Citing the fact many high school teams have been unable begin their seasons, the Maine Principals’ Association announced on Wednesday, Jan. 20 dates for the state cheering championships — to be held virtually due to the pandemic — have been pushed back.

The virtual cheer championships, originally scheduled for Friday, Feb. 27, will be "livestreamed" on Saturday, March 27, with videos of each school’s routines to be submitted by Thursday, March 18.

The routines are scheduled to be judged on Saturday, March 20, one week prior to the airing of the event. The championships will be aired online on the NFHS Network.

At this point, not all teams have been able to begin practicing, due to the state’s color-coded system to help prevent the potential spread of COVID-19.

Categorization “red” suggests a county has a high risk of COVID-19 spread. Categorization “yellow” suggests a county has an elevated risk of virus spread, while categorization “green” suggests a county has a relatively low risk of virus spread.

As of Friday, Jan. 29, York, Cumberland, Androscoggin and Oxford remained" yellow," though it was recently announced schools in counties with "yellow" designations may hold athletic practice and participate in events.

Still, even teams that have recently begin practicing, are behind schedule for formulating  viable competition routines, which can be no more than three minutes in length.

Routines will look different this season due to COVID-19 as there will be no pyramids and no vocal cheering.

Typically, a team can score up to 100 points, but that number has been reduced to 75 as certain scoring categories have been removed, leaving only standing tumbling, running tumbling, partner stunt, jumps, motion and dance.

Additionally, the Warren-based Midcoast Athletics Center’s high school cheering invitational is moving forward as scheduled.

Owner Rachel Coor said roughly 15 teams have registered thus far for the virtual competition, which will have a video submission date of Friday, Feb. 25, with the videos being judged Feb. 27.

Coaches will receive their score sheets on Monday, March 1, while the event will be aired on Saturday, March 6 on LCTV.

Like the state championships, routines can be no longer than three minutes in length.

The event will be a “Top Gun” format, which means teams will be not only be judged for their overall performance, but in individual routine sections as well, with the understanding that even if a team cannot pull together a full routine before the video submission deadline, they can still be judged on certain sections.