect of Sumner’s routine went without a hitch.

The Civic Center was loudest when Sumner was performing, and the Tigers fed off the energy from the crowd, which included Doughty’s family.

“Our crowd was a huge help to these kids,” Snowdeal said. “It gives them a lot of adrenaline and that rush, hearing the crowd makes them really want to do it for them.”

Devin Moshier, a Sumner senior, didn’t have Doughty as a coach but returned to cheering after a hiatus, in part to help his teammates try to win a title.

“She was never personally my coach, but I have an amazing coach, Heather Tupper, and I couldn’t imagine going through what some of the girls are going through losing a coach … ,” Moshier said. “It’s just so sad, and you just want to help them and do it right for them. That’s part of the reason I cheered again this year, because I wanted that title that we lost last year and I wanted these girls to have a great season this year, and I knew I could help them with that.”

Lisbon, the runner-up, improved on its regional score, from 73.1 to a 77.7.

“They feel fantastic,” Greyhounds Coach Nicole Adams said. “It’s been a challenging season, definitely more challenging than past ones, but they rise to every challenge. They’ve done an incredible job and they’ve upped their score from regionals, and that’s all I ask from them.”

The Greyhounds’ focus wasn’t on beating any of the other teams, such as Monmouth, which defeated Lisbon in the South regional.

“Every competition we enter, improving our score is our number one thing,” Adams said. “Focus on us and improve our score … constantly improving ourselves, pushing ourselves and pushing the envelope.”

In Class B, Hermon scored 87 points, edging Ellsworth (86.2) and Medomak Valley (82.4).

“Honestly, every year is completely different,” Hermon Coach Kristie Reed said. “This is the first year of a full group of the youth team that we started when they were in second and third grade, and so it’s just fun that the whole team was on that team. Our seniors were the first group to graduate from that, so it’s a pretty cool thing to watch.”

Reed said her team didn’t make many changes from the regional meet, which the Hawks also won.

“Just hitting our routine,” said Reed. “We upped a little bit of difficulty from regionals to states, but honestly it’s just hitting it. It’s not worth doing difficulty if you’re not hitting it.”

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