The Mt. Ararat cheering team performs its routine for the virtual KVAC championship on Thursday at Mt. Ararat High School in Topsham. Eli Canfield/The Times Record

The saying “better late than never” is applicable to how the Maine high school cheering season schedule unfolded this season.

Conference championship results were announced virtually Saturday, about six weeks later than in a typical year. Even more different is that the competition is virtual — teams submit video of their routines to judges.

Monmouth was announced Saturday as the Mountain Valley Conference champion, finishing with a score of 55.3. Runner-up Lisbon (42.4) was nearly a full 13 points behind the Mustangs. Mountain Valley (40.9) finished third and Madison was fourth, followed by Spruce Mountain, Dirigo and Oak Hill.

In normal years, the top six scoring teams in each conference move on to the state competition. This season, all teams are permitted to submit a video for the state competition. The state results will be announced March 27.

In the KVAC, Medomak Valley earned first place in Class B, and Bangor (62) is the conference’s Class A champ. Oxford Hills (61.7) placed second to Bangor, by a mere 0.3 points, in Class A.

Mt. Ararat (49.9) placed third in KVAC A, followed by Lewiston (46.25) and Hampden (44.7).

Morse is the Class B runner-up. The Shipbuilders’ finish is the program’s highest in the conference competition since 1987, when current head coach Heidi Kirkpatrick was a senior on the team.

“As far as I’m concerned, we just came in first place,” Kirkpatrick said. “This is the highest Morse has placed in over 30 years and I could not be more proud of them.”

In the Western Maine Conference, Gray-New Gloucester placed second to Freeport.

Teams were required to submit their routine via video no later than March 4. Judges watched the videos two days later, and the results were announced Saturday. The live results consisted of each schools’ routine being shown and then results being announced at the end.

Not only were new rules in place, but with the lack of regular season competition and adjusting to postseason competition being held virtually has made this a unique time for cheer squads.

The new rules included no talking during the routine, meaning cheerleaders couldn’t call out a certain cheer, which teams were normally scored on in the past. Pyramids during routines were barred, forcing coaches to find alternative ways to score points in formation scoring section of the 2021 Maine Principals’ Association scoring rubric.

Teams are required to submit their routine for the state competition by March 18, and, again, the judging will take place two days later. Because of the pandemic, teams can opt to submit the same recorded routine that they used for the conference competition. The results will be announced on March 27 and will be aired on the Lincoln County Television YouTube channel.


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