The state’s winter sports postseason enters the regional championship stage Saturday with North and South cheering titles up for grabs.
Saturday’s Classes B and C North and combined D North/South regionals will be contested at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor, with Class C North beginning at 9 a.m. followed by Class D at 11:15 a.m. and Class B at 1:30 p.m.
The Class A North, and Classes A, B and C South regionals will be held at the Augusta Civic Center, with Class A North at 9 a.m., Class C South at 11:30 a.m., Class A South at 2:30 p.m. and Class B South at 5:30 p.m.
Bangor, Hermon, Central of Corinth and Central Aroostook of Mars Hills gave the North a sweep of the 2018 state championships, and all are expected to be chief contenders again this year based on their performances at recent conference championship events.
Bangor, which edged perennial power Lewiston to capture its first Class A state cheering championship last year, finished a tight second to the Blue Devils at Monday’s Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference meet in Augusta.
Lewiston, which had won the previous four state titles before being upended by Bangor, scored 84 points to win the KVAC meet with Bangor placing second with 82.4 points. Brewer finished fifth at the KVACs while Hampden Academy was eighth.
Hermon enters the Class B North regional in pursuit of its third consecutive state title and eighth in the past nine years. Coach Kristie Reed’s Hawks won the recent Big East Conference and Penobscot Valley Conference Class B titles in dominating fashion, scoring 83.2 points at the Big East competition and 84.5 at the PVCs to win both events by double digits.
Ellsworth finished second at both conference meets, with Aroostook League champion Presque Isle third in the Big East and Old Town third at the PVC B competition.
The favorite in Class B South is Medomak Valley of Waldoboro, which captured its fourth consecutive KVAC Class B championship with 74.9 points, 13.8 points better than runner-up Leavitt of Turner Center.
Coach Heather Simmons’ Panthers have won eight straight regional titles and finished third at last year’s state meet behind Hermon and Ellsworth.
Central enters the Class C North event after edging Downeast Athletic Conference champion Sumner of East Sullivan by 2 1/2 points to win the Penobscot Valley Conference Class C crown. Houlton, the Aroostook League runner-up, was third at that meet with Mattanawcook Academy of Lincoln and Calais rounding out the top five.
Coach Cristy Strout’s Central squad is in search of its second straight state title and fourth in the past eight years.
Central Aroostook has won the past five Class D state championships and 10 in the past 11 years. The Panthers, coached by Sami Jo Allen and Janice Lyons, are coming off a third-place finish behind Class B Presque Isle and Class C Houlton at the Aroostook League championships.
Central Aroostook’s top challenger at the combined D regional likely will be last year’s state runner-up and recently crowned PVC Class D champion Penobscot Valley of Howland.
PVHS defeated Central Aroostook at last year’s D North/South regional before the Panthers turned the tables at states, with the Howlers placing second at the state meet for the third straight year.
The top six teams from each regional in Classes A, B and C will advance to the state championship meet to be held Feb. 9 at the Augusta Civic Center.
The top eight from the combined Class D regional will advance to states unless there are fewer than 10 competing schools. In that case the top six finishers in the regional will qualify for the state championships.