Cheer squad holds tryouts to bring enthusiasm

By Rob Clinton, Sports Editor

After about a decade without a cheer team, tryouts are underway in the athletic department to bring spirit to Comet sporting events and give students another competitive outlet at the college.

Contra Costa College lags behind sister colleges Diablo Valley and Los Medanos, which already have squads that support their teams.

Tryouts are being held in the dance studio in GA-10 from 4-6 p.m. until Aug. 31. The squad isn’t only open to women and students who fall under all gender preferences are invited to join.

Athletic Administrative Secretary Leketa Lambert said, “Student Life Coordinator Joel Nickelson-Shanks and Athletic Director John Wade felt we were in need of more spirit — a way to make things exciting so more people will want to come to the games.”

She said there are 10 people (so far) who want to participate, but the tryout process is still ongoing.

Lambert said she got involved with Comet cheer because they needed someone to help get the project off the ground.

“I used to cheer back in the days,” she said.

Nickelson-Shanks said, “When students come in with a need, I try to make sure those needs are addressed.”

With Wade, Nickelson-Shanks, Lambert and cheerleading team adviser Maryam Lucia Attai all on board, it seems the vision may be coming to fruition.

Even though participation rates for women’s sports have waned at CCC and in the Bay Valley Conference in general, the cheer team is not slated to be a replacement for any of the women’s sports already on campus.

“We needed a cheer team because sometimes the games can be kind of dead. It’s not just sports. It’s about getting people motivated on campus,” African-American studies major Imani Pruitt said. Events on campus or messages exclusively from adults makes things feel boring, she said.

Sociology major Josiah White has been with the team since the first day of practice. White said he has dancing experience dating back to his youth.

“I helped start the team to help motivate the fans and our sports teams,” White said. “I’m not worried about performing in front of crowds.”

With the team slated to practice four days per week at two hours per session, the activity will take up more time than many of the classes that the students have on their fall class schedules.

“I’ve always wanted to cheer since I was younger,” African-American studies major Kamarianna Thomas-Jefferson said.

“It will get me in better shape. Dancing gives me an escape so cheering and dancing can help put my mind on a better plane.”