May 21 2009

Ram rugby heads to Division III state championship game

May 21, 2009 // 0 Comments

by JAMES WOOD This season has been no walk in the park for the defending Division I state champion Rockford Rams. With the loss of more than a full starting side of seniors from their 2008 campaign, this year’s squad has had their work cut out for them right from the get go. Younger and vastly undersized, this group has been learning that it takes nothing short of complete teamwork to put W’s on the board. Although the regular season left something to be desired, the 2009 Ram rugby team persisted and now finds itself heading to the Division III state championship game. One of only a handful of upperclassmen, senior captain Kyle Pletzke has led the team from day one and has helped to keep things from derailing at the first sign of adversity. Pletzke has been with the club for the past four years and has seen both highs and lows. “He helped keep morale up during the rough patches and kept everyone moving forward with purpose.” say the coaches. In addition to Pletzke, the club will also be losing starting number eight Bryan Ray who has recently brought his game to a new level, along with starting fullback and try-saving extraordinaire Nate Baldwin, as well as rugby newcomers David Brower and Clay Veldkamp. Even with the loss of this solid group of seniors, the Rams are looking ahead to an extremely bright future. “We have some talented guys who will be looking to fill the roles of our seniors who are moving on,” said the coaches. “Unfortunately some of our upperclassman standouts are having to miss the playoffs with injuries.” Junior Dallas Hanson, the team’s starting flyhalf, is out with broken ribs, and backline menace junior Curtis Day has had to sit with an ankle injury. “Our junior group on the field [Mark Flemming, James Springvold, Kyle Henry] have been playing some really solid rugby,” the coaches said. With the exception of a handful of juniors and seniors, most of the Rams’ starting lineup is comprised of underclassmen. “In any given match we may fill as many as seven to 11 of our starting sports with freshman and sophomore athletes,” said the coaches. “Seven of the spots have been filled by underclassmen […]

Rockford soccer shuts out East Kentwood in overtime

May 21, 2009 // 0 Comments

Rams get revenge over Grandville by JACKIE HOLLAND-DECKER The Rockford girls soccer team played the OK Red “game of the week” twice last week. The Rams first took on behemoth East Kentwood (EK) Monday night, May 11, in the last game of the regular season, handing the host Falcons their first league loss with a 1-0 shutout in overtime. Then on Thursday, May 14, the adrenaline-charged host Rams avenged an earlier loss to Grandville with a resounding 5-1 victory in the conference tournament opener. The wins brought praise from first-year coach Amira Ponne.   “I am proud of the way these girls are playing, the way they have come together to be a team that trusts each other,” Ponne said. “They play beautiful soccer. We were so excited and anxious to play East Kentwood. We were ready to surprise them. Because of our inconsistencies this season, I don’t think East Kentwood thought the game was going to be much of anything but a big V for them on their senior night. East Kentwood is a great team, but I really think that our girls are now seeing that when we play as a team, we are awesome!”   The ending at EK on the Falcons’ senior night was magical. After hard-fought sparring with the Falcons for 90 minutes of regulation play, the first 14 minutes and 30 seconds of overtime were more of the same back-and-forth action. Both teams had opportunities, but their defenses held strong. Then it happened-that dream play that coaches talk about to their players. Junior forward Kate Huyser charged up the middle toward the net as junior defender Sam Decker raced up on the right. With both girls barreling toward her and Decker screaming for the ball, junior keeper Audra Racette didn’t know which threat was more pertinent. She committed to the right. Huyser shot it into the left side of the net with seven seconds left on the clock. “I was in shock,” said a beaming Huyser. “I was just aiming for the corner. I didn’t want to shoot at the goalie. I heard Sam, and I thought, ‘You are not getting the ball.’ We work well together, but I saw the shot and I took it.” “I was thinking, […]

RHS equestrian team now taking sign-ups

May 21, 2009 // 0 Comments

The Rockford High School equestrian team is now signing up members for the 2009-2010 season. Individuals who will be in the ninth to 12th grades this fall are eligible to participate. Please contact Head Coach Sabrina Nyenhuis at (616) 430-8211 or e-mail to The Rockford High School equestrian team is a club sport that promotes horse competition for all interested students. Their goal is excellence in competition, sportsmanship and team spirit. The team is also a member of the Michigan Interscholastic Horsemanship Association (MIHA). Practices are weekly beginning the week of June 8. The district meets are scheduled for September 2009. Join the team as they defend their Reserve State Championship title. For more information, please contact Coach Nyenhuis at (616) 430-8211 or visit

WWW donates footwear and apparel

May 21, 2009 // 0 Comments

HELPING OUT-Understanding that economic realities have severely reduced the average construction workers purchasing power, Rockford-based Wolverine World Wide donated footwear and apparel to the hard working men and women from Pioneer Construction who are currently working on the 38 Commerce and City Parking Ramp project downtown.

Rockford girls clinch share of OK Rainbow lacrosse title

May 21, 2009 // 0 Comments

Rockford went up against local rival Catholic Central at Aquinas College Wednesday, May 13 in a battle for the first-ever OK girls lacrosse title. Earlier in the season, Rockford had lost 4-3 at home on senior night. The Rams hoped to return the favor on the Cougars’ senior night as they sought a share of the title. The two teams always bring out the best in each other, and this game was no exception. The teams slugged it out in the first half to end tied at 2-2. Rockford had scored first and the Cougars battled back to tie the game. Rockford’s defense, led by Lexi O’Connor, smothered the ball and prevented the Cougars from getting their offense untracked. O’Connor and her defensive teammates Alyssa Neumen, Roxy Rosema, Kelly McCabe and Taylor Balch seemed to be everywhere, drawing charges, picking up loose balls, and creating turnovers. The Rams, behind the potent one-two punch of Andi Raymond and Meagan Emery, took a 5-3 lead late in the half. Abbey Neerken also added a goal for the Rams. The Cougars showed heart and were able to tie the game at 5-5 with six minutes left. At 4:08 on the clock, Rockford suffered a penalty by trying to stop a breakaway, resulting in the Rams playing shorthanded for the next three minutes. Rockford coaches Jeff Neerken and Mike Emery paced the sideline nervously, but the speed of the Rams’ transition game and the scoring of Raymond and Emery took over, as they each tallied a shorthanded goal to put the Rams out front for good, 7-5. The Rams held the ball the final minute and burned up the clock. Gabby Twiest was excellent in goal for Rockford with 11 saves, excelling in one-on-one situations. Coach Neerken stated, “I have never been more proud of these kids. Every one of them kept their composure and played as team, even as the Cougars clawed their way back twice. The two teams really bring out the best in each other; we always know it will be a battle. Our defense was incredible tonight. It is an honor to be the co-champion with CC, and to share the first-ever conference title.” Raymond and Emery have combined for 153 goals for the Rams […]

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