Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - Juneau-Douglas High School Yadaa.at Kalé senior Matthew Naputi has been an offensive lineman, defensive tackle, and linebacker on the Juneau Huskies high school football team the past four seasons.
He is also an avid weight lifter.
Naputi, however, does not hesitate to talk about his main passion the past three and a half years as a key stunt person for the Crimson Bears Region V and State Championship cheer team.
“That felt pretty great to get the title my senior year,” Naputi said. “Coming in as a freshman was pretty rough but over the years we tried our hardest to do our best to take back that title for our school. It was just an honor to be a part of the team and have everyone connected as one
Naputi said there is a misconception about being a cheerleader.
“It has been my one motivation in high school to be a part of this team,” Naputi said. “A lot of people think it is not for guys. When I say I am a guy cheerleader people are like ‘isn’t that for girls? Isn’t that a thing girls do?’ People start finding out that it is not and it is fun to be part of a cheer team as a guy.”
Naputi said the sport requires extra cardio and a strong core base, plus time in the weight room and coach Carlene Nore kept the team on that task.
“You need stamina, energy, you need the correct muscle group strength,” he said. Coach Carlene would make us do abs for core and cardio for endurance and lots of muscle training.”
Naputi plans to attend the University of Hawai’i at Mãnoa, in Honolulu, Hawaii, and be a member of the Rainbow Warriors cheer team.
He said cheerleading fits into his overall life goals.
“I am a big family person,” he said. “I just love the fact that I get to be there with people, laugh, and have fun. The main part is to put people up in the air. I have always enjoyed lifting since I was younger and I feel that cheer is a big aspect of lifting. Just being part of a team and a family. Since cheer ended this season I have been spending time in the gym, lifting, and adding more muscle mass.