SULLIVAN — The thrill of a championship season is a feeling that can bring any community together. At one Hancock County high school, the road to glory in 2020 meant even more.
The Sumner cheer team finished off a perfect 2020 season last winter with sweeps of the Downeast Athletic Conference, Penobscot Valley Conference, Class C North and state championships. The four title wins came as part of a season that the Tigers dedicated to former Sumner cheerleader Whitney Doughty, who passed away in an accident last May.
Coached by Jessica Snowdeal and Monica Pettigrow, Sumner began its title run by winning the DAC crown Jan. 11 after a last-minute change in the weather forecast allowed the team to travel to Woodland High School for the meet. The Tigers then claimed PVC and Northern Maine championship wins over the next two weeks.
Sumner earned its fourth and final trophy Feb. 8 with a first-place finish in the Class C championships in Augusta. That meet saw the Tigers notch 80.1 points to top Lisbon (77.7 points), Monmouth Academy (75.1 points) and Central (75.0) and claim the state title for the second time in program history.
Sumner’s prior state title win came in 2010, Doughty’s junior season. As former coach of the Schoodic Tigers, the area’s youth cheer program, Doughty had coached many members of Sumner’s 2020 championship-winning team during their younger years.
“This truly was the perfect ending,” Pettigrow said after the state championship meet. “So much of what those kids did on those mats was instilled in them by Whitney and who she was. I couldn’t be prouder of them.”