Participating in the largest invitational of the young cross-county season, the Rockford boys cross country team finished fifth out of 26 teams running in the Elite division of the MSU Invitational, held at the Forest Akers Golf Course on the campus of Michigan State University on Friday, Sept. 18.
The fifth-place finish equaled the highest by the Rockford boys team in the last several years. The Rams missed being on the team podium by only 23 points, as the top three teams brought home trophies.
Pacing the Rams was senior Grant Gunneson as he ran a course personal record coming in at 16:26, placing 18th overall and making his way to the medalist platform, as the top 30 individual runners take home medals. Also medaling for the Rams was junior Spencer Gerber, who ran 16:40, finishing in 23rd place. Just missing out as a medalist was senior Drake Veitenheimer, who ran 16:46, finishing in 31st place. Veitenheimer was in 66th place at the two-mile mark and passed 35 runners to finish just one place out of the medals. Running fourth and fifth respectively for the Rams and rounding out the scoring were senior Nick Shear at 17:00 and freshman Drew Woznick at 17:26.
Coach Andrew Martin commented, “Our boys ran a really tough course and raced hard on Wednesday night in our last tri-meet. We thought we could run top three today, but I am not disappointed in our finish. It is very early in the season. We will continue to train hard right through all of our early season invitationals.”
Rockford is in action next Saturday as the top seven boys travel to Jackson for another test against the state’s top competition. Running as a split squad on Saturday at the Cougar CC Invitational will be the all of the other varsity and junior varsity boys. This invitational will be held at the Gainey Athletic Complex on East Paris Ave. in Grand Rapids due to construction at East Rockford Middle School.