By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News
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PORT TOWNSEND — Although no Port Townsend High School graduates will play in the Super Bowl, the school and the town will be represented on the field at the championship game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos.
Brita Guthrie, who graduated in 2008, is a member of the Sea Gals, a 33-member squad that performs dances and cheers in between plays.
She and the other Sea Gals will travel with the Seahawks to New Jersey on Thursday to cheer on the team as it fights to win Super Bowl XLVIII.
“I am superexcited,” said Guthrie, 24. “This is an amazing opportunity.
“This is the most televised event in the world and is something that I can tell my grandchildren.”
Since she performs only between plays, she gets to watch the games from a vantage point that few share.
“That last play, the touchback, that happened 10 feet in front of me,” Guthrie said of the final-seconds intercepted pass that won the game for the Seahawks against the San Francisco 49ers on Jan. 19 and sent the Seattle team to the Super Bowl.
Guthrie's screen time is limited because the camera action necessarily centers on the game, but she has appeared fleetingly on TV and on the Jumbotron.
“I have to go to the games to see my daughter cheer because she's not on TV,” said Brita's father, Jim Guthrie, who has taught industrial arts at Port Townsend High School for 27 years.
He said he goes to every home game courtesy of his daughter, who passes on complimentary tickets to her father and mother, Carol.
His daughter will be involved in several official functions before the game.
“It's not like she'll get to do any sightseeing,” he said.
“It's a lot of work.”
Jan Boutilier, who works in the Port Townsend High School administrative office, said she had known Brita Guthrie for years.
“She's a fabulous, talented young lady who is kind, smart and helpful, and an absolute joy to have around,” Boutilier said.
The Sea Gals member attended the University of Washington and earned a degree in marketing communications with a minor in Norwegian language in 2012.
She works for www.Zulily.com, an online supplier of children's clothing, which has worked with her to allow her to perform as a Sea Gal.
“It's a huge commitment,” she said. “I only have two weeks off from April through the football season.
“It essentially takes up all my free time.”
While she is a dedicated Seahawks fan, the payoff is that she gets to dance in public.
“Once I left Port Townsend, I found there weren't a lot of places I could dance, and I really missed it,” she said.
This is a continuation of a lifelong interest. She spent several years learning how to dance at the O'Meara Dance Studio in Port Townsend.
While attending UW, Guthrie decided to audition for the school's cheerleading squad.
That led to a successful audition for the Sea Gals, “although at the time, it seemed like a stretch for me,” she said.
She earned a place on the squad for the 2012-13 season and had to audition again for this season, although past members of the squad don't have to go through the first stage of the elimination.
While she had a head start, she still had to compete with 90 other women for a place on the squad.
“I can tell you, it was a whole lot more nerve-wracking to dance in front of 10 people at the audition than in front of 70,000 people at the game,” she said.
Guthrie said she doesn't have a lot of personal contact with the players but has met quarterback Russell Wilson, who “is one of the most sincere, genuine people I've ever met.”
She hasn't met controversial cornerback Richard Sherman but noted that the two have some things in common: their age and that they both have degrees in marketing communication — his from Stanford — and earned a 3.9 grade-point average.
Guthrie is dating a man she met before she became involved with the Seahawks. He sits in a special “spouse's section” at the games.
“He's gotten close to all the girls and their husbands and boyfriends,” she said.
“We all go out together all the time.”
Guthrie has a 22-year-old sister, Kirsten, who works as a nanny.
“I made a good choice raising them in Port Townsend,” Jim Guthrie said of his children.
“It's a very supportive place for children to develop.
“It was a great village that raised them.”
He said his daughter is excited to be part of the Seahawks because it is a “classy organization with high standards.”
“It's really cool to have her paycheck signed by [team owner] Paul Allen,” Jim Guthrie said.
Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or email@example.com.