Championship-driven Panthers dominate KVAC Class B competitionMount View seventh, athlete's injury forces Oceanside to drop out of event
Augusta — Pure Panther domination. And that certainly is something Medomak Valley High School fans can cheer about.
Medomak Valley entered the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B cheering competition with high expectations and, as it turned out, the Panthers' lofty goals were well-founded.
That is because MVHS dominated the competition to win the league championship Monday, Jan. 21, on Martin Luther King Day, at the Augusta Civic Center.
The Panthers literally swept away the competition with a score of 135.5, with Leavitt of Turner second at 118.8 among the 10 teams.
Mount View of Thorndike finished seventh, while Oceanside of Rockland/Thomaston experienced the disappointment of being forced to drop out of the competition when a team member twisted her knee just before the event at the civic center, which forced the Mariners to the sideline.
The KVAC Class B team scores were: Medomak Valley 135.5, Leavitt 118.8, Gardiner 112.7, Waterville 104.6, Morse of Bath 100.4, Nokomis of Newport 97.8, Mount View 96.1. Lincoln Academy of Newcastle and Winslow 90.9 and Oceanside no score.
Next, Medomak Valley will participate in the Western Class B competition at the Augusta Civic Center and Oceanside and Mount View in the Eastern Class B event at the Bangor Auditorium, both on Saturday, Jan. 26. The top six teams from each regional event will qualify for the state competition on Saturday, Feb. 9 at the Bangor Auditorium.
Lewiston won the KVAC Class A championship for the fifth straight year.
The KVAC Class A team scores were: Lewiston 155.5, Bangor 144.7, Edward Little of Auburn 127.7, Brewer 125.9, Oxford Hills of South Paris 123.8, Lawrence 115.8, Hampden Academy 115.5, Brunswick 112.5, Mount Ararat of Topsham 97.3, Erskine Academy of South China 94.5, Mount Blue of Farmington 94.4 and Messalonskee of Oakland 83.3.
Medomak Valley also won the Jamie Beth Shible Award in Class B, given to the team that demonstrates the most improvement from the previous year. The Panthers improved on their previous year's score by 18.7 points.
It is the second time in five years MVHS has won the award.
Shible, a co-captain of the Mount Blue High School cheering squad, died suddenly on Memorial Day in 1997. The Cougar cheerleaders improved dramatically in each of Shible's three seasons on the team.
Brewer won the Jamie Beth Shible Award for Class A.
Panther coach Rachel Coor said she felt "really good" about winning the award, particularly given MVHS' second-place finish at last year's league competition.
"Last year was really probably our worst performance of the season here at the KVACs," she said. "So it's nice to see this group of kids pull it together and do a performance they were proud of."
The fifth-year coach said "winning is always a fun way to end a competition," but "we've still got room for improvement."
The Panthers overcome their share of adversity to win Monday's competition.
Not only were many members of the team sick with the flu (influenza) the past few weeks, an illness which ran rampant through the high school with more than 200 students out sick on any given day, but senior Charlene Wilbur fractured her ankle last week and will be unavailable for the remainder of the competition season.
Coor said alternate Megan Linscott "learned the [team's] entire routine in about three days and did a great job."
Wilbur is a four-year varsity cheerleader and one of the team's best bases and tumblers.
The Mount View Mustangs improved on their 10th-place finish last year by placing seventh Monday, while also improving on last year's score by 6.4 points, despite a last-minute roster change.
"I think my girls did amazing," said Mount View coach Carol Bryant. "They had an athlete [Shelby Lane] that was ill yesterday so we had to change the entire routine this morning and they increased by [nearly] seven points over last year."
Lane will not be available for Saturday's regional competition at the Bangor Auditorium.
Lane was one of the team's main bases, which drastically changed the Mustangs' plans for competition.
Despite the last-minute shakeup, the Mustangs performed a solid routine with no point deductions.
"They're ready [for regionals]," said Bryant. "[Shelby] won't be able to come back so they're doing it for her."
Oceanside boarded a bus to the Augusta Civic Center at 5:45 a.m. Monday morning and did not even have the benefit of performing its routine due to a freak accident prior to the competition.
Senior base Elizabeth Fletcher injured her knee prior to the national anthem while walking down the stairs, which forced the Mariners, who have only 12 athletes on the roster, to withdraw from the competition.
"Her knee just popped out of place," said Oceanside coach Hope Billingsley. "She was just walking down the steps and the trainer's like, 'No way [can she compete].' She couldn't sit or bend her leg or anything. So he just said, 'You can't perform.' "
Fletcher was taken by her parents back to Rockland to the doctor. Her status for Saturday's regional competition was uncertain.
"Hopefully [the doctor] has the magic and she'll be ready for Saturday," said Billingsley. "She's a tough girl. I think if there's any way possible, she'll be ready. If not, we have a week to tweak things."
Team members for Medomak Valley include Kelsie Grady, Jessica Prescott, Wilbur, Lyndsey Miller, Shania Melvin, Alyssa Ducharme, Olivia Ryan, Molly Clevette, Ashlee Wilson, Paige Russell, Cassidy Dever, Stephanie Hill, Amanda Poland, Katie Goldrup, Linscott and Gabby Ruano. The team is coached by Coor and Heather Simmons.
Team members for Oceanside include Fletcher, Kendra Finnegan, Chelsea Keyes, Caroline Luttrell, Shale Peters, Samantha Calamari, Hailey Hobbs, Hannah Loring, Emma Rose Newmeyer, Jana Talbot, Brittany Mahonen and Rachel Philbrook. The team is coached by Billingsley, Irene McGonagle and Patty Fletcher.
Team members for Mount View include Lane, Alyss Crooker, Lindsey Lizotte, Katie Ross, Alexis Moulton, Siiri Pinkham, Mariah Ross, Britni Bryant, Rochelle Porter, Lili Albright, Liz Clifford and Kate Walker. The team is coached by Bryant and Cindy Lufkin.
Courier Publications sports staff can be reached by phone at 207-594-4401 or by email at email@example.com.