The Mt. Ararat cheering team performs its routine for the virtual KVAC championship on Thursday at Mt. Ararat High School in Topsham. Eli Canfield/The Times Record

The saying ‘better late than never’ was in effect when you look at how the cheering season schedule unfolded this season.

In a different style than years’ past, the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference and Western Maine Conference cheering results were announced virtually on Saturday, a mere six or so weeks later than traditional years, when conference championships are usually held in late January.

In the KVAC, it was Medomak Valley taking home first place in Class B, and Bangor in Class A. The Shipbuilders of Morse finished second behind the Panthers, while Bangor just edged out Oxford Hills, who finished second, by a meager 0.3 points.

Normally, the top six scoring teams in each conference would move on to the state competition. This season, all teams will be permitted to submit a video for the state competition.

For the Shipbuilders, it was their highest finish in the conference competition since 1987, when current head coach Heidi Kirkpatrick was a senior on the team.

“As far as I’m concerned, we just came in first place,” said Kirkpatrick. “This is the highest Morse has placed in over 30 years and I could not be more proud of them.”

Teams were required to submit their routine via video no later than March 4. Judges watched the videos two days later, and the results were announced Saturday. The live results consisted of each schools’ routine being shown, with results being announced at the end.

Not only were new rules in place, but with the lack of competition and opportunity during what is normally the regular season, as well as adjusting to postseason competition being held virtually, it was a unique time for cheer squads.

The new rules included no talking during the routine, meaning cheerleaders couldn’t call out a certain cheer, which teams were normally scored on in the past. Pyramids during routines were barred, forcing coaches to find alternative ways to score points in formation scoring section of the 2021 Maine Principals Association scoring rubric.

In the WMC, Freeport took home first, with Gray-New Gloucester finishing second.

The Mountain Valley Conference results were also announced today, with Monmouth Academy taking home first, outscoring second place Lisbon.

Teams are required to submit their routine for the state competition by March 18, with the scoring coming two days later. Because of the pandemic, teams can opt to submit the same recorded routine that they used for the conference competition. The results will be announced on March 27 and will be aired on the Lincoln County Television YouTube channel.

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