High-flying 'Hawks soar to Busline League cheering crownFourth straight title for Medomak Middle School; Oceanside second
Waldoboro — The Busline League cheering championships went off without a hitch on Wednesday night, Jan. 29 at Medomak Middle School, with five Midcoast squads vying for the coveted title.
The MMS Riverhawks had won the event several times over the years and that trend continued Wednesday as the hosts, who boasted an impressive 23 team members, again ran away with first-place honors with a score of 58.
Oceanside West Middle School of Thomaston finished second at 51.65, while Great Salt Bay of Damariscotta finished third at 42.3, Bristol Consolidated School 35 and Boothbay Elementary School 34.15.
It is the fourth straight year the Riverhawks claimed the league crown and the fifth time in six years. MMS was runner-up to Woolwich in 2010.
"I think the girls did an amazing job," said Riverhawk coach Leeann Young. "We have been struggling through the season with getting practice in because of the weather and then we got hit with the flu bug for two weeks before the competition."
Young said "communication is key" to the success of the program, from the middle school level up to high school.
"I believe the program is so successful for three reasons," she said. "One is because the kids put the time and effort into it. Two, the parents are supportive and get the kids where they need to be and third, which is the most important, is communication among the coaches varsity through peewees. Our Medomak cheer program would not be as strong as it is without the dedication of coach [Rachel] Coor and coach [Heather] Simmons. They are in communication with me about their techniques and the direction they want the program to follow. They explain to me their expectations of where the girls should be before they are in high school. We then do the same for our peewee programs to prepare them for middle [school].
Coor said she is "super proud of the efforts of everyone involved in the program, top to bottom."
"It starts at the lower levels," said Coor. "The kids in our district have the opportunity to start cheering in kindergarten now. So by the time they get to the middle school, they are already fundamentally very strong. We have kids and coaches at all levels in the program working extremely hard."
In Wednesday's competition in random order, Bristol competed first, Medomak second, Oceanside West third, Great Salt Bay fourth and Boothbay fifth. Each squad performed their routine twice before the judges tallied their overall scores.
“The teams get better and better each year and the scores reflect that,” said Oceanside athletic director Jim Leonard. “There is a lot more tumbling and stunting in the routines now and that's a reflection of the coaching. The coaches all do an amazing job of getting their teams ready for competition.”
Leonard, who has co-hosted the event with Medomak Valley athletic director Matt Lash for six years, has been the emcee of the event throughout that span of time and helps bring more pizazz to the proceedings.
“My first committee assignment for the KVAC [at the high school level] was the cheering committee, so I got a chance to observe the person who announces at the KVAC, regional and state high school championships,” Leonard said. “He really gets the crowd fired up and that energy is transferred to the mat and the routines. I try to pattern myself after that. It's a lot of fun and I hope it has the same effect on ramping up the energy that it seems to have at the high school level. The Busline cheering teams practice for months for this competition and they deserve our best effort.”
Team members for Medomak include Ashley Kenniston, Rose Hickey, Megan Wright, Samantha Pelkey, Sierra Metcalf, Kaylee Meyer, Autumn Sproul, Alyssa Blackler, Adrianna Wadsworth, Erika Simmons, Adrianna Wadsworth, Erika Simmons, Rebekah Marks, Sophie Robbins, Naomi Kihn, Emily Wiley, Alyie Sprague, Mikayla Timberlake, Mariah Grindle, Leah Wilcox, Molly Taylor, Nicole Demmons, Cassie Smeltzer, Kaitlyn Genthner, Jordan Hays and Vanessa MacDougall. The team is coached by Young.
Team members for Oceanside include Lily Johnson, Erin Dugan, Lauren Darge, Kiara Robinson, Effie Robinson, KaleeAnn Miller, Kyla Fredericks, Lexi McMahon, Hailey Nickerson, Mikayla Jo Peasley, Hannah Simmons, Vanessa Wasielewki and Georgianna Chamas. The team is coached by Irene McGonagle.
Team members for Bristol include Mia Hall, Cheyenne Cash, Lindsay Dallot, Emily Embury and Lauren Benner. The team is coached by Meredith Hughes.
Team members for Boothbay include Uberita Lovely, Caitlin Chaousis, Evie Doloff, Courtney Lewis, Elizabeth Ham, Annie Bryer, Kayla Lewis, Sierra Murray, Ashley Ames and Grace Robinson. The team is coached by Lisa Tilton.
Team members for Great Salt Bay include Sammy Ober, Paige Gray, Mallory Oliver, MacKenzie Ford, Brianna Farrin, Haylee Gagnon, Zoe Hunt, Caitlin Betts, Sydnee Lily, Shelby Collins, Tiffany Murray, Emily Harris, May Halm, Abi Gifford, Monica Staples, Ava Toscano, Alonna Galpin-Sigler, Makayla Bailey, Jenna Sullivan and Lucy Shamel. The team is coached by Brie Konitzki.