October 21 2010

Last Saturday night was Rockford’s Homecoming and these local Freshman girls (all

October 21, 2010 // 0 Comments

You’d think baseball would come easy to Austin Stephens, whose dad, Mark, played for the Detroit Tigers, Florida Marlins, Montreal Expos and the Montreal Brewers. The lanky lefty is six-foot, four-inches and weighs in at 185 pounds. Growing up with a dad as his pitching coach, Stephens was nevertheless frustrated as a freshman and then sophomore on the Rockford junior varsity baseball team because he hardly ever was called in to play. A year later, he is a starter on the varsity team, and has increased his pitch from 75 miles per hour to 80. He increased his vertical by one foot, shaved a half-second off his 60 time, and can bench press 35 pounds more than he used to be able to. He has his eye on professional baseball with hopes to go as far as his dad and farther, and is willing and able to help other athletes discover the training workouts that he credits with his improvement. “Eighty percent of pitching is core strength,” Stephens stated. He said it is a common misconception that throwing hard is about arm strength. The core—bottom of the ribs to the top of the kneecaps—training that has improved his performance in pitching can improve virtually any athletic performance, whether it is in crew, football, or any other sport, Stephens stated. Stephens said he talked with his dad on what he could do to get more time playing, and the two of them discovered a core-training program, which other professional ball players believe in. He ordered his own copy of the program and began working it diligently. He was so impressed with his improvements, he decided to hone the regimen into one-hour workouts and offer it to other athletes. The result is Sports Power Training, Stephens’ own business. Stephens teaches his core-training workouts three days a week in the facility opened by family friend Bob Simonson, who used to play on the same professional baseball team as Stephens’ dad. Stephens began offering the workout—which he said is also a full-body workout—three times a week, although athletes can come just one or two days and still benefit. The classes are held at the location of Power Baseball, 8181 Graphic Drive (off Ten Mile Road), Rockford. The cost varies depending […]

Bike theft solved with social media crime-fighting efforts

October 21, 2010 // 0 Comments

Habitual offender faces 10 years  Rockford Police Chief Dave Jones is happy with his officers’ efforts to use all technology available to them in catching alleged perpetrators of crime. Eighteen-year-old Nicholas Alexander French is probably not. Jones said the theft of a $1,400 bike occurred in the early hours of October 7. A resident reported the disappearance of the bike from the garage of her home on Gibraltar Street, Rockford. “The next day it showed up on CraigsList,” Jones reported. A co-worker of the person with the stolen bike found it and let the police know it was there. Jones said his officers, using tech-savvy techniques, were able to trace the e-mail address from the online ad and use social media sites to identify the person who placed the ad. By the following day, the bike had already been sold to an individual in Okemos. “It was a guy who had purchased the bike for his daughter, who was going off to college,” Jones said. “Reluctantly, but voluntarily, he returned the bicycle.” The money paid has not yet been recovered, Jones said, making the buyer a second victim in the crime. Jones said officers went to the home of French, who confessed to the stealing the bicycle. French, who has since been arrested and arraigned, faces five years on a felony home invasion III count. He also is charged as a habitual offender, which doubles the potential sentence to 10 years. French had previously been charged with larceny in a building and attempted malicious destruction of property over $1,000. These counts are all since he turned 17 and could be charged as an adult. “This goes to the credit of the Rockford Police. If the officers hadn’t acted on this as quickly as they did, the bike would have been long gone,” Jones stated. Online sites, such as CraigsList, are being carefully watched by police, including the Rockford department. “People consider them a more anonymous way of disposing of stolen property than pawn shops.” Jones said this is the third case this year where they have caught someone selling stolen property via an online venue. Jones noted that the resident whose bike was stolen had not taken advantage of a free bike registry program that is offered […]

Rockford routs Grandville in homecoming game

October 21, 2010 // 0 Comments

by TIM COOPER  After being on the road for four weeks, the Rockford Rams appropriately returned to the Ted on Friday night, Oct. 15, for their annual homecoming game. This year, along with the fans and alumni, the Rams also welcomed the Bulldogs of Grandville to the tradition, renewing the storied rivalry between the two teams. Throughout the history of the rivalry between Rockford and Grandville, there have been many surprises. No one would have expected the Bulldogs to upset the number-one-ranked Rams early in the 2004 season, or the teams meeting later that year in the playoffs in an overtime thriller that helped launch Rockford to its first state title. Equally as shocking was the Rams’ 48-0 playoff victory over the Bulldogs in 2005 after losing 10-7 in the regular season, marking Grandville’s most recent defeat of the Rams. This year, the surprise stemmed from the stellar play of Rockford’s defense, who held the Bulldogs to just 79 yards of total offense, despite Grandville maintaining control of the ball for 24:59. Though Rockford’s offense had the ball for less than 20 minutes, they managed to tally 379 yards and score 56 points in a dominant shutout. Six different Rams found their way to the end zone, led by Zach Schmuck’s three-touchdown performance. Mark LaPrairie completed 8 of 10 passes, and threw for two touchdowns, including a spectacular pass thrown to standout receiver Neil VanderLaan, who made one of the most impressive catches he’s had so far this season. In addition to Schmuck and VanderLaan, four other Rams scored touchdowns: Brandon Lubenow, Trevor Alferink, Nate Sanders and Spencer Sims all contributed by putting points on the board. Kicker Steve Mette chipped in by hitting all eight of his extra-point attempts en route to the 56-0 blowout of the Bulldogs. Coach Munger commented, “Tonight, we executed. The challenging thing in a game like this is to maintain focus. You have to play at the level of your ability. In these games, you take the scoreboard out of the equation. The guys are gaining ground, and starting to understand the concepts of our offense.” The regular season finale will be played this Friday, Oct. 22, when the Rams travel to Hudsonville to face the Eagles. The Rams […]

Rams Practice Players of the Week

October 21, 2010 // 0 Comments

Defensive lineback Nick Dillard (left) and receiver Landon Dubes (right) both are named Rockford football Practice Players of the Week for outstanding effort in preparation for Muskegon.

Rams claim 18th straight conference water polo title

October 21, 2010 // 0 Comments

Rockford defeated Grand Haven last Monday, Oct. 11, in an OK conference boys water polo match. The Rams are now a perfect 7-0 in the conference with one only more game to play. And, because undefeated Jenison was upset by Grandville last week, the Rams are guaranteed at least a share of the conference title. Rockford (31-6 overall) has now won or shared the title for an amazing 18 years in a row! To put that in perspective, the last time someone other than the Rams won the OK conference was 1992, the year a little-known Arkansas Governor named Bill Clinton was running for president against George H.W. Bush. Dave McWatters, now in his 13th year as head coach of the Rams, has built an impressive program that consistently produces strong teams. “We strive to be in the thick of things every year,” said McWatters. “Other teams seem to rise and fall based on a good class or two moving through. But we’ve tried to build a foundation that allows us to be competitive year in and year out.” The Grand Haven game illustrated McWatters’ point. The Buccaneers were regional champions last year, but have struggled to perform at the same level this year, having lost their top players to graduation. The Bucs came to town Monday night and were able to keep the game close in the first period, but the Rams’ depth and strength was simply too much for them. Rockford rolled to a 15-4 victory. The Rams’ balance was on display—seven different players scored goals, nine contributed assists, and 15 Rams combined for 32 steals. Junior Nathan Napolillo led the way with a tremendous all-around effort: five goals, two assists, and five steals. Rockford now hosts Jenison (6-1 in the conference) in the final regular season game of the year on Tuesday, Oct. 19. A Jenison win would give the Wildcats a share of the conference title. But a Rockford win would make the Rams the outright champs. “Jenison beat us in a tournament early in the year,” recalled junior Alex Savage. “Ever since then, we’ve been looking forward to facing them in our pool in this final game of the season.” According to McWatters, “Everything in recent weeks has been building […]

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