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The Kit Pit, the student section at Lazier Field in front of which performs ETHS cheer.

Bring it on: ETHS cheer squad puts prep into its step

Always an exciting presence on the sidelines of Lazier, the cheer team continues to impress as they head into the season. This fall, cheerleaders return to the football field after a summer of training and community appearances. Following the graduation of five members, the team looked at rebuilding during spring tryouts, but head coach LaShanda Banks has faith in a strong group of rising seniors to take the lead.

“I’m looking forward to [the seniors] being new leaders and giving me new ideas,” said Banks. “Of the three years that I’ve coached here, this probably will be my favorite group of kids. They want to learn; they’re stunting already.”

Spring tryouts allowed the Kits to keep training through the summer. Throughout the break, the team focused on strength training and improving tumbling skills, as well as beginning to stunt, forming a valuable foundation for the upcoming season.

They also participated in the City of Evanston’s Juneteenth and Fourth of July celebrations, bringing cheer into the community. Coach Banks views events and team-building activities as valuable resources for the team.

“If you want to be a part of a team, you want to have that camaraderie,” Banks says. “You want to have that experience together just to learn more and do more.”

Last February, the team fell six places short to advance past IHSA Sectionals at Buffalo Grove. IHSA cheer competitions began in 2005, and since then, Evanston has failed to advance past Sectionals.

As well as appearing regularly at ETHS football and basketball games, the cheer team can be found at the Homecoming football game’s halftime and the IHSA competition next winter.

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