Fresh champs highlight cheer finals

West Salem, Baker, Yamhill-Carlton add first titles at cheer finals

Baker cheerleaders celebrate their state title Friday night.                        Photo by Cliff Pfenning

The emotions of competitive cheerleading overwhelmed the top positions on the first day of the OSAA/On Point Community Credit Union state championships at Oregon City High School.

West Salem and Baker both won their school's first cheerleading titles, recording what easily could be called upsets in a sport where scoring is based on judging and 'upset' isn't generally in the vocabulary.

West Salem's win in the Coed Game Day 6A/5A division caused its team members to erupt in screams and tears of joy, while second-place Thurston - last year's co-champion and expected champion this year - had numerous members break into tears when its second-place finish was announced.

West Salem celebrates Friday night.

Likewise, Baker's girls were absolutely stunned when its school name was called for the title at the Coed Game Day 4A/3A/2A/1A division in its first year of competing at the state event since the Covid outbreak. The second-place award for The Dalles, which finished third in Class 4A last year and was aiming to win its first title since 2008, left numerous members of its team in tears as well.

West Salem didn't compete in the state finals two years ago, and was fifth last year. But, it's overall routine and presence of a spirited mascot, aided its overall score.

Cliff Pfenning

Cliff is a lifelong resident of Oregon and has four decades of experience as a writer, photographer, videographer, broadcaster and now producer. He's a grad of Benson and the University of Oregon, and publishes as well as OSPN, which is scheduled for delivery as a streaming Mobile App in December.

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