By John Raffel The 11U division had a unique run in the Meijer State games over the weekend at Art Van Sports Complex. Sterling Heights National appeared to be in an excellent position to win the tournament after a 2-0 start. The team posted 15-0 win over West Michigan Outlaws and 4-2 win over another opponent later in the tournament. “We had good defense,” a team spokesperson said, adding that on the hitting, “it’s been a collection of players. Everyone has been coming through.” Matt Bellcrest was leading the team in hitting. The Nationals were making their first trip to Art Van. “It’s a great complex,” the spokesperson said. It was a closer game on Sunday but the Sterling Heights Nationals came back with a 6-5 edging over the West Michigan Outlaws. The Sterling Heights Nationals lost later on Sunday 11-10 to sustain their first loss at the tournament. A Sterling Heights Nationals 12U team won on Sunday against the Canton Cardinals 3-0. The tournament also featured a Detroit Metro Stars Red teams in the 10U division, which enjoyed an 11-3 win over Northeastern.
Meijer State Games
by CINDY M. CRANMER Rockford water polo was well represented with its number of teams and their finishes at the Meijer State Games recently. More than 5,000 West Michigan athletes competed in events including archery, 3-D archery, basketball, BMX biking, bowling, boxing, cricket, cycling, disc golf, fencing, figure skating, golf, a fun run, hockey, judo, karate, lacrosse, mountain biking, pickleball, racquetball, rowing, rugby, skateboarding, various gun-shooting sports, softball, swimming, tae kwon do, track and field, volleyball, wakeboard, water polo and wrestling. The water polo event included three Rockford area teams in its first year at the games. The first Meijer State Games took place in 2010. Thousands of spectators now come out to watch the Parade of Athletes, the opening ceremonies and live entertainment and sports. The games opened on Friday, June 22 with Olympic-style competitions held at venues throughout West Michigan including Rockford, Sparta, East Grand Rapids and the entire greater Grand Rapids area. The Meijer State Games are modeled after the Olympics and have the philosophy of encouraging participation, good sportsmanship and healthy living. Coach Dave McWatters tries to stress these values, among other things, to Rockford’s water polo teams. McWatters said some area high schools sent players to Rockford’s team to be part of a unifying experience and to play. “It’s really a combination of many other sports played in the water,” McWatters said of water polo. He said the sport has elements of soccer, lacrosse, basketball, hockey and swimming. Each team has a goalie and six field players, who all swim throughout the game played in a deep pool, and try to score on the other goal. Players can only use one hand to field the ball or pass other than the goalie. McWatters said it’s an honor that water polo was chosen as one of the 30-plus sports now being played at the Meijer State Games. East Grand Rapids was the location for water polo games. Rockford put together two teams of current students, who were primarily from Rockford, and a team of students who graduated this year. The teams finished in second, third and sixth places out of about eight or “We tried to get as many kids involved as possible including kids from other schools,” McWatters said. Helping […]
Archers, crew, rugby represent district by BETH ALTENA Students from Rockford were well represented at this year’s Meijer State Games and during opening ceremonies at Fifth Third Ballpark, a blaze of Ram orange filled the stands. Archers from the Rockford Sportsman’s Club led the parade of athletes Friday, June 24 and teams from Rockford included rowing and rugby athletes. Olympic archer Glenn Meyers shot a blazing arrow across the ball field to ignite the cauldron after the special tip of his arrow was set alight from the torch. The second annual Olympic-style games for the first time included archery competition, which took place Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Rockford High School. Begun last year in Michigan as a way to stimulate economic growth, this year’s event is estimated to have brought more than a million dollars in spending. According to Hank Meijer, CEO for the company that is the major sponsor for the state games, Michigan’s is the fastest-growing state games in the nation, with 24 different games and venues across the state. The West Michigan Sports Commission (WMSC) is responsible for the annual event, which had over 5,000 athletes of all ages competing in events from wrestling to pickleball. Competition is completed by 2 p.m. at each venue so visitors have the opportunity to visit the town or city which is the host. In addition to Rockford High School, Cannonsburg Ski Area and The Score Restaurant & Sports Bar held events—mountain biking and sand volleyball, respectively. “This is an opportunity for athletes, young and not so young, to set goals,” said Meijer. “I wish all athletes a great weekend of accomplishment, competition and fun.” Wayman Britt, WMSC vice chair, introduced a cast of speakers including Michigan’s Luietenant Governor Brian Calley and Michigan State University basketball coach Tom Izzo and football coach Mark Dantonio. “The state games are a signature event of the West Michigan Sports Commission,” Britt said. He said the games encourage economic development and quality of life. The archery tournaments were organized by Rockford’s Jeff DeRegnaucourt and will be held in Rockford each year. DeRegnaucourt said all visitors, both athletes and fans, were provided a packet of coupons and information from Rockford merchants. The home of the state’s only Junior Olympic Archery […]