‘This is a huge shot to prove you don’t have to be East African to be a great distance runner’ For the second time in two weeks Rockford native Dathan Ritzenhein made world news. The runner, who normally shines in marathons or 10Ks, set a new American record in the Weltklasse meet in Zurich, Switzerland on Friday, August 28. Ritzenhein finished the race with a time of 12:56.27, beating the old American record of Bob Kennedy. The feat follows his sixth-place finish in Berlin with a personal record time. Of the Berlin race Ritzenhein told the Squire, “I was very happy with how the race went in Berlin. I have been focusing on the marathon for the past few years and I began to feel that I was losing some of my form. The benefits you get from racing short distances can really help with the longer events too, so I needed to get back to that.” He got back to that in a big way with the Switzerland run, which USA Today called “a stunning US record.” For much of the race Ritzenhein was in last place. With 800 meters to go he began passing other runners to take third behind world champion Keninisa Bekele of Ethiopia. “What Dathan did today validates what everyone in this country has been trying to do—to show Americans can run with the best East Africans,” Ritzenhein’s coach Alberto Salazar said. Dathan spoke about his coach and what he had done for the runner. “I switched coaches this spring after four-plus years. I am now coached by the former world record holder in the marathon and NYC and Boston Marathon Champion Alberto Salazar. We are in the process of moving up to the NIKE headquarters in Portland Oregon, from Eugene Oregon where we lived for the last two and half years. Ironically, Ritzenhein predicted an American record last week in an interview with the Squire. He said of his Berlin race, “I knew going into the race I was in the best shape I had ever been in. The race was a modest pace at first but just before half way it really picked up and I just hung on and picked people off as the race went. I […]
Articles by Squire News
If you missed the dedication of the Ted Carlson in 1993, you have another chance. The stadium will be re-dedicated Thursday, September 3 at 6:30 p.m. before the varsity football team plays on the new artificial turf field for the first time. Athletic Director Tim Erickson said members of the Carlson family will be on hand, and fans will notice the new, classier look of the facility. All Alumni Class Reunion also to be held A first-ever party for all Rockford grads will take place nearby from 5 to 6:30 p.m. The All Alumni Class Reunion picnic is offered by Rockford Community Ed and will hopefully be a new annual event. Parking is suggested at Roguewood, and alumni will gather near the tennis courts (west of the high school). No RSVP is needed. Just show up and enjoy hot dogs, chips, lemonade, music, and great company of other Rockford grads. Attendees will be able to purchase game tickets at a reduced price.
Only Rockford Ambulance was disappointed in the first Reading Rocks in Rockford festival organized by Rockford Rotary. The Ambulance booth, featuring bicycle safety, was too close to the allure of the Fire Department’s big red trucks, so youngsters tended to pass them by. The Rockford Fire Department was busy all day long during the event on Saturday, August 29 from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. “We have had at least 100 kids through here today,” said fire fighter Robert Berkstresser. Berkstresser helped youngsters up into the department’s newest truck and offered coloring books, stickers and free play fire helmets. The event began with a breakfast at Krause Memorial Library with authors and included a wide variety of reading-related events held all over downtown. Despite cooler temperatures, cloudy weather and a little rain, most events were very well received. Authors Row at Garden Club park featured a dozen authors who were on hand to talk about their profession, tell about their books and sign their works. Rockford sports teams read to youngsters at different locations around town and programs ran at the library throughout the day. Organizers, including Susan Bodenner at Bishop Hills Elder Care Community, were pleased with the turnout. Bodenner said it was hard to tell how many children and adults showed up because events happened all over town. Author Shirley Neitzel said, “ The event was so well organized, it’s hard to believe this was the first year for it.” Authors Karen and Darrin Brege said, “Thank you so much for having us at your lovely book festival. Your adorable town has become one of our new favorites. For your first year, it seemed like a wonderful success.” Author Kim Delmar Cory said, “Thank you for inviting me to present in Author’s Row this past Saturday for the first annual Rockford Reading Festival. I thought you did a marvelous job organizing it. The parade of book characters, the constant entertainment, the Girl Scout helpers, it was all just top notch! Despite the weather, a good time was had by all. And what an absolutely lovely town you have.”
Football should be played on grass, believes Dr. Michael Shibler, Rockford Public School Superintendent. He also stated that Head Football Coach Ralph Munger believes football should be played on grass. Nonetheless, as the new Mondo artificial turf multi-use (formerly football) field opens this Thursday, September 3, Shibler is thrilled with the new field. With state-of-the-art technology that allows the artificial turf to one day be recycled, stay cooler during hot game or practice days, and allow extended use of the field, the new field is a wonderful addition and made possible by last May’s successful millage. “I believe in doing it right the first time, especially when spending taxpayer dollars,” said Shibler. He was one of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce guest speakers at the every-other-month luncheon series. The field will be “unveiled” during a rededication ceremony of the Ted Carlson stadium at 7 p.m. (see story on page 1). It was one of many topics Shibler discussed during the business luncheon held at Bostwick Lake Inn. Improvements to the district are possible through the community’s support of its school through millage approvals as well as the strong base of volunteers Rockford enjoys. Shibler took the time to educate those in the audience on all the district has accomplished through support from the residents, parents and staff. Shibler stated that the district has changed in many ways since he began as superintendent. He praised the great working relationship between the school and the business community, and said one of the first things he emphasized 23 years ago was that the school be an active partner with businesses, the City and our townships. “This is my 42nd year as a Michigan educator and I can’t think of a better place to be,” Shibler said. He said when he started the district had 4,100 students and now there are 8,100 in grades kindergarten through 12. In 1989 the district began planning its RAMS program (Rockford Action Model for Success). Each RAMS is a three-year plan of improvement now in its seventh version. The district has 1,000 employees and a $74 million annual budget, but receives the lowest funding per student in Kent County. Ending or lessening the difference in per-student funding—comparable schools receive as much as ten […]