The regional cheerleading competitions will look different this year.
This year’s regional tournaments will not feature any callbacks. Each team will run through its routine once, and the top teams will advance to the state finals based on that one shot at perfection.
However, the state championships will have callbacks.
The decision to alter the regional formats was made because of time issues at the Bangor Auditorium. With teams needing time to warm up and then compete twice, it made for a long day for everyone involved.
So coaches were polled before the season and asked if they’d rather give up warmup time or callbacks.
Brewer High coach Kristie Reed, who also serves as a liaison between the coaches’ association to the Maine Principals Association cheerleading committee, said the decision was discussed at a coaches’ meeting this fall and the MPA surveyed coaches, too.
Reed didn’t know the final numbers of a vote, but estimated that about 90 percent of coaches around the state agreed with removing callbacks.
“If it’s a choice between warmups and callbacks, you have to have warmups,” she said. “If you give up warmups, you start dealing with safety issues. … It’s kind of what we had to do to keep it going.”
In Classes A, B and C, the top six teams from each regional will qualify for the state championships. In Class D, which is a combined group of 17 teams from Eastern and Western Maine, the top eight teams will advance to states.
Sixty-eight teams will participate in the Eastern Maine competition. There are only 41 teams in Western Maine.
Last year the EM Class A competition was held on a Friday evening, followed by the rest of the classifications Saturday.
In previous years, each team performed its routine once, and the top 50 percent of the teams, based on judges’ scores, were called back for the second round. From there, the top four teams advanced to the state finals.
The Eastern Maine championships will be held Jan. 24 at the Bangor Auditorium. State championships are the following Saturday at the Augusta Civic Center.
Reed said the change doesn’t affect what teams do during competition.
“Not at all,” she said. “You always want to do the best you can both times.”
The competitive cheerleading season in Eastern Maine starts Jan. 10 with the 13-team Big East Conference championship at the Bangor Auditorium. The competition starts at 7 p.m.
Two Penobscot Valley Conference championship meets will be held the following weekend. The schools in Classes A and B will be at MDI High School, while Classes C and D will be at Stearns High in Millinocket.
The format for the Big East and PVC meets will be the same as in previous years.
A junior varsity invitational will be held on Jan. 10 at 11 a.m. at the Bangor Auditorium.
Cony, Dexter clash
One of the season’s more eagerly anticipated girls basketball matchups took place Friday night, even though it was just an exhibition game.
The Cony of Augusta girls, hosting the Capital City Hoop Classic at the Augusta Civic Center, faced Dexter in the first day of the three-day non-countable tournament.
The focus was clearly on the matchup between the Tigers’ 6-foot-4 junior Ashley Ames and the Rams’ 6-2 junior center Katie Rollins, who are considered two of the premier post players in the state.
Rollins and the defending Eastern Maine Class A runner-up Rams emerged with a 65-56 win. Rollins scored a game-high 25 points, while Ames had 16 for the defending Eastern Maine Class C champs.
Oh, and Ames’ younger sister Mallory played, too. The 6-6 freshman had six points.
Dexter’s guards had impressive outings as sophomore Sabrina Cote had 14 points and senior Brittany Veazie had 10.
Cony junior guard Briiana Rende, one of two returning starters along with Rollins, had 15 points.
Even though the Tigers lost, it could be a significant game for them as they try to hold on to the regional crown. Cony is probably the toughest competition Dexter will face before the tourney in February. The Tigers went into the holiday break with a 7-0 record.
Dexter defeated Maranacook of Readfield 65-49 Saturday morning. The Black Bears, considered a favorite in this season’s Eastern Maine Class B tourney, got 35 points from standout point guard Toby Martin but fell 67-61 to Portsmouth (N.H.) in another Friday game.
The Dexter girls beat Traip of Kittery 70-28 Monday afternoon. Portsmouth defeated Cony 70-52 earlier Monday and 68-45 in the final game in the evening.
The tournament, hosted over the holiday vacation, also featured the Wiscasset girls. Boys teams in attendance were Cony, Lewiston, Edward Little of Auburn, Maranacook, and Winnacunnet (N.H.)
Jessica Bloch can be reached at 990-8193, 1-800-310-8600 or firstname.lastname@example.org.