Twelve Class B high schools from as far south as Wells and far north as Presque Isle converged on the Augusta Civic Center Saturday afternoon for the opportunity to prove themselves the best in the state in the realm of cheerleading at the Class B competition.

Medomak Valley, in the midst of one of the strongest seasons in school history, was among the field of 12, qualifying for the event with its strong second-place finish two weeks ago at the Western Class B competition at the same site.

While the Panther program has grown by leaps and bounds since second-year coach Rachel Coor took the reins, the Panthers were unable to bring home their first state title Saturday and were forced to settle for a 10th-place finish among the 12-team field.

Poland secured the Class B title for the second time in three years, while Ellsworth finished a close second. Hermon, which prior to Saturday’s state championships had won two of the last three state titles, placed third.

The team scores from Saturday’s state cheering competition were: Poland 146.8, Ellsworth 145.9, Hermon 141.5, Presque Isle 137.2, Waterville 134, John Bapst of Bangor 132.9, Wells 131.9, Mountain Valley of Rumford 130.9, Oak Hill of Sabattus 130.3, Medomak Valley 129.9, Caribou 127.5 and Leavitt of Turner 126.6.

The Panthers were not penalized during their routine, but did mess up a pyramid at one point during their program.

“Obviously, the girls were disappointed with that pyramid,” said Coor. “The goal was a perfect routine. I feel like they did everything they could to prepare for that, but sometimes things just happen. We actually scored higher than we did at regionals, so that tells me the rest of it was flawless. They were able to recover and finish out the rest of the routine without a problem.”

Coor added that it was a tight competition, with only three points separating the Panthers from sixth place and the spread between first and 12th place was 20 points, as opposed to 45 last year.

Despite coming up short in Saturday’s competition, Coor was pleased with the work the Panthers put in from the start of the season until the end. She added that having Sean Curtin, who was a cheerleader with Rockland District High School’s state Class B championship team in 2003 when Coor was an assistant with the Tigers, on the Medomak Valley coaching staff this year was a wonderful experience.

“Overall, I can’t say enough good about my kids,” she said. “It’s been an incredible season. No injuries, no illnesses, no grade or discipline problems, no attendance issues. They’re also very talented and have great heart for the sport. For the first time in 14 years of coaching, I ended the season with the exact same 20 girls that I started with the day of tryouts.”

Medomak Valley took the mat 19th among the 24 squads participating in the state Class B and C competitions.

Sumner of East Sullivan also made history at Saturday’s competition, winning the Class C state title, which was the first in the school’s history.

Interestingly enough, Coor has been choreographing Sumner’s routines for three years, including Saturday’s, which won the Tigers the state championship.

Adding to the ties between the two schools is Sumner is coached by Monica Chipman, who is the cousin of Medomak Valley assistant coach Heather Simmons.

“It was exciting,” said Coor. “My girls on my team were all so very supportive of them. They knew there was a connection there and that Heather’s cousin is their coach. I think that made the award ceremony a little more tolerable for them to see how excited they were. It was neat and I feel good about the work I did for them.”

Biddeford also won their third straight title in Class A as did Central Aroostook of Mars Hill in Class D.

Click for more photos from the state Class B cheering competition.

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