by RANDY GREGORY There was a time in the not too distant past when a Rockford versus Jenison battle on the football field would be an absolute knockdown, drag-out battle. The Rams and Wildcats would trade blow for blow in what would normally be a low scoring and physical battle with OK Red title hopes riding on the outcome. But those days have fallen by the wayside over the last decade. Jenison’s only win against Rockford over the last 11 years was in 2005. Last year’s contest was a 35-0 Rockford win that featured a running clock for the duration of the second half. This once proud program has fallen on tough times recently as evidenced by winning a grand total of 11 games over the last six years. The Wildcats have further suffered the added indignity of having insufficient numbers to even field a junior varsity team this year. There seemed to be a glimmer of hope this season when the Wildcats topped neighborhood rival Grandville in this year’s opener. But the use of an ineligible player necessitated the forfeiture of that contest and Jenison stands at 0-3 so far in this campaign. They followed up the Grandville forfeit with losses to Grand Rapids Northview and Muskegon Reeths Puffer. The Wildcats did bring in a new coach two years ago with the hiring of former Grandville coach Irv Sigler. The number of players in the program have increased over the last few years, but the results will take a while to show up in the win/loss column. Another thing that has changed this year for Jenison is their conference affiliation. The long-time Ottawa Kent Red Conference member has now been shifted to the OK Black along with Muskegon. “I really don’t know a whole lot about Jenison right now,” stated Rockford coach Ralph Munger on Friday after the Muskegon game. “But we will watch some film and be ready to go this Friday. I’m not sure what our injury situation will be, but we will play with whatever hand we are dealt.” Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 14 at Jenison.
September 13 2012
The Rockford men’s cross country team used the final 50 meters of the 5K race to great advantage, out-kicking their opponents to win the Bath Invitational on Saturday. Drew Woznick led the way for the Rams, out-racing Northville’s Dan Sims and taking the tape with a winning time of 16:06. Austin Benoit followed suit, sprinting by another opponent near the finish line to take third place. Next across the finish line for the Rams were Grant Aman, Chris Coles, freshman Isaac Harding, Mark Cruickshank and Tyler Aman, all out-sprinting opponents in the final meters of the race. Harding was given the opportunity to run in the varsity race when Rockford Coach Andy Martin decided to rest Casey Aman, and he made the most of it, carving a minute off his best previous finish. Rockford’s Mitch Switzer led the junior varsity race from start to finish, winning it with a personal record time of 17:36. Next week, the Rams will split their squad, with the varsity team heading to East Lansing on Friday to compete at the Spartan Invitational and the reserve squad competing at the Sparta Invitational on Saturday.
The Rockford High School boys varsity tennis team continues to compete and score important team victories for the 2012 season. On Saturday, Sept. 8, the Rams traveled to Forest Hills Eastern (FHE) High School to compete in the always tough FHE Hawk Tournament. This is a “quad tourney” with four varsity teams participating in match play throughout the day. Varsity tennis teams from Lowell, Calvin Christian, and FHE high schools all came into the tournament ready to compete with each respective team and to prove their mettle on the courts at FHE. With four schools in the tournament, each singles player and doubles team plays three matches against opponents from the other three schools, throughout a very long day of competitive tennis. In order to make it through three matches in a single day, every player on the team must maintain a strong focus on the game, all day in order to maintain that competitive edge. As the day wore on, each player and coach for the team did just that. When the dust settled on the courts, the Rams varsity team came out number one on the day. The Rams’ singles play for the day was dominant with impressive match wins by all of the Rams’ singles play team members. Tyler Kowalk, Ryan Korlewitz, Luke Van Fleet and Mark Vietengruber (#1, #2, #3 and #4 singles, respectively) all kept that focus and competitive edge throughout the day, each scoring impressive wins against some tough competition. Kowalk, Korlewitz and Van Fleet all went undefeated in their three matches, finishing as “flight champions” at their seeding. Vietengruber also scored impressive points on the day by finishing runner up to the champion in his flight. Equally as dominant were the doubles teams of Cade VanRooyen and Thomas Hall, Sam Dater and Gregg Witt, Zak Riebschleger and Ken Smith, and John Macgregor and John D’Amore (#1, #2, #3 and #4 doubles, respectively). These dynamic doubles pairs also kept the focus and competitive edge throughout the day that is necessary to finish strong. Each player on a doubles pair must work together with their teammate to maintain that competitive edge right up through the very last game, set and match of the day. All of the doubles teams finished […]
by RANDY GREGORY Rockford has enjoyed a nearly 20-year run of previously unparalleled success across the board in their athletic department. The Rams have numerous state titles and top five finishes in sports as varied as gymnastics to football, crew to basketball, and swimming to baseball. Toss in the cross country, track, water polo, wrestling, volleyball and baseball crowns and it isn’t hard to see why the athletic program is the envy of many schools around the state. Great coaches and great athletes have dotted the landscape over this golden era. Add in facilities that were state-of-the-art at the high school level when they were built in 1994, and have remained that way through bond issues passed by a generous locale populace, and it is easy to envision things staying status quo for the foreseeable future. But one part of the program that had fallen more than a bit behind the times is the weight room. When parents, administrators, coaches and student athletes have made forays into other schools that have been constructed more recently it was fairly obvious the Rams were seriously lacking in the facilities and equipment offered at Rockford High School. Please consider that situation rectified. When the last bond issue was passed a few years back and new academic and athletic facilities were constructed or added onto, Rockford Public Schools had a little bit of extra money on hand due to favorable interest rates. The weight room was a situation that administrators knew they needed to address and they made a survey of local facilities. What they came up with is a testament to the school colors, efficiency and a far more gender-friendly atmosphere. “The old weight room looked more like something from the textbook on general strength training for football players,” said Rockford Athletic Director Tim Erickson. “We eliminated the dank sweatshop look and drastically changed the types and amounts of weight machines offered. All of the new equipment is orange and black and multi-functional. We also added windows so the kids could look out into open spaces and to brighten up the atmosphere.” The capabilities of the newly remodeled weight room versus the old weight room are eye-popping. The exercise selection has increased dramatically. It would take days to […]
Ranked number one in the state, the Rockford Rams men’s water polo team opened up its dual season this past Wednesday with a victory over the visiting Jenison Wildcats. This was a strong home statement win for the Rams against the Cats. Right from the start, the Rams were focused and motivated. In the first period, four Ram players scored as Rockford jumped out to a 5-2 lead. Rockford continued its balanced attack, gaining an 8-3 lead at half. The Rams claimed the victory by a final score of 13-4. This was a total team effort as five Ram players had three steals and seven different Rams scored. Senior captain Nick Willison had a statement game, leading the scoring with four and also leading the team in assists. Senior Grant Beach dominated the hole set, scoring three. After the game, Willison said, “It was important for us as a team to start the season off on the right foot and this win against Jenison was a good way to begin our dual matches.” On the weekend, the Rams traveled to the lakeshore to compete in the Shootout at the Shore, which consisted of 14 teams playing at Grand Haven and West Ottawa pools. Rockford began the tournament by playing Grand Haven at the Bucs’ pool. The Rams dominated the Bucs, cruising to a 13-1 victory. The contest was an opportunity for everyone to gain valuable playing experience. This became evident as Vietnamese exchange student Quang Le, new to the sport of polo, scored his first ever goal. The Rams had a short night of sleep, as they traveled back to the Grand Haven pool for the 8 a.m. game against the Maples of Birmingham Seaholm. Minimal sleep did not hinder the Rams, however, as they overpowered the Maples and swam away with a 16-2 victory. Senior captain Justin Hulsebus led the team, scoring five goals. Hulsebus said, “This was a solid team win. The entire squad played with 100 percent intensity throughout the entire game.” The Rams next faced the Walled Lake Cobras. The Rams’ experience and depth proved too much for Walled Lake as Rockford won 21-1. The semifinal games pitted the Rams against the Jenison Wildcats in one bracket and Hudsonville versus Zeeland […]