Be it on the sidelines during fall cheering at football or soccer games, or on the baselines during the winter supporting their respective basketball teams, cheerleaders can often get lost in the shuffle in terms of competitive sports at the high school level.

That was to come to an end Monday, Jan. 18 as cheering was to return to the forefront for the first time this season as three Midcoast squads were to travel to the Augusta Civic Center to compete for the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B championship.

However, the conference championship competition — which was set to kick off Monday, Jan. 18 at 9 a.m. at the Augusta Civic Center — has been postponed to Saturday, Jan. 30 at the same site due to the snow blanketing Maine Saturday.

It was to be the first of the “big three” cheering events held through January and into February. The Eastern Class B championships will take place on Saturday, Jan. 23 at the Augusta Civic Center, while the state Class B championships, which teams must qualify for, take place on Saturday, Feb. 6.

Medomak Valley, Rockland and Mount View of Thorndike will vie for the KVAC title, when the event is rescheduled, along with defending conference champion Waterville, Oak Hill of Sabattus, Gardiner, Winslow and Maine Central Institute of Pittsfield, among others.

Last season, Medomak Valley finished second in the KVACs behind Waterville, while Mount View was third.

Waterville is guided this season by first-year coach Andrea Fullerton, who is a 2000 graduate of Rockland District High School.

The Medomak Valley cheering program has thrived since second-year coach Rachel Coor took the reins last season, finishing second in the KVACs and placing eighth at the regional competition. The number of participants in the program also has risen considerably, and the Panthers had, for the first time this year, a team cheering in the fall at soccer games and cross-country meets.

“I have some really good performers on my team and most of the team also has a year’s experience under their belt now,” said coach Coor, who has coached state championship cheering squads in Colorado in 2005 and 2007. ” We still lack the difficulty in tumbling that we did last year, but last year we weren’t strong enough in the other categories to make up for those 15 tumbling points. We are fundamentally stronger now and so we’re hoping to make up points in motions, jumps, dance and stunts.”

Coor, whose maiden name is Sidelinger, was also an assistant coach to mother Mary Sidelinger years ago at Rockland, as the mother and daughter helped guide RDHS to eight KVAC titles, two Eastern Class B crowns and a state title in 2003.

This year’s Tiger squad, led by sixth-year coach Becky Howard, is back in competition after taking a year off due to the lack of numbers. This year’s Rockland team is comprised of 11 team members, eight of whom are freshmen.

Above all, Howard is happy that her Tigers are back in competition.

“We are very excited to be back into the competition world,” said Howard. “It’s very frustrating going from a top contender to not competing at all. This year my team is made up of mostly freshmen. Only two team members have had the experience of competing, but none at this level. We have gone through our fair share of problems, including grade issues, injuries, and people just up and quitting. My team has been very resilient through everything. I don’t care how they perform on Monday, I am very proud of them and their dedication.”

Prior to sitting out last season, Rockland finished second to Oak Hill in the 2008 KVAC competition and won the league crown the season before.

Mount View, led by third-year coach Carol Bryant, finished third in the KVAC championships last season and 11th at the Eastern Class B regional competition.

“They have had a good year,” Bryant said. “They have built their own routine so, instead of purchasing a routine, they put a lot of time and effort into making this work themselves, so they are part of it. I think they will do a great job. I think that rather than looking at where they are going to place they are looking at how we do overall with what we have come up with.

“I think they are doing great. Absolutely, we are great. We are in the ballpark of where we usually are this time of year so I think they are doing a great job.”

Bryant said the strength of the team’s routine is dance because it is the student-athletes’ creativity. “It has a lot of business and movement and good timing,” the coach said. “I think we built a lot of camaraderie and teamwork this year by taking the ambition to do it themselves. They have spent a lot of time together and in their practice they have built a really big bond.”

Team members for Medomak Valley include Jennifer Sykes, Kerry O’Donnell, Chelsey Coburn, Danielle Moshier, Taylor Pelkey, Brittany Alexander, Savannah Chamberlain, Chelsea Wedge, Danica Bryant, Kayla Winchenbach, Michaela Melody, Chelsea Creamer, Skylar Carroll, Jennifer Delano, Sara French, Megan Boyington, Charlene Wilbur, Nicole Angelico, Mollie Strunk and Kelsie Grady.

Team members for Rockland include Lindsey Davenport, Guiliana Hantz, Lexi Evans, Teal Finley, Liz Fletcher, Hannah Kutschinski, Sierra Robinson, Tori Julian, Caroline Luttrell, Chelsea Keyes and Jackie McNulty.

Team members for Mount View include Travis Cole, Molli McCormick, Marissa Bryant, Hayle Grover, Dyllan Suiter, Shelby Murdock, Brittany Flewelling, Amanda Barnes, Brittany Raven, Sarah Wilson, Sherriayn Spencer, Hailey Giggey, Alyssa Schiessl, Makayla McCormick, Danielle Lefebvre, Lindsey Lizotte, Katie Ross and Alyssa Crooker.

Click for more photos from Medomak Valley High School cheering.

Village NetMedia Associate Sports Director Mark Haskell can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail at mhaskell@villagesoup.com.