By Todd Van Eck The 2015 Rockford Lady Rams Varsity Tennis Team put an exclamation point on their history-making season by receiving an official “Proclamation” from the Kent County Commissioners during the Cannon Township meeting on June 22, 2015. County Commissioner Diane Jones presented the award to Head Coach Tom Huizing and the team during the meeting. As best described by tennis parent Pete Elford, it was a ‘truly a great end to a truly great year’. The story of the 2015 Lady Rams Varstiy Tennis team starts with high hopes by Head Coach Thomas Huizing and Assistant Coach Aaron Linsley. Coach Huizing had been the varsity girls tennis coach for twelve years. He had seen great ladies throughout his tenure as coach, but this year seemed special. Assistant Coach Aaron Linsley had been with the team for three years and recognized that this team was special. Both had watched the team during the previous year and were very excited about this year. The feeling was justified during the first day of tryouts. The girls had worked hard during the off-season and looked strong. But, it was early, so both coaches were setting high goals with a reservation knowing how tough the Division 1 – OK Red Girl’s Tennis can get. The Lady Rams had previously won the Conference Championship (2009) and the Regional Championship (2012). They knew how difficult a season could be. Yet, the spark in their eyes would not dim, both could see promise that they had not seen previously. The season started with the Rockford Invitational. Rockford has hosted the Rockford Invitational for a number of years inviting the same teams each year. It is a good season opener with good competition. Although anticipated, the Lady Rams did not lose one match to win the Invitational in every flight. The season continued with great wins over very talented teams. They routinely celebrated success with wins, but there was more. The team was winning the close matches, the tie-breakers. The matches that could be won by either competitor were being won by the Lady Rams. It became a mathematical probability that the Lady Rams would step-up to the challenge of a close match and difficult team. There was something special about this […]
He was awarded the Super Achiever award on January 6, 2015. Roman earned this special achievement by fulfilling all the requirements needed for all 20 Webelos badges. Roman will also receive the prestigious Arrow Of Light award in February, and then transition into Boy Scout Troop 228. A job well done!
Cailie Johnson Schultz (Rockford High School 2011) finished off her collegiate volleyball career with yet another noteworthy season at Cornerstone University in 2014. Johnson Schultz was feted as an Honorable Mention All-American in 2014 as well as an All Wolverine Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC) First Team selection (third consecutive selection) while also being named to the WHAC All Academic Team . In addition she was named to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) All Region First Team and honored as an NAIA Scholar Athlete. “Cailie has been a dominant force since she joined the Cornerstone volleyball team in 2012,” said Cornerstone Volleyball Coach Ryan Campbell. “Cailie has set a new standard for what it means to be a student athlete. She has excelled on the court as well as in the classroom and as a team captain. In my opinion Cailie will go down as the finest offensive middle hitter in Cornerstone history. I am very proud of the passion she brought to the team and I am very confident she will excel in life.” Johnson Schultz also recorded multiple other game, match, season and career marks for the Golden Eagles. A partial list includes a .824 WHAC record highest hitting percentage in a game, a .321 career hitting percentage and the 10th highest number of kills in school history (1075) despite playing only three years after transferring in from Grand Valley State University after her freshman campaign. Johnson Schultz was joined on the volleyball court at Cornerstone by a pair of former Ram standouts. 2012 grad Murphy Heyer, who was selected as the 2014 Most Improved Player by her coaches and 2014 graduate Abby Carlson who was chosen as Best Attitude and Best Hustle Award winner for her inaugural efforts on the collegiate volleyball court.
Bruce Turner was about as behind the scenes as it was possible to be when it came to his contributions to the athletic programs at Rockford High School. He was rarely seen or heard but his efforts kept the Rams on the cutting edge of video work over the past 25 years. That incredibly valuable aspect of a successful team was finally silenced on Friday, January 9th when Mr. Turner passed away unexpectedly at the age of 68. “Bruce was involved in our football program in just about every aspect it was possible to be involved,” said Rockford Football Coach Ralph Munger. “He taped preseason conditioning, our trips to Roscommon, 7 on 7s, team camps, youth camps and every game and practice as well as anything else he felt was necessitated . He was very creative and was far ahead of the times when it came to his use of that valuable tool for the team’s success. He also did wrestling and basketball at various times for Rockford. All of his efforts will be impossible to replace as a whole and he will be dearly missed.” Turner was also described as a “patriot” by Munger, who noted that whenever the National Anthem was played “Bruce was always the first to come to attention and maintain a professional countenance for the song’s duration.” Turner was a member of the 101st Airborne Division and served his country proudly in the Vietnam War. Although he was not an employee of Rockford Public Schools, it would be difficult to imagine anyone not employed by the schhol district who so selflessly devoted his time for the betterment of any team. Turner and Munger collaborated together in the television studio at RHS to put together highlights and very motivational tapes for the team and coaches. For every one minute of tape that was used Munger estimated that a full hour of production work was necessitated to procure that valuable minute. “None of this ever would have happened if I hadn’t knocked on his door just after I was hired 23 years ago,” said Munger. “I had gotten word that he had done some work for Harvey DeGood so I decided to knock on his door. He answered and the rest was […]
by MELISSA UTTER Our Ram basketball players are ferocious on the court. Don’t tell the opposing teams this secret, though: those Ram players are softies with hearts of pure gold. Special Treasures is a group of parents and caregivers of children who have physical, cognitive, social and medical differences. This group meets once per month to support, educate, encourage and share resources with other parents who have children with “diff-abilities.” Special Treasures’ children received the gift of time from both the girls and the boys basketball teams over Christmas break. Tom Carlson, who guides Rockford Athletes with a Mission of Service (RAMS), along with Amy Kelley, one of the founders of the Special Treasures group, coordinated a two-day basketball clinic. The clinic was free to the participants, as all of the athletes and coaches generously gave of their time to enrich the lives of these children. The first day involved the girls basketball team, and the second afternoon was reserved for the boys team to serve this special population. Varsity players were poised and patient with the Special Treasures children. The atmosphere was charged with enthusiasm. It was obvious that the children were star struck with the wonderful abilities of the players. A three-point shootout, two-handed dribbling demonstration and slam dunk exhibition had the children cheering. The Special Treasures children were able to participate in a skills clinic that allowed them to play at individual levels that best fit their development. Rockford players then signed t-shirts and autograph pages for the Special Treasures kids. The basketball teams’ fan base grew quite a bit those two afternoons. Parents were so grateful for the opportunity for their children to participate in a sports clinic where competition was not stressed, but camaraderie was king. There are few athletic opportunities for children with special needs. The Special Treasures group is working to change that. Partnerships in the past to provide athletic opportunities included archery at the Rockford Sportsman’s Club and Wolverine baseball and now the recent partnership with RAMS and Rockford athletics. Generous donations of time and talents make these opportunities possible for children who are not able to typically participate in regular athletics. The group has expressed an interest in exposing the Special Treasures children to a variety […]