From Naked Viks to ASH (Associated Student Hype) and now “the Suits,” the tradition of senior boys leading the student section has long been upheld at Inglemoor. This year, it’s hard to miss the Suits, who stand front and center at every football game. Decked out in black and gold, they each represent a different suit in a deck of cards.
Senior Suits members Kaito Shanafelt (he/him), Kento Shanafelt (he/him), Luke McQuade (he/him) and Stefan Zahn (he/him), represent the heart, diamond, club and spade cards, respectively. Both Shanafelt and McQuade said last year’s ASH members chose the name and members of the Suits. The four of them promote football games through word of mouth. Before each game, they get together and “suit” up in as much school spirit gear as possible. They try to be the most spirited people at football games so that other people feel comfortable showing school spirit as well.
“We’re the frontline at football games, trying to lead chants and keep the game hyped and lively, so the crowd doesn’t die,” said Shanafelt.
According to McQuade, being a part of the Suits means memorizing all the cheers.
“We have to be in line with the cheerleaders, know the cheers and the chants, know that certain plays warrant certain reactions,” said McQuade. “Just because we can’t be running around as much doesn’t mean we can’t show spirit. We’re just like anyone else in the crowd, just louder.”
However, senior Anya Gilbertson (she/her) said the Suits aren’t as loud or as good at getting the crowd going as ASH was last year. Gilbertson said she feels there are other people that have more spirit.
Mcquade said it’s hard to live up to ASH because they set the bar so high in terms of their school spirit.
“I’ve lost my voice every single game […]” said McQuade. “It’s not as easy as it looks. The people last year were pretty crazy, and they were good at what they did.”
Senior Siddarth Manika (he/him) said that even if the Suits are not necessarily the loudest on game days, the student section wouldn’t be as organized without them.
“Especially compared to our freshman year, I feel like the freshmen and sophomores are way more involved in chants now,” said Manika. “You can tell when you’re listening — the chants cut off at the exact right time.
Last year, ASH broke into Bothell High School and stole their mascot suit’s head and school flag. In 2013, the Naked Viks were banned by Inglemoor’s administration for carrying out violent hazing as part of their initiation. Due to the incident at Bothell High School, they can only stay in the stands and cannot bring in large props.
Because of the history behind the Naked Viks and ASH, Manika said that there is still a negative undertone associated with the Suits.
“There’s a history behind them, and there’s an evil shoe that they’re filling,” said Manika. “They have to repaint whatever the connotation is about them.”
ASH and the Naked Viks have only ever consisted of boys. Gilbertson said she thinks having female representation in the Suits would create a more open environment.
“I think it’s just a testosterone thing,” said Gilbertson. “A lot of girls — especially this year’s class of seniors — would love to be in [the] front row helping out. And I’d love it to be more inclusive. I’d love to be there to cheer.”
Other schools have frontlines consisting of girls. Eastlake High School has a similar group called the Kings and Queens, and Shanafelt said North Creek High School has a frontline consisting of all girls.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if, in the next couple of years, there will be [girls in the Suits], because it’s constantly evolving,” said McQuade. “It’s important because it shows school spirit. Every school has people representing [it], and it’s not like any of us would be opposed to having ASH girls.”
Shanafelt said he could be open to the idea of creating a separate group for girls. When it came to choosing a girl to be part of the Suits, however, he said he wouldn’t want to be the one to break the tradition.
Gilbertson said the tradition of the Suits brings the student section together and will keep inspiring the student section to be the best part of football games.
“In 50 years, nobody’s really going to remember how many wins your team has,” said Manika. “It’s really all about the experience.”