July 26 2012

Drivers advised of Plainfield lane closure

July 26, 2012 // 0 Comments

Lane closures for road repair will be in place from 9 a.m. Tuesday, July 24 through 5 p.m. Sunday, August 12 on Plainfield Avenue from Lamberton Lake Drive to Fuller Avenue. A minimum of one lane will remain open in each direction. The work is weather dependent (no rain, cold temps, etc.). Sign up to receive free traffic alert e-mails by county at http://1.usa.gov/qZzuHo. For up-to-date information on this project and others, go to the list of statewide lane closures at www.michigan.gov/drive. Follow MDOT at www.twitter.com/MichiganDOT or www.facebook.com/MichiganDOT.

Ritzenhein in London to compete in third Olympics

July 26, 2012 // 0 Comments

by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL  Dathan Ritzenhein, a 2001 Rockford High School graduate, qualified for the U.S. Olympic team in the 10,000 meters by finishing third in the U.S. Olympic Track & Field trials on June 23 at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon. He needed to finish third and also reach the American A standard of 27:45, which he handily did with a time of 27:36:09. This will be Ritzenhein’s third Olympics. In 2004 Olympics, Ritzenhein ran in the 10,000-meter event but dropped out mid-race due to a stress fracture and in the 2008 Olympics he finished ninth in the grueling marathon. Ritzenhein (“Ritz”) emerged as a cult figure among high school track fans during his junior and senior years at Rockford High School (RHS). He set numerous state and national high school records during this time. In 1999 “Ritz” claimed an unexpected national title in the 5k while setting the course record in 14:29. As a senior at RHS he set the Michigan 5k record of 14:10 at state finals and capped his high school career with six national championships. “Ritz” followed up his storied high school years by having a dominant college career at the University of Colorado. He owned the American 10k collegiate record (27:38:50), and four Big 12 Conference titles (2003 cross-country, 2004 indoor 3,000-meter, 5,000-meter, and outdoor 5k). He also received four All-American titles (2001 and 2003 cross-country, 2004 indoor and outdoor 5k), the 10,000-meter school record (27:38:50) and the nation’s only undefeated cross-country season in 2003 to capture his first and only NCAA crown. Rockford Public School’s Assistant Superintendent of Instruction, Dr. Ryan Kelley, has this to say about Ritzenhein – “Having been Dathan’s high school principal, I remember him as being one of the finest athletes we have ever had in Rockford. More importantly, I remember him being very humble and down to earth. He was the ultimate role model for the younger kids. To see Dathan on TV, competing in the Olympics, makes us all very proud.” With a heart and work ethic as big as the outdoors he so dearly loves, “Ritz” has his entire hometown community proudly backing him as he “runs for the gold” in the 2012 Summer Olympics. Ritzenhein’s 10,000-meter Olympic event will […]

Rams Hockey topping growth charts in Michigan

July 26, 2012 // 0 Comments

Winter sports, ice rinks and hockey may be the furthest thing from your mind with our recent heat wave. In spite of our roasting temperatures this summer, Rockford Hockey Association (Rams Hockey) is thinking winter, snow and ice hockey right now in both planning for their 2012-13 season, and with recent exciting news from USA Hockey. USA Hockey, the national governing body for youth hockey in the United States, recently published yearly findings in their 2011-12 Membership Report. Ram Hockey is climbing the charts in two categories, overall association growth and meeting national challenge goals. In the broad scope of hockey, nationally, there are more people playing hockey this year than last. Additionally, Michigan happens to boast the second largest hockey population in the country. Ram Hockey has been ranked number two overall for growth in the entire state of Michigan. As well, they have been recognized as one of only 11 associations in the state to meet all components of the 2-and-2 Challenge goals. The 2-and-2 Challenge is a comprehensive growth program that guides youth hockey leadership through national programs to realize growth through retention, acquisition and conversion. Rams Hockey Growth Coordinator Tammy Christian said, “Meeting these nationally recognized Challenge goals, and showing an 80 percent increase in overall association growth in our 2011-12 season is remarkable. Our association volunteers are working hard to retain our current membership of families and players, and also find ways to allow the youth in Rockford and our surrounding communities the opportunity to experience the great game of hockey.” Rams Hockey is poised to maintain their growth momentum with goals and initiatives already in place for the 2012-13 season. These will include hosting Try Hockey for Free Day in November, and Learn-to-Skate and Learn-to-Play Hockey programs that will start up in September. Try Hockey for Free Day is a nationally recognized and celebrated program in which youth hockey associations across the country encourage kids ages 4 to 9 to come to a local rink and try out the game free of charge. Rams Hockey’s Learn-to-Skate and Learn-to-Play programs are offered at reasonable prices, are only eight weeks in length, and starter equipment rentals are available. Christian said, “We have recently updated and increased our equipment rental inventories, which […]

Hope College announces spring sports letter winners

July 26, 2012 // 0 Comments

Letter winners on spring sports teams at Hope College have been announced by athletic director Tim Schoonveld and women’s athletic director Eva Folkert. Rockford letter winners are freshman Jonathan Panzer in men’s tennis, junior Joel Rietsema in men’s track, and sophomore Katie Carlson in women’s track. The spring season culminated a successful year of intercollegiate athletics as Hope College won the Commissioner’s Cup for having the best cumulative men’s and women’s program in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA). Hope finished first in the MIAA women’s and second in the men’s all-sports standings. It marked the 34th time in school history that Hope has won the coveted MIAA Commissioner’s Cup, the most of any member school.

Rockford defeats Hudsonville in Little League Majors Division District 9 championship game

July 26, 2012 // 0 Comments

Logan Lee struck out 10 in 5-1/3 innings to lead Rockford to its first District 9 Majors baseball championship on Sunday, July 15, 3-0 over Hudsonville. “This is the first time in 20 years we’ve had a Rockford team in the state tournament,” said Rockford Little League President Warren Lanphear. Lee, a tall pitcher with a strong fastball, had an exceptional performance in the title game. “I don’t think I’ve had this type of game before,” Lee said. “It was just a great team effort, and I’m really looking forward to the state tournament.” The Rams were able to break through a scoreless tie in the second inning with two outs when the number seven hitter, Khale Showers, reached base on a single up the middle. The number eight hitter, Trey Herblet, also singled with a hit up the middle. Jackson Danner, number nine hitter, then drove in the first run of the game with a clutch two-out hit down the right field line. The Rams were able to hold Hudsonville scoreless with solid pitching and defense. The Rams added two insurance runs in the top of the sixth inning when Wendell Lanphear stole home on a wild pitch and Jake McLean had a hard hit to the outfield to score Showers. Showers successfully relieved Lee in the bottom of the sixth after Lee reached the 85-pitch maximum. Vicksburg and Schoolcraft are hosting the 2012 Majors state championship July 20-28. Rockford Coach Scot Showers knows his team will have to be all business moving forward. “We’ll have a couple practices, and then we’ll get after it,” Coach Showers said. “We worked hard all season and won with both our bats and our pitching.” Mitchell Ross led Hudsonville with two hits and struck out four as pitcher. “It was a battle,” said Hudsonville Coach Dave Krombeen. “We had a great run all week.” Rockford was the only team to beat Hudsonville in last year’s tournament. Both teams had to beat Pinery Park for a spot in the title game.

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