by RANDY GREGORY
The traditionally strong girls track team at Rockford got things off to a rousing start with a dominant week. The Rams kicked off the season with an overwhelming 119-18 win over West Ottawa in the OK Red opener on Thursday, April 12 at home. The Rams followed that up by cruising to the title at the first Rockford Invitational track meet on Saturday, April 14. The Rams scored 542 points to the 484 points put up by Forest Hills Eastern. If that wasn’t enough, the Rams also sent an entire other team to the Comstock Park Invitational on Saturday that managed a fourth-place showing as well.
“We still have some holes as a team, but I think it was a pretty good showing for the first week,” said Rockford Coach Randy VanderVeen. “Everything we do now is to get us ready for East Kentwood and the championship portion of the season. It is amazing how quick the track season goes by and before you know it, it is time for the conference meet and the state meet. Our numbers are down a little bit this year, but we will do the best we can to carry on our tradition and win with what we have.”
Rachel Raab swept the shot put and the discus with some impressive throws on Thursday and Saturday. Raab went 37′ 1.75″ in the shot put and 114′ 8″ in the discus. Taylor Manett, Jane Hawks and Morgan Harney were all solid in the distance events. Maria Anel and Katie DeHaan are key components in the middle distances and Courtney Klaweiter and Elise Schierbeek will be huge parts of the sprints for the Rams.
“We have a mix of new kids and experienced kids on the team this year,” said VanderVeen. “We are still trying to fit in where they really belong on the team and improve our conditioning and times. The East Kentwood meet is going to be really close. We have a couple girls battling nagging injuries, but if we can overcome things and stay mentally strong we can do it. It should be a great meet and hopefully we can bring out the best in East Kentwood and they will bring out the best of Rockford.”
Rockford traveled to Muskegon for an OK Red meet on Tuesday, April 17 (too late for press) before returning home for the huge showdown with East Kentwood on Thursday, April 19. It will be a showcase for area track and a large turnout is anticipated.