Shires, Vikings form friendly bond over cheering competitions
AUGUSTA, Maine — Houlton and Caribou may be rivals in most sporting events, but when it comes to cheering, the Shires and Vikings have formed a kinship like no other.
The two teams shared a bus to the regional cheering competition Monday, Feb. 6, in Ellsworth as a way to save on expenses. The two squads found the experience so enjoyable that they did it again Saturday en route to the state Class C competition at the Augusta Civic Center.
“This season has been so much fun,” Houlton coach Maggie Small said. “We (Houlton and Caribou) ended up riding to Regionals together, which really helped our bus drivers out. We may be in the same class, but at the end of the day, we all want to see teams from the County be successful.”
Caribou coach Krista Cyr added, “Honestly I can’t even remember how it started. A Facebook (addition) and we’ve never stopped talking since.”
Because the regional competition was rescheduled due to inclement weather, finding buses and drivers proved tricky for the two school districts. That was until the two coaches agreed to share the ride together.
“We now have a yearly tradition of riding together as the only two teams from the County in Class C, it only makes sense,” Cyr said. “Coach Small is literally me, but in a black and white uniform!”
At Saturday’s state competition, Houlton finished seventh out of 18 squads with a score of 58.7, while Caribou placed 17th with a score of 28.
“It can be intimidating competing against 18 other squads, so it’s really nice to have someone close to home rooting you on,” Small said. “It takes a lot of time, failed attempts, and dedication to get some of the skills they hit on Saturday.”
The two squads performed at opposite ends of the competition and could be seen shouting words of encouragement when the other squad performed.
Houlton’s squad improved their performance at every competition this season, increasing their score each time, Small said.
“We are very proud of the routine they put on the floor,” she said. “They gave it everything they had and that’s all we can ask for. We are ready to work hard on the off season and come back even stronger next year.”