Rockford races to title at Division I regional in Grand Rapids

by RANDY GREGORY

NUMBER ONE AND THEY KNOW IT—The boys of Rockford High School’s track and field team proudly hoist their first-place trophy after winning the Division I regional championship. Photo by CLIFF HILL

Though not quite as overwhelming in the scope of victory as their female teammates, the boys track team from Rockford also took home first-place honors in the Division I regional meet held at Houseman Field in Grand Rapids on Saturday, May 19. Rockford totaled 126 points to easily outdistance the 94.25 points amassed by the runners-up from Grand Haven. Just like the girls, the boys scored points in each of the 17 contested events. The Rams also took home first-place honors in six different events.

“We had a great day and the kids really stepped up,” said Rockford Coach Andy Martin. “We got points from some unexpected sources and the biggest surprise was in the discus. Ivy Johnson and Mitch Caywood were seeded eighth and ninth and took home second and third place. It was not a good day to be a distance runner in this type of heat and I think that hurt us some. But all in all it was a superior effort by our kids.”

Rockford’s winning 4x100-meter boys relay team is made up of (l–r) Jeremy Blauser, Nick Simms, Tim Gilbert and Chris Eggenberger. Photo by CLIFF HILL

Jeremy Blauser set a new career best in the pole vault with a jump of 13′ 9″ that captured the title in that event and topped the rest of the field by 11 inches. Blauser also ran a leg of the 4×100-meter relay that captured first place with a time of 43.26 seconds. Nick Simms, Chris Eggenberger and Tim Gilbert comprised the balance of the 4×100 relay team.

Eggenberger had an excellent meet overall on a day tailor-made for sprinters. Eggenberger took first in the 100- (11.01) and 200-meter (22.22) dashes to go along with the 4×100-meter crown and also ran a leg of the 4×200 relay that took home second and also earned a berth in the state meet. Scott Kaule, Gilbert and Simms were the other participants in the 4×200 relay.

The remaining two titlists for the Rams were Drew Woznick and the 4×800-meter relay team. Woznick ran an incredible 4:21.01 in the 1,600 meters in sweltering heat that did nothing to encourage great times from distance runners. Austin Benoit, Grant Aman, Chris Coles and Woznick combined to run a solid 7:59.13 in the 4×800 relay to best the field by more than three seconds.

Martin plans to ease up a bit on the Rams in preparation for the state meet in two weeks at East Kentwood.

“We are probably not going to run in the MITCA [Michigan Interscholastic Track Coaches Association] meet next week,” said Martin. “We have some tired kids that need a break for a few days, and that will give us a chance to get ready for the state meet. We may run a few kids in a couple of local meets next week, but that will be it.”

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