By CHRIS CRUICKSHANK The Rockford High Men’s Cross Country team split their squad to compete in both Friday’s Spartan Invitational and Saturday’s Sparta Invitational. The weather at both events was awesome and so were the Rams! In the Spartan Invitational Elite Division, the Rams squared off against the best teams in the State and came away with a very respectable third place finish. Four Rams finished the 5 K course under the 17:00 mark, led by Austin Benoit, who recorded a personal record time of 16:05. Benoit finished in 19th place, followed by Drew Woznick in 20th place, Grant Amon and Chris Coles. Other Rams supporting the team effort were Isaac Harding, Tyler Amon and Mark Cruickshank. At the Sparta Invitational the remainder of the Rams won the Blue Division Varsity and Reserve Races. In the varsity race, Rockford was led by Caleb Cuneo who finished in third place with a time of 17:21. Cuneo was followed by Mitch Switzer in 6th place, Grant Gabriel in 14th place and Grayson Harding in18th place. The Rams dominated the JV race, taking the top four places. The Rams were led by Brad Fischer with a time of 18:21, followed by Spenser Keating in 2nd, Matt Albano in 3rd, and Ben Parcell in 4th. Also competing well were fellow Rams Paul Burke, Kirk Dickson, Jack Wyatt and Jacob Day. This Tuesday the Rams will run at Johnson Park, and on Saturday Rockford will compete at the Cougar-Falcon Invitational to be held at Calvin College’s Gainey Complex.
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 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.