The Rockford boys cross-country team started off the 2011 campaign with a solid win at their own invitational meet, held on Saturday, August 27. The meet featured three races that saw a total of seven Rams finish the 5K course under the 18-minute mark. The first race featured the top five upperclassmen; the second race the top five underclassmen, and a junior varsity race for the remainder of the team. In the upperclassman varsity race, the Rams took the top five places. Junior Casey Aman finished first with a time of 17:21. Following Aman were senior Tyler Harney, juniors Drew Woznick and Austin Benoit, and senior Marc Lehman. Mitch Switzer and Colin Reichenbach took third and fourth place, respectively, in the underclassmen race for the Rams. Rockford’s Kenan Swihart, Matt Albano and Justin Meuser also participated in this race. In the junior varsity race, Rockford took the top 15 places. Finishing first for the Rams was Mark Cruickshank with a time of 17:28. Grant Aman, Chris Coles, Connor Jewell and Andrew Pitcher rounded out the top five places for the Rams. The Rockford harriers will next compete in the Bath Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 10.
Rockford Boys Cross Country Team
Rockford’s boys cross-country team traveled to Grand Haven Friday afternoon, Oct. 22, for a rematch with their worthy rivals from Grand Haven. Having recently lost the dual meet with Grand Haven earlier in the month, the boys were prepared to run hard to win Friday’s OK Red conference meet, which included eight schools: East Kentwood, Grand Haven, Grandville, Hudsonville, Jenison, Muskegon and Rockford. The scoring for the conference champions is based on the outcome of both the conference meets and the dual meets. With Grand Haven being undefeated in dual meets, only a win at the conference would allow Rockford to share the title. Grand Haven has a strong home course advantage with their steep hills that have the boys exerting extra energy at several critical points during the race. But the Rams’ boys had recent experience with the course and extra determination to bring home the trophy, winning with a score of 32, a full 15 points ahead of Grand Haven’s 47-point second-place position. Grand Haven’s Joe Duff took first place with a state-ranking sub-16 time. Spencer Gerber led the Rams with a second-place score of 16:23. But one of the deciding runners for this race was Steven Ek, who took fourth place, setting a new personal record and coming in ahead of “Little Duff”—Joe’s younger brother Ryan—by five seconds. Other key decision-makers in the race included Drew Woznick in sixth place with 16:40 and Austin Benoit in eighth place with a new personal record time of 16:41—both coming in ahead of Grand Haven’s number three and four positions. Senior Devon Liu (16:48) and sophomores Chris Coles (17:09) and Casey Aman (17:13) rounded off Ram varsity runners. The junior varsity race was once again dominated by the Rams, whereas the unusual depth of the team shows through at virtually every competition. The Rams had 17 runners in the top 30 award-winning positions, making up 57 percent of the JV medalists. The medalists include senior Evan Bruin (17:28 for first place), junior Connor Jewell (17:40 in second), senior Mike Greko (17:44 in third), senior Eric Parsell (17:45 in fifth), sophomore Grant Aman (17:53 in eighth), senior Nate MacQueen (18:00 in ninth), senior Tim Newberger (18:02, 10th), junior Tyler Harney (18:03, 11th), junior Kevin Cowell with […]
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 […]