Cascade’s Moore takes inaugural Miss Auburn teen tiara

A graceful and confident Naomi Moore naturally knows what to do on stage.

A graceful and confident Naomi Moore naturally knows what to do on stage.

It comes with experience. The gifted rhythmic gymnast has performed in front of scrupulous judges, early and often

A swift and agile Moore shined under the bright lights at the inaugural Miss Auburn Outstanding Teen Pageant last Saturday night, capturing hearts, the crown and $3,000 in gifts, awards and scholarships.

“I’m ecstatic. I’m happy. I’m delighted,” she said after receiving the tiara, a bouquet of flowers and congratulatory hugs at the Auburn Mountainview Theatre.

For Moore, it was a matter of poise and presentation. She worked closely with her coach, Olga Niculita, Evergreen Rhythmics program director, on perfecting her moves.

“My coach always says to keep a good expression in our routine,” said the 13-year-old Moore, a Level 9 gymnast and honors student as an eighth-grader at Auburn’s Cascade Middle School. “I always try to keep that in mind when I’m out there performing.”

Flashing an infectious smile, Moore lit up the audience with a dazzling and complex rhythmic gymnastics dance number, stepping to the tune of the sassy, fun and familiar “Pink Panther Theme” during the talent portion of the program.

She backed the solid routine with a polished reply when asked to describe the importance of her platform, teen depression awareness.

Moore has dealt with family setbacks of the past, but has persevered and grown with maturity and understanding.

Moore, one of the youngest contestants in the nine-girl field, earned a berth in the Miss Washington Outstanding Teen Pageant on May 28-29 at the Auburn Performing Arts Center.

“It will be something new for me,” Moore said. “It’s definitely a big step for me.”

Moore, daughter of Marvin Moore and Rebecca Gauff, is involved in student body government and team gymnastics. A straight-A student, she was voted most inspirational at her school.

Georgia Riffle, a freshman at Auburn Mountainview, was first runner-up. Alyssa Schnell, a ninth-grader at Maple Valley’s Tahoma Junior High School, was second runner-up.

The People’s Choice was Abigael Holmberg, a sophomore at Auburn High, and Miss Congeniality was Haylee Englehardt, an eighth-grader at Black Diamond’s Thunder Mountain Middle School.

The teen pageant program, themed “Peace, Love, Pink,” is an extension of the Miss Auburn Scholarship Pageant, considered one of the largest and most successful programs in the country.

The new teen program offered girls between the ages of 13 and 17 the chance to compete for the city tiara, $3,700 in gifts, awards and scholarships and a state pageant berth. The state teen program is affiliated with the Miss America organization.