Led by senior co-captain Drake Veitenheimer’s All State performance, the Rams’ boys team moved up two from last year’s seventh-place finish in fifth place out of the 33 teams running at the state level. On Saturday, Nov. 7, a blustery fall afternoon—at Michigan International Speedway (MIS), in Brooklyn—that saw the temperature reach nearly 70 degrees with strong winds blowing in the 30 mph range, the 280 participants representing the best runners in Michigan nearly sprinted through the first 800 meters of the state championship race. Starting on the infield of the MIS track, and heading out a makeshift cinder path to the fields and woods, the experienced Ram runners demonstrated a well-coached and well-learned strategy of running in a tight pack. The Rams ran through the first mile at a pace that suited them well. Senior Grant Gunneson was leading the Rockford contingent. Following Gunneson through the first mile was senior Nick Shear, Veitenheimer and juniors Spencer Gerber and Stephen Ek. All of the Rockford runners were under 5:15 for the first mile. Coming up on the second mile, the pack was still very tight, and the order remained the same, as all of the Rockford runners looked focused and strong. Rockford’s top five runners were around 10:25 for the first two miles and in great positions to finish strong and score valuable team points. Positioning themselves by running to various strategic places on the course, Head Coach Andy Martin and Assistant Coach Josh Miller shouted instructions and encouragement over the roar of the thousands of fans. Imploring all of their runners to make bold moves, Veitenheimer heeded his coaches’ advice and made his move just after the two-mile mark. As he passed his teammates, they tried to keep pace, but this was going to be Veitenheimer’s day to shine. At the two-mile mark, Veitenheimer was in 62nd place, meaning he had to pass at least 32 runners to win an individual medal. Battling both a formidable field and a strong headwind as he re-entered the MIS track, Veitenheimer was able to pass 35 runners by implementing his well-known kick. Veitenheimer ended up in 27th place overall as he made All State for the first time. One of Veitenheimer’s teammates asked him if he […]
November 18 2009
The Rockford High School marching band took third place in the Michigan Competing Band Association’s (MCBA) Flight I state championship at Detroit’s Ford Field on Saturday, Nov. 7. The band’s exceptional performance of “The Four Freedoms,” a musical composition based on Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 1941 famous speech, received a score of 84.9, Rockford’s highest score and ranking ever at the MCBA championship. “It’s been an incredible season right from the start! The staff knew we had a great show. It was simply up to what the kids were going to do with it. They’ve worked so hard to get here. They should be proud!” said Brian Phillips, Rockford marching band director. Four flights of competition comprise MCBA’s championship contest with 10 high school bands from across the state competing in each flight. The judging system for the event places an emphasis on music as the most important aspect of the performance, with marching as the presentation and visual enhancement. The scoring system places 60 percent of value on music, and 40 percent on visual performance. At the same time, 60 percent of the score is within the area of general effect and 40 percent within the performance area, though it all boils down to precision of the material performed. Rockford’s marching season came to a close with a banquet on Monday, Nov. 9. Several students received varsity letters, awards and recognition, and Phillips thanked the many parents and staff who helped make the season a success. Dr. Michael Shibler, superintendent of Rockford Public Schools, also made an appearance and praised the band members. “I could not miss this opportunity to say congratulations,” said Shibler. “You do not know how proud we are of what you’ve accomplished. The bar has been set high.” The band now moves into concert season with the wind ensemble’s brass section performing at the annual lighting ceremony in downtown Rockford’s Peppler Park on Wednesday, Nov. 18 at 5:45 p.m., and at the Cannonsburg Christmas celebration on Monday, Nov. 30 at 6:00 p.m. For more information, visit www.rockfordbands.org.
Rockford finished a storybook season with a thrilling 11-10 victory over East Kentwood to capture the 2009 Michigan Water Polo Association (MWPA) boys state championship. The Rams (30-12) won their sixth state championship in seven years with an exceptional display of teamwork. From the beginning of the season to the last goal of the title game, the 2009 Rams were an unselfish unit, each player doing whatever was needed to help the team win. The team’s five captains, seniors Derik Bothma, Tyler Manikowski, Kyle Peterson and Connor Thelen, and junior Pat Fase were overjoyed after the game. They spoke with one voice about the team’s success: “This weekend was about teamwork and about heart. We came determined to give everything we had. And every time we needed something to happen, a different teammate stepped up.” Teams and fans from around the state gathered at Birmingham’s Seaholm High School as the tournament opened Friday afternoon, Nov. 13. Rockford faced preseason MWPA favorite Birmingham Groves in a defensive struggle punctuated with timely scoring. The Rams held on for a 6-4 victory. Rugged team defense and junior Jeff Schmitt’s game-high four goals moved Rockford on to the semifinals. The Rams’ semifinal opponent was last year’s state champ, Ann Arbor Huron. Huron’s high-powered offense found a way to score against Rockford’s defense. But the Rams showed some firepower of their own, finishing with a 13-9 victory, led by five goals from Bothma and four from sophomore Eric Chisholm. Fase’s 21 saves in the goal sealed the victory. The final game Saturday evening, Nov. 14, pitted Rockford against rival East Kentwood. For the third game in a row, Schmitt and sophomore Bryan Wasberg jumpstarted the offense, giving the Rams the early lead. But the high-scoring Falcons fought back. They tied the score in the third period and took a two-goal lead in the fourth period. That’s when the Rams showed the character of champions. They tightened up their defense while Schmitt scored three quick goals at the other end to give Rockford the lead. Kentwood answered again, knotting the score at 10-10. With less than a minute remaining in the game, Rockford’s top scorer Bothma rose up high out of the water with ball in hand. Everyone in the natatorium […]
by TONY ANDERSON The Rockford Rams hosted the Holt Rams on Saturday, Nov. 14, for the regional football championship. The game was a rematch of week two, which was dominated by Rockford. Playing a team two times in one season and getting a victory is an extremely hard thing to do, and Rockford was asked to do it three times in three weeks. Holt won the coin toss and deferred to the second half. Rockford took the opening kick to the 39-yard line. The Rams of Rockford found themselves unable to get a first down and had to punt. Holt took possession on the 29-yard line and picked two first downs before finding themselves in a fourth-down-and-long. The punt team came in from the sidelines, but they faked the punt and picked up the first down. Shortly after, Holt scored a touchdown, but the point after was no good. Rockford started their next possession on the 38-yard line. Then the Rockford quarterback was intercepted on the third play. Holt started at midfield and scored on the first play—a 50-yard pass play. Holt was flagged with an off-sides on the kickoff. The next kick ended up in the end zone after the 5-yard penalty. Rockford returned the kick to the 36-yard line. They seemed to find a rhythm and picked up a couple first downs before finding themselves in a third-and-six. Holt seemed to have them stopped, but used the face mask to make the tackle, which was surprisingly only a 5-yard penalty. This left Rockford in third-and-one. Rockford picked up the first down. Trying to continue the drive, Rockford quarterback Taylor Masiewicz was sacked for a 6-yard loss. Following the sack, Masiewicz’s throw was intercepted, and Holt returned it to the Rockford 49-yard line. Holt picked up two first downs—one helped by a questionable pass interference penalty. The first quarter came to an end with the score at Rockford 0, Holt 13. The second quarter opened with Holt in a third-and-15 on the 23-yard line. But the second quarter was the Rockford defense’s quarter, forcing Holt into a 34-yard field attempt, which was no good. Rockford took over on the 20-yard line. Rockford’s offense was forced to punt after three plays, and Holt took over […]
Wednesday, Nov. 18 Downtown Rockford Holiday Lighting Ceremony—Enjoy carolers and a band at 5:45 p.m. at Peppler Park (near the dam) prior to the lighting at 6:00 p.m., presented by Rockford Chamber of Commerce and City of Rockford. Messages of peace from Mayor Chi Chi Rogers and Mayor Pro-Tem Steve Jazwiec will be presented, and the traditional lighting countdown will be by Gene Parker of 100.5 The River. Downtown Rockford merchants present their holiday open houses all day and through Thursday, Nov. 19. Dickens Carolers—6:30 to 8:30 p.m., strolling throughout downtown Rockford, sponsored by Rockford Chamber of Commerce. Friday, November 20 Family Movie Night—6 p.m. at Grattan Academy Elementary School. Enjoy the movie “Monsters vs. Aliens” in 3-D! Free admission. Concessions will be available. All proceeds will help purchase school supplies. Saturday, Nov. 21 Holiday Bazaar—9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Courtland Oakfield United Methodist Church, 10295 Myers Lake Ave., Rockford (between 12 Mile and 13 Mile roads). Enjoy many crafters, Grandma’s Attic, a bake sale, silent auction, cookies by the pound, and lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, call Dawna Ames at (616) 866-0648 for more information. Cathy Schmitt Benefit Fund “Event”—4 to 11 p.m. at Knights of Columbus Hall, 1140 Muskegon NW, Grand Rapids. Enjoy fun, food, music, games, raffles, and silent and live auctions! Free pictures with Santa and games for kids from 4 to 6 p.m. For more information, call Susan Dunning at (616) 669-6359. Tuesday, Nov. 24 Country Music—9:30 to 11:30 a.m. every Tuesday at Rockford Ambulance Community Center, corner of 10 Mile Road and Shaner Avenue in Rockford. Music by the Rogue River Band. Enjoy free coffee, tea and snacks. “The Dirt on Dirt” Lecture—6 to 8 p.m. at Kent Conservation District office, 3260 Eagle Park Dr., Grand Rapids. Understanding your soils is the first step for gardeners and landowners of all types. Pre-registration required; space is limited. A suggested donation of $5 per person is requested. To register, call (616) 942-4111 ext. 100. Wednesday, Nov. 25 Community Thanksgiving Eve Worship—7 p.m. at North Kent Bible Church, 7210 Courtland Dr., Rockford. All are invited to attend this ecumenical worship service organized by the Rockford Area Ministerial Association. Join brothers and sisters in Christ, of many congregations and traditions. […]