After a year of virtual competitions, the Spartans found success in their return to in-person
By SPARTAN TIMES STAFF
Sanford High School’s Varsity Cheerleading team, coached by Kendra O’Connell, earned second place this weekend at the MPA Regional Class A South Cheerleading Championships held at Lewiston High School.
The squad competed against 10 other teams from Southern Maine, only scoring behind Biddeford, a known cheer powerhouse, according to Assistant Coach Lauren Roy.
“Regionals was a big win for us as a program,” explained Roy. “Biddeford is a dynasty cheer school, with large youth programs and a history of winning.” With the win, Biddeford has landed their fourth Class A South Regional Championship in a row.
Biddeford scored 81.15, followed by the Spartans with 76.40. Marshwood landed third place with 73.15. Roy emphasizes the young talent added to this year’s squad, which made the second-place finish that much sweeter.
“To get close to them as runner-up with so many new to competitive cheering members on our team is a huge deal. It speaks to the talent of our team, and really shows their willingness to put in work and persevere through a hectic season,” Roy added.
Accomplishing this feat hasn’t been easy. The squad put in long hours in the gym perfecting their routine, facing injuries and absences due to COVID-19 along the way.
“Over the past few years we’ve been working hard to be respected as a top-tier school in the south and it’s really paid off this time around,” said Roy. “As a school, Sanford has never been Regional runner up. This means second place against all Southern Maine Class A schools. We are hoping to perform at that same level at states next weekend.”
Lexi Tapscott, a senior captain, is also looking at the competition ahead. “If you look at the scores of the cheer teams in the north [region], overall we would have scored fourth. That sets our expectations high for states and we’re ready for the challenge.”
Tapscott added that, after their SMAA competition in which the squad placed third, they realized just how strong they could be, adding even more motivation heading into these competitions.
“Our focus has been hitting a clean routine that is fun to watch and competitive in the advanced and elite skill categories and this weekend that’s exactly what the girls did!” said Roy.
Last year, these competitions were held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but regional and state cheerleading competitions are returning to in-person this season. Tapscott shared that Regionals was the first in-person competition with an audience since her sophomore year. Last year, teams had to submit video recordings of their routines.
The Spartans will head to the Class A State Competition this Saturday, Feb. 12, at 1:00 p.m. at the Augusta Civic Center. You can follow them on Instagram at @sanfordvarsitycheer. We wish them the best of luck!