by RANDY GREGORY The weather wasn’t the only thing that was oppressively hot on Saturday, May 19, at Houseman Field in Grand Rapids. The girls track team from Rockford scored in every single one of the 17 events contested en route to amassing 170 points and claiming the title in the Division I regional meet. To emphasize the breadth of Rockford’s point discrepancy over the rest of the field, Grand Haven was the second-place finisher with 72 points. “We qualified all four of our relay teams and had multiple place winners in seven individual events today,” said Rockford Coach Randy VanderVeen. “That is the kind of depth we talk about all of the time. The girls really stepped it up today in some very difficult conditions, especially for the distance runners. That is how you create dominating efforts like today, where we took first in nine different events. Success breeds success, and this year’s team took the pressure of our previous year’s efforts and rose to the occasion.” Katie DeHaan led the way for Rockford as she qualified for the state meet in four different events. DeHaan took the top spot in the 400-meter dash with a time of 59.14 seconds. She was also part of the first-place quartets in the 4×200 (1:42.66) and 4×400 (4:01.04) relays as well as qualifying in the pole vault. The other members of the 4×200 relay team were Elise Schierbeek, Courtney Klaweiter and Sammy Cuneo. The remaining triumvirate of the 4×400 team consisted of Allison Kelley, Olivia Gilbert and Klaweiter. Taylor Manett and Rachel Raab were also key components for the Rams’ charge to victory. Manett captured the 1,600 (4:58.98) and 3,200 (11:07.32) as well as being a quarter of the Rams’ first-place showing in the 4×800-meter relay team, which took first in 9:19.10. Morgan Harney, Jane Hawks and Kerianne Schoff were the other three members of the 4×800 squad. Raab recovered from a disappointing showing at the conference meet to capture first in both the shot put (38′ 2.50″) and discus (119′). Cuneo rounded out the winners for Rockford with her title in the 200-meter dash with a time of 26.12 seconds. While pleased with the efforts of his charges on the day, VanderVeen had a few disparaging […]
May 24 2012
by MARY CLINTHORNE For the second consecutive year, Rockford rowers earned three coveted championship trophies in the Michigan Scholastic Rowing Championship at Riverside Park in Grand Rapids on Saturday, May 19. The final points told the story as the Rockford men commanded first place with 33 points over second-place Grosse Ile’s nine points; the Rockford women earned first place with 30 points, besting second-place Forest Hills Eastern’s six points; and, in the overall category, Rockford’s combined team point total of 63 points beat out Grosse Ile’s second-place (12-point) finish. The morning’s preliminary races resulted in every Rockford boat qualifying for the afternoon finals, where they really poured on the heat to capture nine first-place victories, one second-place win, and one third-place win. Rockford Superintendent Dr. Michael Shibler enjoyed viewing every one of those victories at the finish line, commenting, “Crew, as a sport, is outstanding; all the student athletes have an opportunity to participate and to learn the importance of team building.” And what a team it is! First-place finishes were earned by the men’s varsity 8+ (K. Clinthorne, T. VanFossen, M. Hendershott, Bryce VanderBerg, A. Carley, C. Fase, I. Blenman, D. Itter, and coxswain L. Conner); men’s lightweight 8+ (Clinthorne, VanFossen, M. Powers, J. Nemeth, Blenman, Itter, T. Maple, S. Ginebaugh, and coxswain R. Featherston); men’s varsity 4+ (VanderBerg, Carley, Fase, Hendershott, and coxswain Conner); and men’s junior 8+ (Maple, A. Houn, J. Ullrey, E. Sawicki, J. Tarrants, R. Dickinson, K. Loux, M. Soloman, and coxswain J. Villarreal). Varsity men’s Coach Tim Vallier reflected, “These guys have worked extremely hard to attain the outcomes we have achieved this year, and they have continued to amaze me. As a coach, their will and heart to push further with every practice and regatta is always something to be proud of.” The women rowers showed their strength by earning first place in women’s varsity 8+ (K. Fraser, K. Bilardello, A. Andrews, A. Fedeson, K. Korson, A. Galloway, S. VanFossen, J. Levin, and coxswain R. DeKorne); women’s lightweight 8+ (E. Prus, T. Powers, S. Sawicki, M. Fix, M. Marvin, T. Todd, H. Twardy, S. Wasson, and coxswain Bri VanderBerg); women’s varsity 4+ (Bilardello, Korson, Fraser, Galloway, and coxswain DeKorne); women’s junior 8+ (Levin, A. Dew, E. Emerick, L. […]
Community invited to enjoy the gardening by BETH ALTENA Got grass? Then you have the makings of a beautiful garden. Area residents are invited to watch—or help—as North Kent Presbyterian Church’s grassy acreage is turned to a new task in the form of gardens that will be a U-pick pumpkin patch by fall. The “Come Grow with Us” campaign kicked off with a ceremony attended by church members, local Scouts, and Master Gardener John Venman, who is assisting in the garden project. Using Venman’s calendar, “Gardening with the Moon,” the church hopes to engage the public as the garden flourishes, providing giant pumpkins, pie pumpkins, gourds, leaf lettuce, tomatoes, beans, squash, flowers and other vegetables this summer. Seed starting day began on May 20 with 350 pumpkin seeds, which will eventually become the U-pick portion of the garden. Fred Adgate, of Independent Bank, who is a member of the church, said the project is an outreach that will help the church be more interactive in the community. Key dates for the church’s garden project include Planting Day on June 16. All summer long, members of the church will tend the garden as it grows in its large property at 6175 Kuttshill Drive. The public is invited to see the garden growing and purchase produce and flowers beginning September 29 through October 27. On October 13 the church has secured a booth at Rockford’s popular farm market in downtown Rockford. Anyone interested in participating in the garden is invited to contact the church by phone at (616) 866-2230 or e-mail at NKPChurch@gmail.com. Sunday worship service from June to August is at 10 a.m.; from September to May, service is at 10:45 a.m. “A small church with a big heart,” North Kent Presbyterian Church is a family of believers that supports faith in Jesus Christ through education, challenge, inspiration and outreach.
by RANDY GREGORY The Rockford baseball team gathered more steam as they chugged inexorably along toward their third OK Red title in the last four years. It was anything but easy in the two league contests however, as first the Rams topped Jenison 11-10 at home on Tuesday, May 15, and followed that up with a 6-3 triumph over the Wildcats at Jenison on Thursday, May 17. Things were a touch easier on Saturday, May 19, at the Rockford Varsity Invitational. Rockford opened up play by routing Portland 15-5 to advance to the championship game against Hamilton. It was tight early, but Rockford exploded for seven runs in the fifth and sixth innings combined to crush the Hawkeyes 10-0 for their second consecutive mercy-rule victory, and took home the title. The Rams now stand at 23-4 overall and 11-1 in OK Red play. Hudsonville is only one game behind at 10-2, and both teams have only two games left in conference play. Any combination of two Rockford wins or Hudsonville losses gives Rockford the crown solely. The Rams will play a home-and-home series with a solid Grandville squad, while Hudsonville has the same agenda against a very good team from West Ottawa. “It was a struggle against Jenison,” said Rockford Coach Ian Hearn. “They are a very talented and well-coached team. But we won both games and that is the important thing. Grandville is also an excellent team and would love nothing better than to knock us off. It isn’t going to be easy, but we got ourselves into position to win the OK Red and now we have to go out and perform just as we have been all year long.” Rockford appeared to be on their way to an easy win in Tuesday’s game against Jenison when they jumped out to an early 8-2 lead. But timely Jenison hits and some uncustomary sloppy defense from the Rams let the Wildcats right back into the game. Brent Showers started and was relieved by Kory Young, who got the win. But that wasn’t until Shain Showers (hold) and Ian Stankus (save) had to come on and shut the door for the thrilling 11-10 win. The Rams pounded the ball offensively, led by three hits from […]
While a lot of college students are home enjoying the start of summer and starting their summer jobs, Hope College junior and 2009 Rockford graduate Joel Rietsema is focusing on getting ready for the NCAA Division III National Track Meet. The meet takes place in Claremont, Calif. on May 24-26. The former Rockford High School standout is currently ranked fourth in the 800-meter run with a time of 1:50.38. According to his coaches, this ranks him as one as one of the top 800-meter runners in the state of Michigan. Rietsema has been staying in Holland to do further training with his coaches Kevin Cole and Sue Addison. Rietsema battled several injuries last year with his hip, knee and shins. This year he is listening to his body and working closely with Coach Addison. “Last year was not the season I wanted. I did not listen to my body and it broke down,” Rietsema said. “My goal this year was to qualify for nationals. Now that I have done that, I want to win it. But to do that, I need a 1:48.” Rietsema’s coaches see the potential in him and believe he can do it. Earlier this season, Rietsema broke the Hope College 800-meter record, which was set in 2001. He also broke the MIAA Conference record, which had been held by a Calvin College runner since 1991.