There will be a New England cheerleading championship for the first time this year, but Maine isn’t going to be involved – not yet, anyway.
Current Maine Principals’ Association rules preclude Maine high school teams from participating in New Englands, although individuals can participate. In fact, there will be New Englands for swimming this year and Maine swimmers will be able to attend.
Maine is the only New England state not sending teams to the competition.
MPA assistant director Larry LaBrie said the MPA cheerleading committee will likely discuss New Englands at their meeting next month.
“The cheering committee has not even been asked to support it yet,” he said. “That will happen at the next meeting. The committee needs to recommend it to the management committee.”
If the cheerleading committee decides to support sending teams to New Englands, the proposal will have to be approved by the MPA’s interscholastic activities division management committee. Once approved by the management committee, the entire MPA general body would vote to send teams to the competition.
That could happen as soon as the next MPA general meeting, which will be held April 27-28.
Should the issue be tabled for further discussion, cheerleading teams would get one more shot when the MPA general membership meets again next year. The fall meeting is traditionally held in November, before the winter cheerleading teams begin practice.
There is a precedent for teams to compete in New Englands. The MPA voted last April to send cross country teams to New Englands.
Maine will send individuals to New England swimming championships, which was revived this year, because swimming is considered an individual sport.
This year’s New England Interscholastic Winter Spirit Championships will be held March 18 at the University of New Hampshire’s Whittemore Center.
Three Maine officials, including Biddeford’s Denise Gelinas, who is the officials’ liaison to the MPA, are going to New Englands to act as judges.
County teams shine
It was an Eastern Maine sweep in the four cheerleading classes as Class A Lewiston, Class B John Bapst of Bangor, Class C Houlton and Class D Fort Fairfield all won state titles.
It was also a triumphant day for Aroostook County teams.
Not only did the Shires and the Tigers win states, but Central Aroostook of Mars Hill also took home an award for being the runner-up in Class D.
Fort Fairfield senior Danielle Langley said the two schools, which are located about 19 miles apart, used to be rivals.
But they’re a lot friendlier now, and the Tigers were happy that the Panthers did so well.
“It’s good to have us both us here together, and it’s good to have the north teams up here because everyone always think we’re from the sticks,” she said. “The teams in the south have a lot more opportunities, so it was really good to have Mars Hill here, too.
Schoppee just can’t quit
Laurie Schoppee has been trying for the past couple of years to step down from her post as Washington Academy cheerleading coach.
She nearly did again last year, but after the Raiders of East Machias placed second in the Class C competition, Schoppee wasn’t regretting her decision to stay.
“I wasn’t supposed to do it this year. I really was done but they begged me,” said Schoppee, who is in her 11th year. “I’m really glad I came back.”
She plans to come back for one more year.
“She says that every year,” said Karami Ham, who coaches the Raiders with Schoppee.
Ham cheered for Schoppee and is a 2003 WA graduate.
Bapst cheerleaders use math
John Bapst of Bangor coach Jen Babcock has a good idea why the Crusaders have had such success in the past two years.
“They’re smart,” she said after Bapst accepted their second straight Class B state title Saturday evening. “These are my mathletes. We have practices late because they’re on the math team.”
Three members of the Bapst team are also on the math team. Megan McBurnie had a chance to use her math skills when the Crusaders got to the Augusta Civic Center.
“When we were up there in the stands I was like, OK, we have a 33 percent chance of making callbacks and we have a 25 percent chance of winning,” McBurnie said.
Katie Black and Kelly Allen are also on the math team.
The most impressive statistic the girls came up with was this – in four competitions this year the Crusaders have put up 147 stunts, none of which have fallen.
“In practice it happens sometimes, but not that often,” McBurnie said.