by Susan Fried
The gym inside Mount Rainier High School in Des Moines reverberated with the sounds of family, friends, and fans trying to out-cheer each other during the Northwest Premier Junior Football (NWPJF) Cheer Competition. Six teams, including their minis (the youngest teams), competed for trophies and the pride of being the best cheer squad in the league: the CD Panthers, Benson Bruins, Renton Rangers, 5 Star, Jr. Huskies, and HEIR Academy.
The competition began with a moment of silence to honor the life of CD Panther coach and beloved father, husband, and friend D’Vonne Pickett Jr., whose life was tragically cut short last month. D’Vonne’s wife Keanna Pickett joined Franklin High School Cheer coach Shay Cooper and CD Panther President Chalayia Jackson on the gym floor during the remembrance.
The competition was fierce with Renton and HEIR making history by being the first two teams to tie for first in the annual competition. All six teams performed and were judged on their stunts, timing, originality, and unity. In addition to the six cheer teams, the audience was entertained by the Franklin High School cheerleaders and a dance performance by Kutt’N’Up, whose members include several former cheerleaders.
The audience participated by making lots of noise in support of their teams. In that category, judging by the crowd’s enthusiasm, everybody won.
Susan Fried is a 40-year veteran photographer. Her early career included weddings, portraits, and commercial work — plus, she’s been The Skanner News’ Seattle photographer for 25 years. Her images have appeared in the University of Washington’s The Daily, The Seattle Globalist, Crosscut, and many more. She’s been an Emerald contributor since 2015. Follow her on Instagram @fried.susan.
📸 Featured Image: HEIR Academy cheerleaders hold up the trophy they shared with the Renton Rangers. Both teams tied for first place in the Northwest Premier Junior Football (NWPJF) Cheer Competition on Saturday, Nov. 5, at Mount Rainier High School in Des Moines. (Photo: Susan Fried)
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