BAR HARBOR — The Mount Desert Island High School cheerleading team landed a fifth-place finish at the Penobscot Valley Conference Championship meet Saturday at Mattanawcook Academy. With another crucial meet this weekend, the squad is a solid routine away from a trip to next month’s state championships.
Coach Missy Leland was presented with the PVC’s Class B Coach of the Year award at the meet. Returning to the team this season after spending six years away from the job, she has helped continue the Trojans’ success.
“I’ve been proud of how hard the girls have worked and how they’ve been able to add points to their routines,” Leland said. “It’s been a great season for us so far.”
With five meets spanning little more than a month, competition cheer has one of the shortest seasons in Maine high school athletics.
After a ninth-place finish at the Maine Cheer Coaches Association Showcase on Jan. 6 in Old Town, the Trojans earned their best finish of the season to date Jan. 12 when they took third place in Caribou at the annual Big East championships.
Considering the manner in which the team arrived in Caribou, it was an eventful trip in more ways than one.
Shortly after MDI got back on the highway after stopping in Old Town for its planned bus driver switch, it was noticed that the emergency escape hatch on the roof of the bus was coming loose. After the bus pulled over, the hatch was secured, or so everyone thought.
“We must have hit some headwinds or something because it came unhinged again and blew away after we got back on the road,” Leland said. “It was raining, too, so we had to clear that part of the bus until we could get it fixed.”
The team had to stop in Houlton for about 45 minutes for repairs but was fortunately able to get to Caribou High School in plenty of time for the meet. Because of the event time change, though, the Trojans had to head back to MDI after the meet instead of staying in Aroostook County overnight as originally planned.
“It was a long day, but we had the best routine of the three this season,” Leland said. “The girls stayed focused after all those distractions and hit their stunts.”
This past weekend, MDI traveled to Mattanawcook Academy in Lincoln for the PVC championships. The Trojans took fifth place at that meet in a crowded field that included Ellsworth and defending state champion Hermon.
MDI has its biggest meet to date when it competes in the Northern Maine championships at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor on Saturday, Jan. 27, at 9 p.m. A top-six finish would send the Trojans to back to the Cross Center for the state championships on Feb. 10.
“The top six at regionals has been our goal all year,” Leland said. “It’s going to be challenging with 16 teams, but I know we can do it.”