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Deer Isle, Isle au Haut and Stonington, Maine.
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by Jessica Brophy
The Mariners cheerleaders brought spirit to the Bangor Auditorium on Monday, February 11, and they took home the state championship.
“I’ve never seen them that spirited,” said Coach Kim Larsen about the squad. “They were all out, even the shy girls.”
“Our spirit was really high,” said squad co-captain Sarah Burgess. “We wanted it so badly, and we knew we had to bring it to beat out Central Aroostook.”
Central Aroostook had won the state title for the past six years, and this year the Mariners beat them by 2.5 points.
“That’s not a lot, but we’ve lost by point-something before,” said co-captain Amber Jones.
Jones’ grandmother flew up from Florida to attend the regional competition on January 26 and again for the state competition on Monday.
It would be hard to estimate the number of hours that have gone into practicing their routine, tumbles, stunts, cheers and more, agreed the co-captains and Larsen.
This is only the second time the Deer Isle-Stonington High School has earned the Class D cheerleading championship. Larsen, who has coached for 28 years, said the 1986-87 squad brought home the title the first year the Maine Principal’s Association held a state championship for cheering.
“It feels sweet we won the first championship, and we won the last held in the Bangor Auditorium,” said Larsen, adding the Mariners cheerleaders have been “so close so many times” over the years.
Larsen said coaching for nearly three decades has meant she’s seen members of extended families cheer.
The championships were postponed from Saturday to Monday after a winter storm brought blizzard conditions to the state.
Roads were still not good on Monday, said Larsen, which meant that attendance of the event by Island residents was limited, and a celebratory motorcade—typical after a state championship victory—was not held.
“The Deer Isle fire department said they weren’t going to take the trucks out of the garage,” said Larsen, who said she thought it was a good idea due to the condition of the roads.