Panthers aiming for 10th state title in 11 years

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MARS HILL, Me (WAGM) - On Saturday the best cheerleading teams in the state will battle it out in Bangor to see who's the best. We have two teams in our viewing area that are competing. Tonight we'll catch up with Central Aroostook and later in the week we'll talk to Houlton. For the Panthers they are looking for their fifth straight championship and 10th in the last 11 years.

"You have to work to get there. It takes a lot of practice and we have three hour practices. Goofing around doesn't always help, but we do like to have fun. I think that it's important to keep each others confidence up," said senior Michaela Pelletier.

"We have a reputation and it's hard to uphold that reputation most of the times. We all know that we have to do it for ourselves and not for anyone else," added senior Lillie Mahan.

The season started off with a fifth place finish in the Big East championships.

"This is the first year we've been invited to compete at the Big East championships and it was a great experience to compete against some bigger schools. Any time you get to perform an extra time is always a good experience and is a leg up on some that don't get to perform," explained senior Keara McCrum.

The Panthers then took the Aroostook League Crown and finished second in the regional championships. The Panthers are making some tweaks to try and improve their score.

"We're trying to make the stunting go in the advanced category by taking off the fronts. Last weekend we were able to add some twist dismounts and were able to work on those. We're adding a double skill into our basket tosses, so that's where our focus is. We're also focusing on the pyramid section, right now we're in the novice category and we want to push it to the advanced," coach Sami Allen said.

Central Aroostook wasn't happy with how the regionals went and are using that as extra motivation for the Class D State championships this Saturday.

"When you hear your name being called second, even though it's still a great accomplishment, we're used to being first. It stung a little and it absolutely gave the team more motivation to be stronger, work harder and bring it home," coach Janice Mosher said.

"Ultimately our goal at the end of the season is to take home another state championship. We're going to work hard, push our stunts, push our jumps, and have some high energy. Most importantly have fun. For the seniors it's our last year and we want to do as well as we can," added senior Chloe Wheeler.