High school cheerleading

Days before state competition, Panthers lose athlete to broken leg

Molly Taylor, a senior base, breaks her fibula on ice in school parking lot
By Mark Haskell | Feb 05, 2019

Waldoboro — The Medomak Valley cheering squad, as annually is the case this time of year, continue to prepare for the state Class B championship competition.

The Panthers are coming off their ninth straight regional championship and seventh Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B title in nine seasons.

And now the Panthers, who continue to eye that elusive first state title, will do so on Saturday, Feb. 9 at around 4 p.m. at the Augusta Civic Center without one of its competitors.

Panther coach Heather Simmons said senior base Molly Taylor broke her fibula, part of the calf bone, when she slipped on a patch of ice getting out of her car in the MVHS school parking lot on Tuesday morning, Feb. 5.

The severity of the injury means Taylor will be unable to compete in Saturday’s competition.

Simmons said her “heart just breaks for her [because] she’s a senior, she didn’t cheer last year because she just needed a mental break and came back this year with a vengeance.”

“She’s an amazing kid,” the coach said. “I just feel so bad for her. To have this taken away from her senior year is just amazingly sad. We have to be resilient, we’re going to go back to work and we have to just hope we can do what champions can do.”

Simmons said the team planned to perform its routine at halftime of the Medomak Valley boys basketball game on Tuesday night, Feb. 5 against Mount Ararat of Topsham — also senior night — but those plans have been scrapped.

“We’re supposed to be performing tonight with our seniors receiving their flowers,” said Simmons.

Now, the Panthers will have a three-hour practice prior to Tuesday’s home basketball game, where they will cheer until halftime.

And at that practice, crucial decisions will be made. Most notably, who will replace Taylor, and how much, if at all, will Medomak Valley’s routine have to change four days before the state competition.

Interestingly, Taylor is not the first this season to endure an injury, as assistant coach Rachel Coor broke her foot at a Medomak Valley practice leading up to the regional competition.

"In the four years I've been assistant coach, I've never seen Heather work harder with a group as she has with this team," said Coor. "The kids are unbelievably conditioned, strong and mentally tough. If there's any team that can get through this, it's these kids, with this coach."

Simmons said she plans to insert freshman Lizzie Swan into Taylor’s spot.

“We’ll spend some time stunting to see today,” said Simmons. “That’s the biggest piece of this. You work from November to February getting comfortable with your stunts, and now you’re maybe forced to change things. It’s hard.”

The state Class B and C cheering championships — with Class B and Class C teams alternating throughout the event — will begin at 2 p.m. Medomak Valley is scheduled to be the second-to-final team to perform at 4:12 p.m.

Comments (1)
Posted by: Darene Belyea | Feb 07, 2019 08:52

Yes, that's what champions do! Good luck on Saturday!

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