Includes video, photos

Smaller group of Medomak Valley cheerleaders takes third at states

Panthers forced to alter number of participants, routine when team member is injured days earlier
By Staff | Feb 10, 2019
Photo by: Zack Miller Scene from Medomak Valley's participation in the state Class B high school cheering championship competition on Feb. 9 at the Augusta Civic Center.

Augusta — It was a tumultuous few days for the Medomak Valley cheering squad in the time leading to the state Class B championships on Saturday, Feb. 9 at the Augusta Civic Center.

The week began when senior base Molly Taylor broke her fibula on a patch of ice in the MVHS parking lot on Tuesday, Feb. 5.

The next night, Panther coach Heather Simmons and assistant coach Rachel Coor made the decision to take out one of its stunt groups — for safety reasons — for the state competition, effectively trimming the number of student-athletes in the routine from 11 to seven.

Watch video and see more photos below.

Despite the adversity the Panthers faced, they had another topnotch showing at Saturday’s state competition and prowled to a third-place finish among the 12 participating schools for the third year in a row, racking up 78.5 points.

Hermon collected its third straight state championship — and 10th in the last 13 years — with a score of 86, while Ellsworth finished second at 82.8.

“With eight kids, you have to have two stunt groups to score in a certain point range,” Coor said. “With seven kids, you only need one stunt group. With Molly out, we couldn’t make two stunt groups work. We tried for six hours in practice and it became a safety issue.”

Medomak Valley dropped a stunt during their routine and also had a few tumbling mistakes along the way on Saturday.

"I have coached the most unselfish, determined group of young men and women this season," said Simmons. "With such a devastating event earlier this week, we have had to dig far within ourselves for emotional strength and I can never thank this group of kids, their parents and our school administrators for all of their support. After a loss people want you to take away positives or reflect on life lessons, but it's just really hard for me to swallow that pill this season. We had all of the right pieces this year. Talent, team chemistry, positive energy and great leadership every day. We had to make a safety call this week and pull some of our veteran athletes off the mat in order to give this team a shot at the state championship, [which was] an emotional decision that was just as hard as losing a kid to a broken leg."

The Panthers, guided by Simmons and Coor, include Cassandra Smeltzer, Molly Taylor, Leah Wilcox, Cheyanne Greene, Grace Kurr, Katie Ryan, Michaela Staples, Chloe Achorn, Caitlyn Christensen, Greg Cifaldo, Acadia Lane, Emily Mahoney, Alacius Peavey, Kassi Soule, Lizzi Swan, Anna Wagner and Shyla Waltz.

The Class B results, with the scores of the four judges and total listed (with deductions), were: Hermon, 20.9, 21.7, 21.5 and 21.9 for 86; Ellsworth, 20.7, 20.1, 21.8 and 20.2 for 82.8; Medomak Valley, 21.6, 16.8, 19.8 and 20.3 for 78.5, Old Town, 14.6, 20.9, 20.8 and 17.8 for 74.1; Leavitt of Turner, 17.6, 17.7, 20.2 and 18.5 for 74; Presque Isle, 14.5, 19.5, 18.9 and 16.5 for 69.4; Gray-New Gloucester, 14.3, 17.5, 17.5 and 14.3 (with 5-point deduction) for 63.6; Spruce Mountain of Jay, 12.3, 17.1, 16.5 and 12 for 57.9; Morse of Bath, 12.2, 13.1, 20.2 and 16.5 (with 5-point deduction) for 57; Mount Desert Island, 10.9, 16.5, 18 and 12.5 (with 5-point deduction) for 52.9; Freeport, 10.4, 13.8, 16.8 and 11.5 for 52.5; and John Bapst of Bangor, 11.1, 15.4, 16.5 and 13.5 (with 10-point deduction) for 46.5.

Prior to Saturday’s competition, the Panthers had collected their ninth straight regional championship and seventh Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B title in nine seasons.

Courier Publications' sports staff can be reached by email at sports@villagesoup.com or by phone at 594-4401.

State Class B cheering championships
State Class B cheering championships on Feb. 9 at the Augusta Civic Center. (Video by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Medomak Valley's participation in the state Class B high school cheering championship competition on Feb. 9 at the Augusta Civic Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Medomak Valley's participation in the state Class B high school cheering championship competition on Feb. 9 at the Augusta Civic Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Medomak Valley's participation in the state Class B high school cheering championship competition on Feb. 9 at the Augusta Civic Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Medomak Valley's participation in the state Class B high school cheering championship competition on Feb. 9 at the Augusta Civic Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Medomak Valley's participation in the state Class B high school cheering championship competition on Feb. 9 at the Augusta Civic Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Medomak Valley's participation in the state Class B high school cheering championship competition on Feb. 9 at the Augusta Civic Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Medomak Valley's participation in the state Class B high school cheering championship competition on Feb. 9 at the Augusta Civic Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Medomak Valley's participation in the state Class B high school cheering championship competition on Feb. 9 at the Augusta Civic Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Medomak Valley's participation in the state Class B high school cheering championship competition on Feb. 9 at the Augusta Civic Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Medomak Valley's participation in the state Class B high school cheering championship competition on Feb. 9 at the Augusta Civic Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Medomak Valley's participation in the state Class B high school cheering championship competition on Feb. 9 at the Augusta Civic Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Medomak Valley's participation in the state Class B high school cheering championship competition on Feb. 9 at the Augusta Civic Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Medomak Valley's participation in the state Class B high school cheering championship competition on Feb. 9 at the Augusta Civic Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Medomak Valley's participation in the state Class B high school cheering championship competition on Feb. 9 at the Augusta Civic Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Medomak Valley's participation in the state Class B high school cheering championship competition on Feb. 9 at the Augusta Civic Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Medomak Valley's participation in the state Class B high school cheering championship competition on Feb. 9 at the Augusta Civic Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Medomak Valley's participation in the state Class B high school cheering championship competition on Feb. 9 at the Augusta Civic Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Medomak Valley's participation in the state Class B high school cheering championship competition on Feb. 9 at the Augusta Civic Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Medomak Valley's participation in the state Class B high school cheering championship competition on Feb. 9 at the Augusta Civic Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Medomak Valley's participation in the state Class B high school cheering championship competition on Feb. 9 at the Augusta Civic Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Medomak Valley's participation in the state Class B high school cheering championship competition on Feb. 9 at the Augusta Civic Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
Scene from Medomak Valley's participation in the state Class B high school cheering championship competition on Feb. 9 at the Augusta Civic Center. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
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