The Rockford men’s cross country team used the final 50 meters of the 5K race to great advantage, out-kicking their opponents to win the Bath Invitational on Saturday. Drew Woznick led the way for the Rams, out-racing Northville’s Dan Sims and taking the tape with a winning time of 16:06. Austin Benoit followed suit, sprinting by another opponent near the finish line to take third place. Next across the finish line for the Rams were Grant Aman, Chris Coles, freshman Isaac Harding, Mark Cruickshank and Tyler Aman, all out-sprinting opponents in the final meters of the race. Harding was given the opportunity to run in the varsity race when Rockford Coach Andy Martin decided to rest Casey Aman, and he made the most of it, carving a minute off his best previous finish. Rockford’s Mitch Switzer led the junior varsity race from start to finish, winning it with a personal record time of 17:36. Next week, the Rams will split their squad, with the varsity team heading to East Lansing on Friday to compete at the Spartan Invitational and the reserve squad competing at the Sparta Invitational on Saturday.
The Rams’ talented senior class firmly took hold of the leadership mantle Saturday, taking eight of the top 11 places and winning the upperclassman race of the Rockford Invitational cross country meet. Rockford’s Austin Benoit and Drew Woznick led most of the race, but in the end, it was their teammate Casey Aman who took the tape with a winning time of 16:50. Benoit finished second, Woznick finished third and Chris Coles finished in fifth place. Next across the line for Rockford was the remainder of the Aman brother trio, with Grant in sixth place and Tyler in eighth place. Fellow Ram seniors Mark Cruickshank and Caleb Cuneo finished in 10th and 11th place, respectively. The Rams also won the underclassman race, allowing Rockford to win the overall invitational tile. Leading the way for the Rams was freshman Isaac Harding, who took second, followed by teammates Mitch Switzer (fourth), Colin Reichenbach (fifth), Connor Johnson (sixth), Grayson Harding (eighth), Ben Parsell (ninth) and Grant Gabriel (10th). The Rams’ next competition is the Bath Invitational to be held on September 8.
The Rockford boys cross country team completed a busy week, competing in three events held in Kentwood, East Lansing and Sparta. On Wednesday, Sept. 14, the Rams dominated East Kentwood in the first dual meet of the season, taking eight of the top 10 places. Drew Woznick was first across the line. Other top 10 finishers were Tyler Harney, Austin Benoit, Casey Aman, Grant Aman, Chris Coles, Andrew Pitcher and Connor Jewell. On Friday, Sept. 16, the varsity squad competed at the annual Spartan Invitational. Over 4,800 athletes and 300 teams, covering college, high school and middle school age groups, competed. Rockford finished 11th overall and eighth in Division I. Top finishers for the Rams were Woznick with a personal best of 16.08 (23rd overall) and Benoit with personal best time of 16:08 (24th overall). Other varsity scorers were Harney (16:39 PR), C. Aman (16:58) and Coles (16:59). G. Aman (17:02 PR) and Pitcher (17.06 PR) also competed for the Rams., both recording personal record (PR) times. On Saturday, Sept. 17, the Rams competed at the Sparta Invitational. In the varsity race, Rockford finished second behind Hudsonville. The Rams’ Jewell, Mark Cruickshank and Mark Lehman finished in fourth, fifth and seventh place, respectively, all recording PR times. The Rams dominated the junior varsity race, taking seven of the top 10 places. The Rams’ Caleb Cuneo finished in second place with a time of 19:13. Other Rams in the top 10 finishers were Sam Lewis, Doug Halmi, Aaron Plambeck, Austin Scogg and Brad Fischer. This Wednesday, Sept. 21, the Rams run at Johnson Park against Jenison and Hudsonville. On Saturday, Sept. 24, the Rams will compete at the Cougar-Falcon Invitational to be held at Calvin College’s Gainey Complex.
The Rockford boys cross-country team started off the 2011 campaign with a solid win at their own invitational meet, held on Saturday, August 27. The meet featured three races that saw a total of seven Rams finish the 5K course under the 18-minute mark. The first race featured the top five upperclassmen; the second race the top five underclassmen, and a junior varsity race for the remainder of the team. In the upperclassman varsity race, the Rams took the top five places. Junior Casey Aman finished first with a time of 17:21. Following Aman were senior Tyler Harney, juniors Drew Woznick and Austin Benoit, and senior Marc Lehman. Mitch Switzer and Colin Reichenbach took third and fourth place, respectively, in the underclassmen race for the Rams. Rockford’s Kenan Swihart, Matt Albano and Justin Meuser also participated in this race. In the junior varsity race, Rockford took the top 15 places. Finishing first for the Rams was Mark Cruickshank with a time of 17:28. Grant Aman, Chris Coles, Connor Jewell and Andrew Pitcher rounded out the top five places for the Rams. The Rockford harriers will next compete in the Bath Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 10.
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.