Champions for seven regions will be crowned Saturday as the state’s high school competition cheerleading squads are set to invade the Augusta Civic Center and Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.

In Augusta, teams from Western A, B and C — as well as Eastern A — will not only be vying for regional titles, but for a top six spot and the state championship berth that comes with it. Defending champions Lewiston (Eastern A), Biddeford (Western A), Medomak Valley (Western B) and Madison (Western C) will all be hoping to rekindle the same success they had last year.

“Our goal this year is the same as it was last year, which is to hit a solid routine,” Madison coach Amber Noyes said. “We don’t talk about placement or any expectations as far as placement or score, just that they perform 110 percent and give it their best so that they’re proud of what they did when they walk off the floor.”

The strategy has already worked once for the Bulldogs this season, as two weeks ago they narrowly captured the Mountain Valley Conference championship over Dirigo, Mountain Valley and Lisbon.

“Honestly MVCs was a bit of a surprise for us,” Noyes said. “We’ve never scored well at the conference championship so it was actually a lot of fun to watch as a coach. The kids were genuinely excited to win because they didn’t see it coming.”

A big part of the surprise was due to the fact that half of the Bulldogs’ 14 cheerleaders had not competed before this year, a credit to the leadership of four-year veterans Toni Condelmo and Hilary McKenney.

Madison will certainly need that leadership Saturday as once again it will have to contend with the Cougars, Falcons and Greyhounds, as well as a slew of other schools.

A season ago Monmouth finished fifth in Western C to join the Bulldogs at states and will be hoping for a return trip when the Western C competition beginning at 9 a.m.

Oak Hill will be competing in Western B beginning at 3:15 p.m., while Lawrence, Cony, Messalonskee, Mt. Blue and Skowhegan will each compete in Eastern A beginning at 6:15 p.m. At the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference A meet last Saturday, Lawrence had the highest finish of the group in sixth place, while Messalonskee and Skowhegan did not compete.

Meanwhile, in Bangor, teams from Eastern Class B, Eastern Class C and East/West Class D will each take to the mat, with defending champs Hermon (Eastern B), Central (Eastern C) and Central Aroostook (Eastern/Western D) each looking to defend their crowns.

Hermon — which has won the last four Class B championships — will be the favorite in Eastern B once again, while Gardiner will be hoping it can sneak its way into the top six. Last season the Tigers suffered a 10-point deduction and finished 12.5 points out of sixth.

“If we finish in the top six, we’ll be happy,” Gardiner coach Jeanne Moody said. “Nerves got the best of us last year and we didn’t qualify, so that’s been our goal.

“…I have eight kids who returned from last year’s team so there’s a lot of good leadership there.”

Leading the way for that veteran group will be senior captains Molly Dow and Mariah Lang, while Moody also noted that Brooke Fournier, Selina Gregoire, Alyssa Desjardin, Siarah Bailey, Gabby Sullivan and Victoria Nelder have also played a key role as returners from last season.

“We feel pretty good about (regionals),” Moody said. “We had our practice (Tuesday) night, we made a couple changes, the kids are working hard and they’re excited for Saturday.”

Gardiner — which finished third in KVAC B last Saturday — is one of a handful of local teams that will be looking to crack the top six in Eastern B. Erskine, Maine Central Institute, Mount View, Nokomis, Waterville and Winslow will also try to extend their season past Saturday. The Eastern B competition is set to begin at 3 p.m.

Evan Crawley — 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Evan_Crawley


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