High school cheering

Four in a row: Panthers claw to top spot in Western Class B

Medomak Valley sets sights on state championship challenge Feb. 8
By Staff | Jan 27, 2014
Courtesy of: Melissa Melvin The Western Class B championship cheering team from Medomak Valley High School includes, front from left, Cassie Dever, Hannah Smith, Hannah Wile, Whitney Dow, Shania Melvin and the Panther mascot Jared Mank; and back, Courtney Ducharme, Amanda Poland, Stephanie Hill, Olivia Ryan, Ashlee Wilson, Alyssa Ducharme and Paige Russell.

Augusta — After finishing second to Gardiner in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B competition five days earlier at the Augusta Civic Center, the Medomak Valley cheering squad wanted to return to one of its favorite and most successful venues and prove it could perform at an even higher level.

And the Panthers did that with flying colors.

Medomak Valley won another Western Class B championship on Saturday, Jan. 25 at the Augusta Civic Center thanks to a stellar all-around effort. It was the fourth straight regional crown for the talented, championship-driven Panthers.

With their performance, the Panthers earned a spot in the coveted state Class B championship competition on Saturday, Feb. 8 at 2:30 p.m. back at the Augusta Civic Center. The Panthers are expected to take the floor about 4:30 p.m.

On Jan. 20, Medomak Valley scored 123.2 in the league competition, but improved greatly on that at the regional event, putting it all together when it mattered most — with a spot in the states on the line.

At Saturday's regional competition, the Panthers finished at 130.7, to outdistance runner-up Leavitt of Turner, which finished at 128.2.

The five judges scored MVHS at 25.2, 27.6, 26.9, 23.8 and 27.2 for 130.7, with no penalty deductions. Leavitt scored 27.2, 23, 23.5, 27.5 and 27. for 128.2, with no deductions.

Medomak Valley coach Rachel Coor said her team's performance, admittedly, "was pretty flawless."

"The stunts were strong, the tumbling was solid and their voices were good," she said. "It was a better performance than KVACs, more confident, and the scores reflected that."

Coor said she and her team worked hard in practice all week, changing a portion of its routine following the league championships.

"At KVACs we didn't score well in motions or in voice," she said. "The cheer section of our routine wasn't very strong. We were trying to stunt and yell at the same time, and I don't think the judges liked it. So we changed an entire 20-second section in the middle of the routine, took out a stunt section, and added in a very strong motion section instead. I think it made all the difference in the world. I'm really proud of the girls for being willing to take the risk and make the changes necessary, and it certainly appears to have paid off."

The other regional team scores were: Morse of Bath 107.2, Lake Region of Bridgton 105.4, Wells 104.6, Freeport 98.2, Spruce Mountain of Jay/Livermore Falls 96.2, Gray-New Gloucester 84.5, Poland 79.2, Greely of Cumberland 77.9, Fryeburg Academy 75 and Lincoln Academy of Newcastle 73.6.

Medomak Valley team members include Alyssa Ducharme, Shania Melvin, Paige Russell, Olivia Ryan, Ashlee Wilson, Stephanie Hill, Cassie Dever, Amanda Poland, Hannah Wile, Whitney Dow, Hannah Smith and Courtney Ducharme. The head coach is Rachel Coor.

Last year, MVHS won league and regional crowns and finished second at the state competition.

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