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Mongan makes cheerleading team at University of Illinois

Grace Mongan (second from right) poses with her family during a May 10 ceremony announcing her acceptance as a cheerleader at the University of Illinois. Pictured, left to right, are: Dan (her father), Abby (her sister), Grace, and Jean (her mom). Photo by Earleen Hinton
Grace Mongan (second from right) poses with her family during a May 10 ceremony announcing her acceptance as a cheerleader at the University of Illinois. Pictured, left to right, are: Dan (her father), Abby (her sister), Grace, and Jean (her mom). Photo by Earleen Hinton

An Oregon High School graduate will be taking her cheerleading talents to the next level come next school year.

Grace Mongan, an OHS senior, has made the University of Illinois’ Co-Ed cheerleading team following tryouts last month.

Mongan, the daughter of Dan and Jean Mongan of Oregon, is one of nine girls named to the 18-member team.

“I feel so humbled today and I want to thank all my teachers and coaches who are here today,” said Mongan during a May 10 ceremony to announce her selection. “I can’t believe this is real.”

Mongan said she traveled to the U of I campus on April 14 to try out for the team.

“I was pretty nervous. I found out at 3 p.m. that day that I was one of nine named to the co-ed team,” Mongan said.

Danielle Kunce, the OHS cheerleading coach for the past six years, said all of Mongan’s hard work resulted in her selection to the team.

“I’ve had the honor of working with Grace during my tenure,” Kunce said. “I am super-proud of Grace. She worked so hard from the beginning. She knew she wanted to cheer at college. She’s done a great job and she’s a great leader on top of that. I look forward to seeing her in college.”

Mongan thanked the large troupe of family and friends who gathered at the Blackhawk Center to celebrate her selection.

“I feel so lucky. I just feel so blessed to have your support. Thanks for being here,” said Mongan.

As a member of the team, Mongan will travel to various sporting events throughout the year.

She said she has the potential to receive a scholarship “down the road”.

Mongan is also the reigning Ogle County Fair Queen.