Regional titles may be out of reach for local teams at today’s regional cheerleading championships. But if they can finish in the top six, they’ll earn a ticket to the state championships.

The regionals are this morning, afternoon and evening at the Bangor Auditorium and the Augusta Civic Center. In Bangor, Eastern B begins at 9 a.m., Class D (East and West combined) starts at 12:05 p.m., and Eastern C starts at 3:10 p.m.

In Augusta, Western C begins the day at 9 a.m., followed by Western A at 11:45 a.m., Western B at 3:15 p.m., and Eastern A at 6:40 p.m.

Waterville, which competes in Eastern B, finished third at the KVACs, behind Leavitt and Medomak Valley. The Purple Panthers have only six in their routine, and three of them are new to the sport.

“Last time we were in Augusta, the teams they watched were the first time they had seen a cheering competition,” Waterville coach Melissa Burila said. “You have to know your scoresheets, and you have to be smart about what you do.”

Waterville was unable to practice Friday because of the weather, and the team bus leaves for Bangor at 6 this morning. Still, this is a team that has shown it can adjust.

“These kids never give up,” Burila said. “Had they not worked as a team the entire time, this would not have worked.”

Among non-KVAC Eastern B teams, the top contenders are Hermon, Ellsworth, and John Bapst.

In Eastern A, Lawrence has a solid shot at reaching states after finishing fourth at the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A championships, which were also held at the Augusta Civic Center. Bulldogs coach Alicia Curtis said Lawrence lost a cheerleader to injury and is down to 12 in its routine, but her team appears to be handling it well.

“We competed at the (Shriner’s Lobster Bowl) last week, and they did really well with the changes they had made because of the injury,” Curtis said.

The Bulldogs also competed at the Maine Cheering Coaches Association Cheering Showcase Jan. 7, so this will be their fourth competition in front of a crowd this month.

“I think they’re less nervous than they were the first couple times,” Curtis said. “We don’t have a lot of difficulty, so for us, it’s just making what we do look perfect. They enjoy being in front of crowds. They’ve gotten to the point where they can hit it and be confident with it.”

Cony placed seventh at KVACs, and also has 12 cheerleaders in its routine.

“The girls need to hit their stunts,” Cony coach Erin Eldridge said. “They need to make sure their routine is solid and tight. We don’t have a lot of tumblers, so we can’t get a lot of points that way. I do believe they’re hitting pretty difficult stunts, especially for their level. They’re definitely pushing themselves.”

Although the Rams will be waiting most of the day to perform, they’ll compete second among Eastern A teams, right after Erskine.

“The girls will be ready to go right when we get there,” Eldridge said. “Sometimes it can be nerve-wracking to go second, but they’re confident on their routine.”

Mt. Blue was hoping to have 17 cheerleaders on the floor, but is down to 13 because of injuries. The Cougars still finished fifth at KVACs.

“Just this week (we’ve) re-arranged our routine three times,” Mt. Blue coach Angela Whelpley said. “They are a fabulous group of kids, and they’ve adjusted really well.”

Monmouth, which will compete in Western C, placed fourth at the Mountain Valley Conference championships, but second among Class C teams. The Mustangs are coached by Mike Gilbert, who last coached Monmouth in 2002, which was the last time Monmouth won the state title.

“Our goal is to be in the top four,” Gilbert said. “That’s what I asked the girls to be. They want to be top three. They’ve lost a lot of seniors, and it’s a building year for them, but their potential is much greater than it was at the beginning of the year.”

Gilbert said the Mustangs took out some difficulty in their 10-person routine before the conference championships, but have decided to add it back in.

“We strengthened our cheer with more motion technique, we added degree of difficulty to our dance, and we made the difficulty of our partner stunts increase,” Gilbert said.

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

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