Lady Rams race to third-place finish at Division I state track meet

by RANDY GREGORY

Taylor Manett runs in the 3,200-meter race in the rain during the state finals Saturday, June 2.

The girls track team from Rockford qualified in 12 different events for the Division I state meet held at East Kentwood on Saturday, June 2. They placed in nine of the 12 en route to amassing 35 points and finishing third. Grosse Pointe South took the top spot with 77.50 points and Ann Arbor Huron finished second with 64.

“We had a pretty good day overall,” said Rockford Coach Randy VanderVeen. “I feel fairly comfortable in saying that if Sammy Cuneo hadn’t gotten hurt early in the meet, we would have scored in 11 of the 12 events. We scored points across the board in field events, sprints and distance events. We had four different girls score points in multiple events. We have a team comprised of several strong individuals, but the two top teams are loaded in a few select events that really build up points in a quick manner for them. I think we are by far the best team in the state in a dual meet format.”

Standout senior Taylor Manett had a big day for the Rams (that could have been bigger). Manett took fourth in the 1,600 (4:58.67), sixth in the 3,200 (10:46.65), and was part of the 4×800 relay team that finished fourth with a time of 9:14.53. Manett ran seven of the eight laps in the 3,200 with one shoe nearly dislodged from her foot after getting stepped on, and still finished a remarkable sixth. The other three members of the 4×800 relay team were Morgan Harney, Jane Hawks and Kerianne Schoff.

Katie DeHaan and Courtney Klaweiter also placed in three events for Rockford. DeHaan was seventh in the pole vault with a career-best jump of 11′ 3″, and was part of the third-place finish of the 4×400 relay team (3:59.08) and the fourth-place showing of the 4×200 relay team (1:43.55). Klaweiter was seventh in the 100-meter dash (12.62) and also part of the 4×200 and 4×400 relay teams.

Rachel Raab took third in the shot put (38′ 11″) and eighth in the discus with a toss of 112′ 7″.

Despite her injured hip flexor, Cuneo gutted out a leg of the 4×200 relay. Elise Schierbeek was the remaining participant in the 4×200 team, and Olivia Gilbert and Allison Kelley were the final pieces of the 4×400 quartet.

“I am very proud of the way we continue to uphold the tradition of success we have enjoyed here at Rockford,” said VanderVeen. “This team really had to keep digging and clawing and scratching all year long. I think we could have gotten a little more then we did, but it was a great year with everything considered.”

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