The Rockford boys ran a tough race Friday afternoon, Sept. 17, at the Spartan Invitational held at the Forest Akers East Golf Course in East Lansing. Running in the Elite Division, this meet provided an opportunity to assess the competition the Rams will face against some top talents from across the state. They will also face some strong local teams, especially in the face of big changes to the varsity line-up, as last year’s strong senior runners have moved on to college teams. The top runner in the Elite Division came in with a 15:30 time for the 5K course, followed by three other runners with sub 16-second times. The top team was Dexter with an average time of 16:37, with several other teams approaching their times. Local team Grand Haven took ninth place and promises a good challenge for the Rams in coming weeks. The Rams were led by veteran varsity team members seniors Steven Ek and Spencer Gerber and sophomore Drew Woznick. Ek showed a strong finish with a time of 16:43, coming in at 33rd place, which separated him from a spot on the awards podium by only three runners. Gerber and Woznick followed with times of 17:01 and 17:03. Rounding up the varsity team at this event was sophomore Chris Coles (17:34) and senior Eric Parsell (17:41), followed by senior Devon Liu (17:41) and senior Mike Greko (18:06). Rockford placed 16th out of the 27 teams in the Elite class. However, with a predicted ranking of ninth place, according to the results of recent polling of Michigan cross country coaches, the team is expected to continue to improve their showing as the season unfolds. Coach Andrew Martin was upbeat after the race, mentioning the potential he sees with the team going forward.
by Chris Cruickshank The Rockford High School boys cross county team participated in split squad events over the weekend, with the varsity team running at the Spartan Invitational in East Lansing on Friday, Sept. 17, and the junior varsity team running at the Sparta Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 18. As it had been for the past few years, the Sparta Invitational was wet and slippery. Due to passing thunder and lightning early on, it was delayed 90 minutes. But the delay had little effect on the Rams, who took the top 11 places in the junior varsity race. The Rams’ Austin Benoit led from start to finish, completing the rain-soaked course in 17:58. Rounding out the top 11 spots for the Rams with a 47-second spread were Casey Aman, Evan Bruin, Andrew Pitcher, Tyler Harney, Conner Jewell, Nate McQueen, Cam Fasel, Grant Aman, Tim Newberger and Matt Albano. Coach Martin commented, “The guys ran very well today considering the conditions. What I liked most is that they came out and pushed the pace from the very beginning and ran together—each of the top 15 Ram finishers ran with and finished near at least one other teammate. We practice running in groups to help push each other.” Next up, the Rams harriers run at East Rockford Middle School against East Kentwood on Wednesday, Sept. 22, and at the Cougar-Falcon Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 25 at the Gainey Complex, located on East Paris Drive in Kentwood.
When Rockford’s women swimmers agreed to host this year’s West Michigan Relay, they did not expect to beat OK Red conference champion, Ottawa Hills, but they did expect to give them a run for their money. That’s just what the Rams did Saturday, Sept. 11 at their high school as 15 of the toughest West Michigan teams met for the annual relay championship. The Rams were strong throughout the day-long event, starting out in second place behind East Grand Rapids in diving, with divers Erica Finlayson, Macie DeGraaf, Katie DeHaan and Maggie Setterington. The Rams continued to stay strong, finishing within the top four teams throughout the swim portion of the meet and winning two of the events outright: the 200 breaststroke relay team of Lauren Girard, Rachel Romain, Morgan Lipe and Kennedy Cutler, and the 200 butterfly relay team of Lexy Caster, Taylor Downs, Sarah Smith and Alaina Smith. By the end of the meet, Rockford was the clear leader with 354 points, West Ottawa second with 336, East Grand Rapids third with 334, and Zeeland was fourth with 280 points. Rockford’s B team spent Saturday at Union High School competing in the Birds of Prey relay meet. The Rams placed fourth behind the A teams from Byron Center, Catholic Central and West Catholic.
The sound of music filled the Ted Carlson Memorial Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 18 as Rockford hosted the 28th annual Rockford Marching Band Invitational. This year, 21 bands took the field in competition with Rockford’s own performing in exhibition to close the evening of performances. RGates opened at 1 p.m. and the opening ceremony took place at 2 p.m. Admission fees for this band fundraiser were $7 for adults, $5 for students/seniors, or $20 for a family of four or more. Senior passes are not honored at this event, due to being the main fundraiser of the year for the Rockford Public Schools band program. Bands were separated into different flight classes based on the total number of students in their school. Each performance was evaluated by a panel of judges for music performance, music effect, marching performance and their overall visual effect. The judges gave each band important feedback about its performance, recognizing achievements as well as suggesting modifications. Awards were given for the highest scores in each classification, and bands were ranked within their flight class. In addition, each band’s color guard and percussion section was also judged, but these scores were separate from the overall scoring. At the end of the evening, a grand champion for the invitational was also announced. Flight C competition began at approximately 2:05 p.m. and the music continued throughout the remainder of the day with Rockford closing the show at 8:45 p.m. with their “steel, steam and speed show,” followed by the final award presentations. Concessions were be available throughout the day. In addition, raffle tickets for a chance to win a new 2011 Chevrolet Malibu was also on sale. Proceeds from the car raffle help provide transportation costs for the band performances for all age groups, including the upcoming performance at Walt Disney World over Christmas break. Raffle tickets are $25 each or five for $100. Tickets are also available at any home football game or at Kool Chevrolet on Plainfield Ave. in Grand Rapids. For more information, visit the Rockford band’s website at www.rockfordbands.org.