by CANDY BURRIS In a test of physical strength and endurance, the Rockford crew team stood up to the challenge and excelled. Claiming first-place honors for the second year in a row, the Rams clearly showed they were the best in West Michigan. Competing against Forest Hills Central (FHC), Forest Hills Eastern, Lowell, East Grand Rapids (EGR), Forest Hills Northern, Northview, and Grand Rapids Boat Club, Rockford pulled out a first-place finish with 34 points, 17 points ahead of their closest competitors, EGR and FHC. The race was held at FHC, where rowers competed in two-meter races on indoor rowing machines called ERGs. Medals were given for first-, second- and third-place finishers, with the following Ram crew members taking home the honors: novice men: Matt Vermeer first, Bryce Vanderberg second novice women: Sarah Lemanski third lightweight women: Shelby Jacobs second openweight men: Landon Burris second openweight women: Olivia Kacsits first, Christine Kasper third coxswain men: Dylan Itter third coxswain women: Jesi Hernandez third Other team members placing in the top 10 for the Rams and earning points to ensure Rockford’s first-place win were: novice men: Andrew Christensen fourth, Nate Roohol fifth, Andrew Troyanowski seventh novice women: Kate Frasier fourth, Lena Kleinoeder fifth, Julia Fraser seventh, Kendall McConnohie ninth lightweight men: Tim Carlson fifth, Troy Paskeiwicz sixth, Tyler McDaniel seventh, Kyle Brown 10th lightweight women: Rochelle Huizinga fourth, Rachael Wrona sixth, Clara Harding seventh, Rebecca Markham ninth openweight men: Levi Pulver fifth, Zach Hagen ninth, TJ Jacobs 10th openweight women: Darcy Peck fifth, Michelle Kuhn sixth coxswain men: Danny Bronkema sixth coxswain women: Lauren Fey ninth Coached by Tim Jacobs and Greg Hobart, the Rams will compete at their first regatta of the season on Saturday, April 18 at Riverside Park in Grand Rapids. The public is invited to attend and there is no charge for admission.
Rockford High School Athletic Department recently announced retirement and coaching changes of four high school sports. After 35 years as head varsity coach of the Rams wrestling team, Don Rinehart has announced that he will retire at the end of the current season. Coach Rinehart’s accomplishments include 11 OK Red conference team championships, 14 district team titles, 10 regional team titles, and the 2007 Division I state MHSAA team championship. Rinehart has also coached numerous individual state champions, and has also coached baseball, softball and football in Rockford Public Schools. Amira Ponne has been named the head girls soccer coach. Ponne has coached at the junior varsity level for the past three seasons and teaches at the Rockford Freshman Center. She replaces Heidi Greenland, who retired to spend more time with her family. Tim Jacobs and Greg Hobart have been named to lead the varsity men’s and women’s crew teams. Jacobs is a teacher at the Rockford Freshman Center. Hobart is a long-time assistant coach in wrestling. Andrew Martin has been named the head boys track coach. He is also the men’s cross country coach and has served as a track assistant the past several years. Martin teaches in the social studies department at Rockford High School. Last year’s head coach, Brent Cummings, will remain with the staff as an assistant coach.
Rockford High School Athletic Director Tim Erickson has recently appointed Tim Jacobs as the head coach for the women’s high school crew team and Greg Hobart as head coach for the men’s high school crew team. Jacobs has coached in various capacities within the communities of Rockford and Ravenna. He teaches physical education and wood tech at Rockford Freshman Center. Hobart has coached the varsity B wrestling team for over 20 years and became interested in crew last year when asked to photograph the team at the Grand Rapids Regatta. He works at Rockford High School, assisting in the wood tech classes.
A mandatory Rockford High School crew parent meeting is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 24 at the Rockford Freshman Center cafeteria. All parents of interested rowers are asked to attend. Details will be provided regarding schedules, practice dates, testing requirements, costs, fundraising and conditioning. For more information, please contact Bill McDaniel at (616) 813-7955.