Updated: February 23, 2013 6:08AM
The new year has brought something new to the College of Lake County athletic program.
A cheer squad to support the school’s men’s and women’s basketball teams.
The Lancers have played basketball for years, but until last week never had a cheer squad to add to the festive atmosphere of home games on campus in Grayslake.
That all changed due to the enterprise work done by Mundelein High School grad and current CLC student Lisa McCarthy.
McCarthy, 20, is a life-long cheerleader and former Waukegan High School JV cheer coach. She wondered why the school didn’t have a cheer squad and asked one of her professors, Henna Kittridge — now faculty advisor for the club — why there wasn’t a team.
“She asked me why we didn’t have cheerleaders at CLC, and I told her that I didn’t know, but if she wanted a cheer squad, to go out and start one ... so she did,” said Kittridge.
It turned out there was plenty of interest and many of CLC’s students were high school cheerers.
“Our girls come from Warren, Mundelein, Waukegan and Zion. It’s exciting because we are coming to together as former rivals and now we’re building a united team,” said McCarthy. “I’m just so excited that such a talented group of students from surrounding areas were able to come together for the beginning of a great new athletic program at CLC! I can’t wait to see the program soar!”
When McCarthy learned that she needed a faculty advisor willing to oversee the club, she asked the teacher who had inspired her, and Henna immediately came to the aid of the girls. “The girls have been so wonderful and they’ve taught me so much” said Kittridge. “Everyone at the school that I’ve talked to is excited to have a cheerleading squad here. It’s a great way to get excitement and more pep at the games, and it’s also a great way to get more people to think about coming to CLC.”
“For this year we are considered a club, but next year we hope to be recognized as a school sport,” said McCarthy.
As a club, this new team has set its own practice schedules, bought its own uniforms and paid for practice space.
Chassidy Spencer, co-captain of the team, said “It’s exhilarating. We have been able to overcome various obstacles and continue to succeed in everything that has been thrown in our paths.
“I believe CLC needs a little bit more school spirit and I am confident that this team will rise to the occasion.”
When asked how she felt about being a CLC cheerleader, Viviana Ramirez replied, “To me cheering is a passion, and now (we) can show CLC what this first generation of cheerleaders are capable of. I feel blessed and honored to be on the squad.”