Medomak Valley literally, figuratively and, of course, in the age of COVID-19, virtually finished within a smidgen of winning the coveted state Class B high school cheering championship on Saturday, March 27.

That is because the Panthers fell a few precious points behind powerhouse Hermon when the teams' video performances were reviewed, scored and results revealed by the judges.

Belfast placed 20th in the same competition.

Mount View of Thorndike competed in Class C, where the Mustangs finished 15th among 19 teams. Monmouth Academy finished first in that class.

Watch videos and see Medomak Valley and Belfast photos below.

In Class B, Hermon finished at 64.4 to win the state crown, while Medomak Valley was second at 61.2 among the 20 teams.

It was the fifth straight state Class B crown for the Hawks and 10th in 11 years.

Medomak Valley had finished third in the state competition the last few years.

Panther coach Heather Simmons was elated with her team's performances in the conference and state events, adding "In the strangest of times we still were able to represent our school, sport and families at the highest level."

"All of this is not possible without supportive parents, administration, positive athletes and a committed coaching staff," she said. "We had to enter every practice as if it might be our last this season. We never knew when COVID could strike. We made it through three separate quarantine periods and having again to re-do our routine four days before states as we lost a team member due to grades. Quit is not in this team's vocabulary. They face challenges head-on and rise above adversity year after year."

The 2021 state Class B team scores, with the three judges' totals, deductions, and overall score for each team, included: Hermon, 20.7, 22 and 21.7 for 64.4; Medomak Valley, 19.8, 22.1 and 19.3 for 61.2; Freeport, 19, 16 and 21.8 for 56.8; Leavitt of Turner, 17.4, 19.8 and 17.8 for 55, with 0.25-point deduction for 54.75; Morse of Bath, 13.1, 20.3 and 20.5 for 53.9; Ellsworth, 16.8, 18.1 and 16.5 for 51.4; Nokomis of Newport, 13.7, 18.8 and 16.5 for 49; Erskine Academy of South China, 11.5, 17.7 and 15.5 for 44.7; John Bapst of Bangor, 12.3, 16.2 and 16.1 for 44.6; Lawrence of Fairfield, 11.8, 17 and 15 for 43.8; Mount Blue of Farmington, 10.4, 15.8 and 15.8 for 42; Gray-New Gloucester, 13.8, 14.5 and 13.7 for 42, with 1-point deduction for 41; Presque Isle, 11.5, 15.1 and 14.5 for 41.1; Old Town, 8.5, 15 and 15.3 for 38.8; Caribou, 11.8, 12.5 and 11.7 for 36; Brewer, 10, 14.4 and 10.3 for 34.7; Poland, 7.5, 10.8 and 13.2 for 31.5; Lincoln Academy of Newcastle, 10.4, 10.3 and 11 for 31.7, with 0.25-point deduction for 31.45; Gardiner, 10, 8.8 and 11.4 for 30.2; and Belfast, 7.7, 8.9 and 10.7 for 27.3.

Medomak Valley is the 10-time defending regional champion, has won a handful of league titles and placed among the top three in the state competition a handful of times.

Team members for Medomak Valley, led by coach Simmons, include Alyssa Grindle, Braelyn Hood, Hope Mason, Sami Richardson, Acadia Dinsmore, Katrina McIntosh, Aaliyah Thompson, Skylah Ward, Emily Mahoney, Lizzi Swan, Greg Cifaldo and Chloe Achorn.

Simmons said the team held a watch party and, despite the considerable differences between this season and others, "As we got closer to the end of the performances everyone’s nerves were heightened."

The veteran coach added the kids knew they had a strong performance and while there was a certain level of disappointment — as the program has had state-championship aspirations for some time — they were happy to bring home a plaque for the school."

"Hermon always performs at such a high level year after year," said Simmons. "We consistently get closer to that level and this group knows we are right on their heels. Hermon edged us out in stunt difficulty this year and we know what we have to do in 2022 to raise our game to surpass theirs. We have no seniors so we are already very excited to set next season's goals."

Team members for Belfast, led by coach Chelsea Howard, include Marina Bannister, Daisy Bradney, Gemma Bradney, Taytem Condon, Sierra Davis-Demmons, Annabelle Lisa, Maddie Mailloux, Hailey Richards, John Skillings and Tisha Stoltz.

The 2021 state Class C team scores, with the three judges' totals, deductions, and overall score for each team, included: Monmouth Academy, 13.6, 18.6 and 18.5 for 50.7; Sumner of Sullivan, 15.1, 18.6 and 15.2 for 48.9; Calais, 13.7, 18.9 and 15 for 47.6; Central of East Corinth, 13.7, 18.2 and 11.6 for 43.5; Houlton, 11.3, 16.3 and 14.4 for 42; Winslow, 14.8, 11.2 and 15.5 for 41.5; Dexter, 14.3, 10.4 and 16.5 for 41.2; Lisbon of Lisbon Falls, 13.3, 6.7 and 20.5 for 40.5; Sacopee Valley of Hiram, 12, 15.9 and 11.5 for 39.4; Mattanawcook Academy of Lincoln, 13.6, 10.8 and 14.2 for 38.6; Mountain Valley of Rumford, 11.7, 10 and 11.6 for 33.3; Bucksport, 12.9, 8.5 and 11.3 for 32.7; Madison, 10.7, 7.4 and 14.5 for 32.6; Orono, 8.1, 8.5 and 13.5 for 30.1; Mount View, 11.2, 7.9 and 10 for 29.1; Dirigo of Dixfield, 8.7, 4.8 and 12 for 25.5; Oak Hill of Sabattus, 11, 5 and 8.7 for 24.7; Foxcroft Academy of Dover-Foxcroft, 8.8, 5.4 and 10.1 for 24.3; and Spruce Mountain of Jay, 9, 4.5 and 10.5 for 24.

Team members for Mount View, led by coach Carol Bryant, include Alexa Coffin, Sabryna Bailey, Jensen Aspinall, Ethan Bryant, Desirae Brown, Emma McPherson, Sydney Bishop, Shoshabba Dallal, Onna Queener, Faith Lawler, Eliana Rumney, Jasmyne Nerderman and Marissa Withee.

"We went into this non-ordinary season knowing we wanted to make the most of their time together as a team," said Bryant. "We had more first-year athletes this year, so we really focused on the basics and performing a clean and solid routine. They accomplished that and more and I look forward to the years to come. We are very proud to coach our Mustangs."

After work completed with video performances submitted to judges in recent days, area cheer squads went into a wait-and-see mode — which required patience.

The Midcoast's three cheer teams did all they could and their state fates, ultimately, were in the hands, or eyes, of the judges.

The Panthers, Mustangs and Lions submitted videos of their routines, recorded in private in their school gymnasiums, to the judges on or before March 18 and waited to hear on Saturday, March 27 how they stacked up against the competition.

On Saturday, the Maine Principals' Association broadcast each of the team video submissions on

The order of viewing included: Class D at 10 a.m., Class A at noon, Class C at 2 p.m. and Class B at 4 p.m. Each class had a two-hour block.

After the videos were shown, the judges revealed the first- and second-place finishers, then the overall standings and points awarded were released.

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