By Tony Blasi, Sports Editor
All those hours spent tumbling and leaping through the air on mats while cold, winter winds howled outside Spruce Mountain High School gave the Phoenix cheering team an opportunity to make school history this Saturday.
Spruce Mountain is heading to the state cheering competition at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor — and there is a lot of good cheer going around at the high school.
“The competition starts at 10 a.m..” Phoenix coach Dianna Pomerleau said. “We are competing in Class B against the top six from the South and the top six from the North. The Phoenix cheerleaders are one of the six teams from the South.”
For the past three years, the Phoenix have been guided by Pomerleau and her daughter Kurstin for the past three years. Dianna is a 17-year veteran of coaching cheering teams.
“The team this year has really come together and stayed focused on the goal of going to states (and) keeping this goal in the front of their minds,” Dianna Pomerleau. “They have been very hard working and spirited.”
The Phoenix cheering team has come far after it was formed when Jay and Livermore Falls high schools merged years ago.
“They are a multi-talented group of cheerleaders with different strengths,” Pomerleau said. “This year they have improved on jumps, dance, stunts and tumbling. Each cheerleader brings a different forte to the routine (and) making the routine work!”
Pomerleau’s confidence in the Phoenix was high this season.
“I wouldn’t say I was surprised. I would say I was pleased and proud of the whole team,” Pomerleau said. “I knew this team had talent when I first coached some of them in middle school.
“They have worked hard this season and improved their skills. They are a very determined and dedicated team. We (the coaches) are very proud of them!
“The team was happy and grateful for the chance to go to the state cheering competition and represent Spruce Mountain High School.”
Pomerleau has been impressed with the Phoenix’s upbeat attitude and their passion and pride shine in their performances.
“This is a team that works well together and helps each other they are dedicated to their team and the sport of cheering,” Pomerleau. “Many of them have volunteered with the AYS cheering program, teaching cheers, stunts, jumps and dances.
“The names of the 2018 cheerleaders are: Elizabeth Smith-Hodgkin; Jasper Butler, captain; Anna Bradford, captain; Ashlyn Williams; Avery Williams; Hannah Maurais; captain Harmony Castonguay, captain; Kassidy Thompson, Abby Drummond, Marissa McMannus; Lila Ortega; Riley Gray; Faith Gobeli; Emilie Paul; Emaline Dorey; Kim Webster. Coaches: Dianna Pomerelau, Kurstin Pomerleau and Lisa Ortega.”
The coaches and the team are grateful to the communities and others who helped with the team’s success.
Pomerleau is hoping her Phoenix deliver “a a strong, sharp, tight routine that wows the judges.”
“We have had a very successful year and we expect the best at states,” Pomerleau said. “We (the cheerleaders and coaches) would like to thank Brandon Ouellette for a cut routine. Brandon is an alumni of Jay High School and has done our choreography again this year.
“We would like to thank our families and booster club for all they do for the team, the Athletic Director Mr. Marc Keller and the Principal Mr. TJ Plourde for supporting the cheerleaders and the AYS Program and middle school cheering coaches for preparing future cheerleaders.
“I would like to thank my volunteer coaches for all there help this season and the cheerleader themselves tor their hard work and dedication. We would also like to wish all the teams, groups and clubs at SMHS. GOOD LUCK! GO PHOENIX!”
Tony Blasi is sports editor for the Franklin Journal and Livermore Falls Advertiser as well as a staff editor at the Lewiston Sun Journal. His email is email@example.com.