Spartans place fourth at states, tying the highest finish in team history
This article has been updated to reflect the 1988 fourth-place finish at States.
On Saturday, Feb. 11, the Varsity Cheerleading team took fourth at the State Competition, held at the Augusta Civic Center. This ties the highest-place finish in team history, with only the 1988 cheerleading team ever scoring as high at the state level.
This finish ends the 2023 season on a high note, after scoring fifth at Regionals on Feb. 4.
“We were so proud of the team and how hard they have worked to really get our score up in the last week,” said Head Coach Kendra O’Connell.
“They topped it off by hitting all of their stunts really solid in this performance, so we counted the hit routine as a win in itself. They topped it off by improving their score by about 15 points and sealed it with a fourth-place finish!”
This great finish did not come without its challenges on and off the mat. “We have had a few injuries this season, including a broken hand the night before our SMAA competition,” said O’Connell. “We had to adjust on the fly on that day of competition, by adjusting formations to the best of our ability with the little amount of time we had left.”
Luckily, the team was able to make better adjustments after that first competition, which meant many team members had to learn new parts of the routine and new formations, shared O’Connell, noting they’ve been working closely with SHS Athletic Training staff to work through a few tweaked ankles, pulled muscles, and the many daily sore body parts that happen daily in cheerleading.
“Our athletes have risen to the challenge every step of the way,” beamed O’Connell. “This has been an incredible group of athletes to work with who, on the daily, do their best to work hard, improve, and support their teammates. From day one they have always had each others’ backs and always do what is best for the team as a whole.”
The Spartans qualified to represent the state of Maine at the New England Cheer Championship as well. According to O’Connell, a decision on that has yet to be made as the competition is not held until mid-March, but an invite to that is a Sanford Cheering first and a very big accomplishment.
“I truly cannot be prouder to be their coach and so glad to have been able to finish the season on such a strong note!”
Slideshow photo credits: Midcoast Photos
A BRIEF HISTORY:
In 1988, Sanford Cheerleading also placed fourth at states. According to the former coach at the time, Coach Brady, this was the first year cheerleading was recognized as a sport, and four teams placed at the state level. Another interesting historical note is that the team had to get permission from the school committee to perform the first stunt – flipping a fellow cheerleader.