With dreams of holding the championship plaque undoubtedly dancing in their heads Friday night, student-athletes participated in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A and B cheering competition Saturday morning at the Augusta Civic Center.

The event, postponed from Jan. 18 due to inclement weather, attracted more than 26 teams vying for a chance to bring home the coveted league title.

Finishing second in the Western Class B regional competition at the same venue the previous weekend, Medomak Valley figured to be one of the favorites heading into the competition, while Rockland and Mount View of Thorndike each hoped to refine their routines from their performance at the Eastern Class B regionals the previous weekend at the Bangor Auditorium.

The Panthers did take home the KVAC championship Saturday — the Purple Panthers of Waterville, that is.

Waterville, led this season by former RDHS cheerleader Andrea Fullerton, won its second straight conference title with Leavitt of Turner second. It is Fullerton’s first season coaching the Purple Panthers.

The KVAC Class B team scores were: Waterville 146.8, Leavitt 141.1, Medomak Valley 123.9, Oak Hill of Sabattus 123.5, Winslow 107.1, Nokomis of Newport 106.5, Rockland 106, Mount View 105.5 and Maine Central Institute of Pittsfield 100.5.

The KVAC Class A team scores were: Lewiston 157, Bangor 152.4, Edward Little of Auburn 137.9, Brewer 132.6, Hampden Academy 127.9, Lawrence of Fairfield 126.8, Erskine Academy of South China 124.8, Oxford Hills of South Paris 117.9, Skowhegan 115.3, Morse of Bath 113.5, Cony of Augusta 102.9 and Mount Ararat of Topsham 102.8.

Perhaps a more amazing aspect of Waterville’s win was the fact the Purple Panthers had only six cheerleaders take the mat Saturday after having lost three members midweek due to academic reasons. The Purple Panthers also competed with only seven girls at the regional competition and still qualified for the state competition.

“It feels awesome,” said Fullerton of winning the KVAC crown. “I am so proud of these girls. On Thursday we lost three due to grades so we competed with six [today]. We haven’t had our best practices [over the past few days] but they’re a pressure team and they continue to prove that to me and it drives me nuts. But I’m so proud of them. They deserve it.”

Fullerton added they had only four hours — or two practices — to make significant changes to their routine and made another change to one of their stunts just hours before the competition.

Fullerton went on to add that she was “rooting” for both her alma mater Rockland and Medomak Valley because Panther coach Rachel Coor, whose maiden name is Sidelinger, was an assistant coach for the Tigers during her cheering days with RDHS.

But clearly, her allegiance is now with her newly-crowned conference champions.

“Deep down, I’m a Panther now,” she said. “I’ve got to go purple.”

While Coor and the Panthers clearly would have enjoyed coming home with the KVAC crown, Medomak Valley improved by 12 points over their score from last year.

And given the fact they are one of the 12 finalists competing for the state Class B championship Saturday, Feb. 6 in Augusta, the second-year coach was pleased with the effort she received from her team.

Coor added that the Panthers had a timing problem with one of their pyramids, which hurt their score, but plan to work out the kinks before the state competition.

“Sure, winning is always more fun, but our goal from day one has been to go to states and we haven’t really put as much focus on KVACs,” said Coor. “We were 12 points better this year than we were last year, and if we continue that progress every year, eventually we’ll be there. The girls have a lot to be proud of — they’re going to states for the first time ever — and a third-place finish at KVACs can’t take that away from them.”

As for next week?

“We’ll be aiming for a perfect routine,” said Coor. “A top-six finish would be great, but really, I’m just happy that Medomak [Valley] is finally going to be represented at a state championship. It’s huge for the girls, and it’s a big step in the right direction for the program.”

Team members for Medomak Valley this winter include Jennifer Sykes, Kerry O’Donnell, Chelsey Coburn, Danielle Moshier, Taylor Pelkey, Brittany Alexander, Savannah Chamberlain, Chelsea Wedge, Danica Bryant, Kayla Winchenbach, Michaela Melody, Chelsea Creamer, Skylar Carroll, Jennifer Delano, Sara French, Megan Boyington, Charlene Wilbur, Nicole Angelico, Mollie Strunk and Kelsie Grady.

Rockland coach Becky Howard said she was pleased with the effort she got from her Tigers, who were back in competition after a one-year hiatus.

“Overall, I’m very happy with their performance,” she said. “They worked very hard the last 2.5 months and we are very happy with the progress they have made. We knew this was going to be a rebuilding year, and [it] has completely exceeded any of my expectations. I am very proud of all of them.”

Team members for Rockland this winter include Lindsey Davenport, Guiliana Hantz, Lexi Evans, Teal Finley, Liz Fletcher, Hannah Kutschinski, Sierra Robinson, Tori Julian, Caroline Luttrell, Chelsea Keyes and Jackie McNulty.

Team members for Mount View this winter include Travis Cole, Molli McCormick, Marissa Bryant, Hayle Grover, Dyllan Suiter, Shelby Murdock, Brittany Flewelling, Amanda Barnes, Brittany Raven, Sarah Wilson, Sherriayn Spencer, Hailey Giggey, Alyssa Schiessl, Makayla McCormick, Danielle Lefebvre, Lindsey Lizotte, Katie Ross and Alyssa Crooker.

Erskine Academy won the Shibles Award for most improved team in Class A, while Leavitt took home those honors in Class B.

Click for more photos from the conference cheering championships.

VillageSoup Associate Sports Director Mark Haskell can be reached by phone at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail at mhaskell@villagesoup.com.