No more Class D cheerleading competition for lack of teams
By Larry Mahoney, Bangor Daily News Staff
For the first time since the inception of Maine state high school cheerleading competitions in 1988, there won’t be a Class D because of a lack of teams.
The high school cheerleading regionals will be held on Saturday at the Cony Middle School in Augusta for just three classes instead of four: A, B and C.
The top eight teams in each regional bracket (Class A North, Class A South, Class B North, Class B South, Class C North, Class C South), will qualify for the state meet at the Augusta Civic Center the following Saturday, Feb. 10.
That will mean 16 teams will be vying for a state championship in each class.
The eight teams that were in Class D a year ago have been elevated to Class C.
Mike Burnham, the executive director of the Maine Principals Association, explained that “we listed close to 20 schools in Class D but when it was time for the competitions (regionals and states), there were under 10. There are fewer teams now than there were.”
While there were only eight in Class D, there were 19 teams apiece in the Class A and B state meets and 18 in C.
Central Aroostook of Mars Hill was the D state champ last year for the 15th time overall and 13th time in 16 years.
Heather Bradbury, the athletic director at Central Aroostook and a member of the MPA’s cheerleading committee, was saddened by the news but said the decision to eliminate Class D made sense.
“We have had such great success at the Class D level. It’s tough to lose it,” said Bradbury. “But there are so few schools participating now (in Class D) so it’s very understandable that it came to this.”
She said there are fewer cheerleaders now in Class D due in part to falling enrollments.
“We used to have 18 to 20 kids on our cheerleading team and now we have seven. But we had seven last year (and won the state title),” said Bradbury. “It’s going to be more difficult to win a state (championship) in C but we will still be competitive.”
Central Aroostook has a first-year coach in Erin Jandreau.
There are 117 students enrolled at Central Aroostook and, in addition to cheerleading, girls can also choose to be on the ski or the basketball teams.
There are nine on the basketball team and five on the ski team, according to Bradbury.
With the elimination of D, the MPA had to rearrange the schools to balance out the divisions.
So Class C North schools Orono, Bucksport, Mt. View of Thorndike, Central of Corinth and Sumner of East Sullivan will now be in Class C South along with Spruce Mountain of Jay, Mountain Valley of Rumford, defending state champ Lisbon/St. Dom’s of Auburn, Sacopee Valley of Hiram, Dirigo of Dixfield and Madison along with former Class D schools Bangor Christian and Boothbay Region High School.
Central Aroostook and other former D schools Machias, Narraguagus of Harrington, Woodland, Penquis of Milo and Fort Fairfield will be in C North with eight other schools.
In addition to having 13 schools apiece in C North and South, there will be 12 in B North, 11 in B South and 10 apiece in A North and A South.
Oxford Hills of South Paris won the A state title and Ellsworth captured the B crown last year.
On Saturday, the A North and South Regionals will kick things off at 9 a.m.; C North and South will follow at 12:30 p.m., and B North/South will conclude the competition beginning at 5 p.m.