After being on steps, MVHS hopes to walk through state title door
Waldoboro — The following is a synopsis of the 2013-14 Medomak Valley High School cheering squad:
Coach/years coached current team: Rachel Coor, sixth year.
Last year's record/playoff information: The Panthers finished second (148.1 points) at the state Class B championships, won the Western Class B championship (131.4 points) and won the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B championship (135.5 points).
Roster: Juniors Shania Melvin, Paige Russell, Olivia Ryan, Alyssa Ducharme and Ashlee Wilson; sophomores Cassie Dever, Stephanie Hill, Hannah Wile and Amanda Poland; and freshmen Whitney Dow, Hannah Smith and Courtney Ducharme.
Known graduation losses: Charlene Wilbur, Jessica Prescott and Kelsie Grady
Significant impact players: Dow, Dever, Wilson, Melvin, Russell.
Team strength: Tumbling.
Team goals: To win the state Class B championship.
Top opponents: Gardiner, Leavitt of Turner, Wells, Ellsworth and Hermon.
Outlook: The Panthers have no seniors on this year's team but possess a wealth of competition experience. Wile is a transfer from Cony High School, while Dow has not cheered for several years but has been involved with competitive gymnastics since she was in third grade.
All other members of the team have significant competition experience. And the team's goal is clear.
“They want to win a state championship,” said Coor. “That's the bottom line. We've been really, really close the last three years in a row and they are doing everything they can do in order to get to that goal.”
Coor said the tumbling category is “100 percent going to work in their favor this year” as every girl on the team can execute back handsprings.
Medomak Valley also has the benefit of an outside choreographer this year, something the Panthers have not had in seasons' past. Coor said as far as teams that regularly compete at the state championship level, Medomak Valley is one of the final schools to go that route as she typically choreographs her own routines.
Coor, who already has announced to the team this will be her final year coaching as she prepares to enroll in law school, said winning a state crown would be a great way to go out.
“It would be a great way to go out, but I don't want that to be the focus,” she said. “I don't want them to feel like they have to win because I'm leaving, I want them to be successful because of the work they've put in."