Andrew Shaw of Spruce Mountain gets a piece of Cam Wood of Winthrop last season in Jay. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

In a decade that began with a Dirigo dynasty, Class C South has evolved into one of the most competitive regions in the state over the last six years.

Five different teams have won the region during that time, with Waynflete the only team to win twice. No one has repeated since Dirigo’s run of four in a row ended in 2012, which, coincidentally, is the last time a C South team has gone on to win the state title.

Hall-Dale hopes to change that this winter, and the defending regional champions have the tools to do it. The Bulldogs graduated two starters and at least two key reserves, but they still have two of the best players in the MVC, seniors Ashtyn Abbott and Alec Byron, as well as junior guard Josh Nadeau.

The team that could stand in the Bulldogs’ way for a repeat may be the team they beat to win the region, and the team Hall-Dale prevented from carrying out a repeat of its own, Winthrop.

With all five starters returning, the Ramblers have the length, depth and experience to match Hall-Dale. Senior center Cam Wood is the best big man in the MVC and demands double-teams in the post. Jared McLaughlin emerged as an offensive catalyst last year, and, along with fellow seniors Sam Figueroa, Nate LeBlanc and Beau Brooks can stretch the floor to give Wood more room to work underneath.

Waynflete will once again be the Western Maine Conference team the MVC favorites keep an eye on all season. Junior guards Diraige Dahia and Askar Hussein form one of the best backcourts in southern Maine.

Dirigo rebounded from a rare losing season to collect a dozen wins last year, but bid farewell to coach Travis Magnusson, who left to coach nearby Mt. Blue. Cody St. Germain, one of his assistants and a star during the Cougars’ run earlier in the decade, takes over a program with a strong senior nucleus. The group includes his younger brother, Jeremy, and Alex Gorham as returning starters. That pair and junior Chase Clark will be key offensive contributors.

After making its second C South tournament preliminary round appearance in three years, Buckfield hopes to make it to Augusta this season but will need to overcome the loss of leading scorers Ethan Jackson and Zack Grover. Coach Kyle Rines has a senior-laden roster including guard Noah Wiley to lead the way.

Senior leadership could be a key for Monmouth in its quest to return to the tournament for the first time in three years. The Mustangs return five seniors, as well as three juniors, with varsity experience. Coach Wade Morrill is emphasizing defensive intensity, teamwork and free-throw shooting to fill in the margins that could propel his team into the postseason.

Mt. Abram has a new coach, Mt. Blue alum Dustin Zamboni, to lead it into the battle for a tournament spot. Junior forward Nate Luce leads a roster that may have the right combination of size and athleticism to extend its season.

St. Dom’s returns to a varsity schedule after declining numbers relegated it to a JV slate last year. Numbers won’t be a problem for second-year coach Kenny Poulin, as all seven players who played last year have returned and are joined by seven new additions. Poulin’s objective is to get the program back on solid footing and competitive in the WMC.

Telstar did not respond to requests for information on its team.