Randy Gregory

Girls track powers off the starting line

April 19, 2012 // 0 Comments

by RANDY GREGORY The traditionally strong girls track team at Rockford got things off to a rousing start with a dominant week. The Rams kicked off the season with an overwhelming 119-18 win over West Ottawa in the OK Red opener on Thursday, April 12 at home. The Rams followed that up by cruising to the title at the first Rockford Invitational track meet on Saturday, April 14. The Rams scored 542 points to the 484 points put up by Forest Hills Eastern. If that wasn’t enough, the Rams also sent an entire other team to the Comstock Park Invitational on Saturday that managed a fourth-place showing as well. “We still have some holes as a team, but I think it was a pretty good showing for the first week,” said Rockford Coach Randy VanderVeen. “Everything we do now is to get us ready for East Kentwood and the championship portion of the season. It is amazing how quick the track season goes by and before you know it, it is time for the conference meet and the state meet. Our numbers are down a little bit this year, but we will do the best we can to carry on our tradition and win with what we have.” Rachel Raab swept the shot put and the discus with some impressive throws on Thursday and Saturday. Raab went 37′ 1.75″ in the shot put and 114′ 8″ in the discus. Taylor Manett, Jane Hawks and Morgan Harney were all solid in the distance events. Maria Anel and Katie DeHaan are key components in the middle distances and Courtney Klaweiter and Elise Schierbeek will be huge parts of the sprints for the Rams. “We have a mix of new kids and experienced kids on the team this year,” said VanderVeen. “We are still trying to fit in where they really belong on the team and improve our conditioning and times. The East Kentwood meet is going to be really close. We have a couple girls battling nagging injuries, but if we can overcome things and stay mentally strong we can do it. It should be a great meet and hopefully we can bring out the best in East Kentwood and they will bring out the best of […]

Rams baseball goes 2-1 in swing through Indiana

April 12, 2012 // 0 Comments

by RANDY GREGORY The nationally ranked Rockford varsity baseball team jumpstarted the 2012 season with a trio of games in Indiana last week. The Rams started things off on the right foot by routing Bedford-North Lawrence 14-3. They then topped Edgewood by a count of 8-1 before dropping the finale to Lawrence Central by a narrow 1-0 margin. “The first two games were probably closer than the final scores indicated,” said Rockford Coach Ian Hearn. “The Bedford-North Lawrence game was 1-0 going into the fourth inning and we pulled away late against Edgewood. The game against Lawrence Central was two very good teams going at each other and the only run was after an error we made in the very first inning. It was a pretty good weekend of baseball against some very good competition.” Ian Stankus was the winning pitcher in the opener despite a bout of wildness. Alex Hertel added a pair of scoreless innings in relief to cement the win. Rockford was paced offensively by several of their senior stalwarts. Drew Farmer and Tony Dileo had three hits apiece while Shain Showers and Max Crimp both had a pair. Jesse Edick chipped in with a double. The Rams erupted for nine runs in the fourth inning to pull away. Nick Street and Crimp went four and three innings respectively against Edgewood in Saturday’s opener. Street was rewarded with the win and Crimp the save for their efforts. Steven Powell was the offensive catalyst with a pair of doubles and five RBIs. Showers and Kory Young also contributed a pair of hits each. The final game of the trip was the most exciting as well as the most frustrating for Rockford. Save for the single run in the first inning, the two teams went back and forth with occasional chances but no ultimate rewards. Rockford threw sophomores Brent Showers and Reid Kelley, and they didn’t disappoint against elite competition while allowing only five hits. Rockford could manage only four of their own, however, and the lone tally stood up as the determining factor in the hotly contested game. “Lawrence Central played tremendous defense all game long,” said Hearn. “Their center fielder took away at least three doubles, but by the same token we […]

Ram softballers primed for solid season

April 12, 2012 // 0 Comments

by RANDY GREGORY¬† New Rockford varsity softball coach Troy Brown welcomes back a plethora of returnees to the 2012 squad, but still feels that the Rams are basically a young team in general. “We are in the great position of welcoming back quite a few players from last year’s team,” said Brown. “But at the same time, we don’t have an abundance of upperclassmen. If we can play solid defense on a daily basis, we will be pretty darn good. We already scrimmaged last year’s state champs [Mattawan] and held our own. I think we feel that if we can carry over that type of effort into every game then we will be a force. We are working really hard at becoming more consistent. This team is extremely talented, but when combined with our youth we will have to be careful to not lose focus.” There are only two seniors on the team, but both are returning All Conference players in Kayla Tykosky and Carmen Zeboor. Tykosky will hold down the fort at second base and Zeboor will become the primary pitcher for the Rams, while having to fill the large shoes of now Central Michigan University pitcher Tricia Graham. Rockford will also primarily feature only three juniors, Hannah Pattok (RF), Isabelle Mudgett (3B) and Rachel Feinauer (LF), as part of the regular rotation in the field. Meanwhile no fewer than four sophomores and a freshman have earned their way into starting positions. The sophomore contingent is comprised of Karlee Tykosky (CF), Jessi Ramos (C), Lexi Brown (1B) and Ashley Mengyen (P). Mackenzie Vallad is the lone freshman, and the talented infielder will be right in the forefront as the starting shortstop for last year’s OK Red runner-up. The OK Red is an absolute meat grinder in both the preseason rankings and historically. Grandville is ranked third and Hudsonville seventh in the Michigan High School Softball Coaches Association Division I preseason rankings. Rockford, Jenison and West Ottawa all currently reside in the honorable mention portion of the poll. No other league in the state has a collection of five teams rated so highly from an eight-team field. Brown previously spent two years as the varsity coach at Forest Hills Northern and two years as the […]

Allen reflects on successful rookie campaign

April 12, 2012 // 0 Comments

by RANDY GREGORY¬† It is hard to imagine what Nick Allen plans to do for an encore next year for the Rockford basketball team. In his initial foray at the varsity level, he guided the Rams all the way to the Class A Michigan High School Athletic Association’s championship game. Though the Rams fell 54-42 to Saginaw in an exciting contest that went down to the final two minutes, it was an unbelievable maiden voyage for a coach who had spent two years coaching middle school and a single season as the junior varsity coach. “A lot of people didn’t expect us to make it that far and some might even think we were lucky,” said Allen. “But having the heart to play as hard and as disciplined as we did to make it to that point is a talent of its own. I knew we would always be in games because of how hard we work defensively on a daily basis. But we moved the ball well and hit open shots when they presented themselves.” Allen was also quick to point out the advantage of having both played and coached under Steve Majerle. Allen was one of a string of hard-nosed players who made his living on the defensive end in his playing days for Rockford while also leading the way at point guard. “Steve [Majerle] built a program here that was respected throughout the state,” said Allen. “The skills he developed in his players coupled with instilling the attitude that his kids always had a chance no matter who they were playing against were invaluable. We definitely use a lot of his teachings still and they were instrumental in the play of this year’s team.” Allen also inherited another valuable asset when he took the reins this year. “Ryan DeKuiper is the best assistant coach I can imagine,” said Allen. “His ability to see and teach the game is incredible. To have the luxury of keeping him on the sidelines for this year was one of our biggest keys to success.” The Rams return only one starter next year in Chad Carlson. But they return a pair of key reserves in Chase Fairchild and Kyle Short. Carlson was an All Conference and All […]

Rams baseball looks to build on last year’s title

April 5, 2012 // 0 Comments

by RANDY GREGORY The 2011 version of Rockford baseball entered uncharted waters by capping off the season with a Division I state championship last June in Battle Creek. This year’s squad returns the bulk of that team along with some overwhelming expectations from both Michigan and national pundits. Louisville Slugger has slotted Rockford as the No. 27 team nationally in their preseason rankings. The ESPN Fab 50 includes the Rams as the 48th-ranked club in the nation as well, while also placing Rockford sixth in the Midwest (which strangely includes a pair of teams from Oklahoma). Not to be outdone, the Michigan High School Baseball Coaches Association anointed the Rams as the number one team in Michigan in their preseason rankings as well. “We do return a lot of positional players this year, but we lost all three of our top pitchers,” said Rockford Coach Ian Hearn. “We have some very good arms, but they are untested to a certain extent and it will take us a while to gel as a team. We aren’t going to sneak up on anybody this year and it will be interesting to see how we react to having a target on our backs.” No fewer than five players have already signed to continue their baseball careers on the collegiate level next year. They are seniors Drew Farmer (Western Michigan), Tony Dileo (Eastern Michigan), Shain Showers (Evansville University), Ian Stankus (Grand Rapids Community College), and Nick Street (Owens Community College in Toledo, Ohio). Coupled with some talented juniors and three sophomores who were part of a junior varsity squad which very nearly ran the table last year (27-1), and the groundwork is in place for another successful season. Hearn will have multiple options both in the infield and in the outfield for the Rams. As many as five or six Rams are vying for time in the outfield, led by Louisville Slugger Preseason All American Farmer. Brandon Nostrant, Kory Young, Reid Kelley, Stankus and Max Crimp will also figure into the mix. Alex Hertel has been swinging a solid bat early and is nosing his way into the conversation as well. The infield situation is, if anything, even deeper in talent. Showers, Stankus, Nostrant and Young all saw considerable […]

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