The Rockford boys ran a tough race Friday afternoon, Sept. 17, at the Spartan Invitational held at the Forest Akers East Golf Course in East Lansing. Running in the Elite Division, this meet provided an opportunity to assess the competition the Rams will face against some top talents from across the state. They will also face some strong local teams, especially in the face of big changes to the varsity line-up, as last year’s strong senior runners have moved on to college teams. The top runner in the Elite Division came in with a 15:30 time for the 5K course, followed by three other runners with sub 16-second times. The top team was Dexter with an average time of 16:37, with several other teams approaching their times. Local team Grand Haven took ninth place and promises a good challenge for the Rams in coming weeks. The Rams were led by veteran varsity team members seniors Steven Ek and Spencer Gerber and sophomore Drew Woznick. Ek showed a strong finish with a time of 16:43, coming in at 33rd place, which separated him from a spot on the awards podium by only three runners. Gerber and Woznick followed with times of 17:01 and 17:03. Rounding up the varsity team at this event was sophomore Chris Coles (17:34) and senior Eric Parsell (17:41), followed by senior Devon Liu (17:41) and senior Mike Greko (18:06). Rockford placed 16th out of the 27 teams in the Elite class. However, with a predicted ranking of ninth place, according to the results of recent polling of Michigan cross country coaches, the team is expected to continue to improve their showing as the season unfolds. Coach Andrew Martin was upbeat after the race, mentioning the potential he sees with the team going forward.
Rockford Rams Boys Cross-Country
by Chris Cruickshank The Rockford High School boys cross county team participated in split squad events over the weekend, with the varsity team running at the Spartan Invitational in East Lansing on Friday, Sept. 17, and the junior varsity team running at the Sparta Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 18. As it had been for the past few years, the Sparta Invitational was wet and slippery. Due to passing thunder and lightning early on, it was delayed 90 minutes. But the delay had little effect on the Rams, who took the top 11 places in the junior varsity race. The Rams’ Austin Benoit led from start to finish, completing the rain-soaked course in 17:58. Rounding out the top 11 spots for the Rams with a 47-second spread were Casey Aman, Evan Bruin, Andrew Pitcher, Tyler Harney, Conner Jewell, Nate McQueen, Cam Fasel, Grant Aman, Tim Newberger and Matt Albano. Coach Martin commented, “The guys ran very well today considering the conditions. What I liked most is that they came out and pushed the pace from the very beginning and ran together—each of the top 15 Ram finishers ran with and finished near at least one other teammate. We practice running in groups to help push each other.” Next up, the Rams harriers run at East Rockford Middle School against East Kentwood on Wednesday, Sept. 22, and at the Cougar-Falcon Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 25 at the Gainey Complex, located on East Paris Drive in Kentwood.
On an unseasonably cool and gray day, the Rockford boys cross-country team opened their 2009 season with a dominant performance in winning the Third Annual Rockford Cross Country Invitational. Although the team acted as gracious hosts to the seven schools attending the meet, on the scoreboard the Ram harriers were anything but kind, as Rockford won the meet with a score of 23 points. Second-place Forest Hills Central scored 67 points. Scoring at the Rockford Invitational is unique to this meet. Five boys run in the 11/12 varsity upperclassman race and five boys run in the 9/10 varsity underclassman race, with the top three boys from each school scoring in each race. The final scores are determined by adding together the six scoring runners from each school. Rockford runners were second, third and fifth in the upperclassman race and first, third and ninth in the underclassman race. Rockford established dominance from the opening gun in the upperclassman race as senior co-captain Grant Gunneson and junior Spencer Gerber pushed the pace. They were joined in the small lead pack by a single runner, Jeff Sattler of Byron Center. Senior co-captains Nick Shear and Drake Veitenheimer were in the trailing pack but close behind. Gunneson held the lead for most of the first two miles. However, on a long uphill with about 1,200 meters to go, Sattler made a bold move and captured the lead. Sattler did not relinquish the lead, as Gunneson finished second at 16:53 to Sattler’s 16:37. Gerber was third at 17:02, with Veitenheimer completing the scoring for the Rams in this race, finishing fifth in 17:10. In the underclassman race, freshman Drew Woznick easily outdistanced the field, running 17:23, as he pulled away from a very determined Middleville runner at the two-mile mark. Rounding out the scoring in the underclassman race for the Rams was third-place finisher sophomore Connor Jewell at 18:15, followed by ninth-place freshman Austin Benoit, who ran 18:57. The Rams later swarmed the field as 37 Ram runners lined up for the start of the junior varsity race. In the JV race, which wrapped up the competition, the Rams placed the most runners in the top 10 with the fastest time being turned in by second-place finisher, senior Ryan Romain. […]