by RANDY GREGORY Drew Woznick set a new school record in the 800-meter race for the Rockford boys track team in a dual meet against Grand Haven on Thursday, May 3 at Rockford with a time of 1:54.68. The record had been held since 1998 with a time of 1:54.9 by Jason Hartmann. Not to put any pressure on Woznick, but Hartmann has since gone on to a storied career that included a fourth-place finish at this year’s Boston Marathon. Woznick took an early lead in the race as he kept Buccaneer standout Schalk Vanniekerk at bay until the final 130 meters. Vanniekerk nosed ahead at that point, but Woznick stayed right on his heels as the two frantically raced for the finish line. With 20 meters to go, Woznick pulled even with Vanniekerk and out-leaned him at the wire to win by .13 seconds. “It was one of the most exciting races I have ever seen,” said Rockford Coach Andy Martin. “You usually see finishes like that in a 100- or 200-meter race. Drew just refused to lose and everyone in the place was on their feet cheering both of them on. Earlier in the meet he had run a 1:57 800-meter split in the 3,200 relay and to come back with a race like that is unbelievable.” As a team, Rockford easily outpaced both Jenison on Tuesday and Grand Haven on Thursday to close out the OK Red regular season at 6-1 and finish one spot behind East Kentwood. They finished the week by sending a limited squad to the Red Hawk Invitational on Saturday, May 5. Several other Ram athletes also had notable performances on the week. Ben Braden swept the discus and the shot put in both dual meets. In the process, Braden set a new personal record of 162′ 7″ in the discus on Tuesday, May 1 at Jenison. That topped his old mark by better than six feet. Justin Wustman went 19′ 10.25″ in the long jump to better his previous best by a foot and a half. And Casey Aman ran a 9:45.12 3,200-meter at the Red Hawk Invitational to shatter his previous best mark as well. The stage is now set for the OK Red conference track […]
by RANDY GREGORY It was a week for the record book for the girls track team at Rockford High School. Not one, but two long-standing marks fell to a pair of Ram athletes who compete in vastly different events. First up for the Rams was standout distance runner Taylor Manett. The senior ran a sparkling time of 10:26.31 in the 3,200 meters on Thursday against Grand Haven in a dual meet at Rockford. The old mark of 10:38 by Kalin Toedebusch (aka Mrs. Dathan Ritzenhein) had stood since 2000. Toedebusch later went on to a stellar career at the University of Colorado. “Taylor had a great week of practice and this was something we all knew she was capable of,” said Rockford Coach Randy VanderVeen. “We have always had a great tradition of distance runners here at Rockford and this just helps cement her place.” Rachel Raab swept both the discus and the shot put all week long for Rockford as has been her norm. But she saved her best effort of the week for the Red Hawk Invitational on Saturday. With a throw of 39′ 11.5″ Raab topped Andi Spaman’s 39′ 11″ toss in 1999. The junior has consistently been in the upper 30s all year long, but finally edged ever so close to the 40′ mark and erased a long-standing school record in the process. “Rachel has just continually gotten better and better her entire career here at Rockford,” said VanderVeen. “She has a solid work ethic and has an excellent chance of even better performances as time goes on.” As a team, the Rams crushed both Jenison and Grand Haven in the pair of dual meets on Tuesday and Thursday. They then competed at the Red Hawk Invitational on Saturday with the caveat of basically allowing members of the team to choose one event they wanted to compete in. It didn’t matter as Rockford claimed first place in the event, despite having those potentially crippling restrictions. Next up for the team is the OK Red conference meet at West Ottawa on Friday. That is the only competition of the week for the 7-0 Rams, following a difficult two-week stretch of solid opponents and frequent events. “We focus all year on getting everyone […]
by RANDY GREGORY The girls track team from Rockford stayed firmly atop the OK Red standings with a pair of dominant wins last week. The Rams began the week by topping Grandville 89-48 on Tuesday, April 24, and followed that up by trouncing Hudsonville 99-38 on Thursday, April 26. They then ventured to East Lansing on Friday, April 27, to take part in the Spartan Classic at Michigan State University. The defending state champs from Grosse Pointe South were there and it gave Rockford a chance to see how they matched up with them this year. Grosse Pointe South captured the title, but the Rams were fairly close behind and knew it could have been much closer save for one thing. “We left some points out there where we knew we should have scored,” said Rockford Coach Randy VanderVeen. “Grosse Pointe South has a lot of the team back from last year and added a couple of talented transfers. They will definitely be the favorites again, but I think we were able to see the things we need to improve on and some of their weaknesses that may enable us to keep it in the ball park the next time around.” Courtney Klaweiter won the 100-meter dash for the Rams and also ran a leg of both the 4×100- and 4×200-meter relays that took first place. Rachel Raab was a double individual winner for Rockford as she took the shot put at 38’11” and the discus at 112′. Sammy Cuneo, Elise Schierbeek and Allison Kelley were the other three members of the winning 4×100 and 4×200 relay teams. Katie DeHaan was second in the pole vault at 10’6″. The 4×800 relay team of Jane Hawks, Morgan Harney, Taylor Manett and Kerianne Schoff placed second as well as the 4×400 quartet of Maria Anel, Olivia Gilbert, DeHaan and Klaweiter. Manett was second in both the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs. Anel was also second in the open 400-meter race. “Things are shaping up pretty nicely for us as a team so far,” said VanderVeen. “The girls are a little tired after all of the races we ran last week, but that happens occasionally when you have to cram so many conference meets into such a short window. […]
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 […]
Runner among 10 fastest in Midwest Julia Bos, a junior at Grand Rapids Christian High School, and Taylor Manett, a senior at Rockford High School, participated in the Foot Locker National High School XC Championship Meet on Coronado Island in San Diego on Saturday, Dec. 10. Bos and Manett qualified for the national championship meet by placing in the top 10 at the Foot Locker Midwest Regional Meet on Saturday, Nov. 26 at University of Wisconsin-Parkside. The United States is divided into four regions, and each held its own regional meet to determine its top 10 to send to the national meet. The Midwest Regional Meet was comprised of 263 runners from 13 states. These top 10 then became the Midwest XC Team to compete at the national championship meet against the other three regions. Racing against the fastest 40 runners in the country, the Midwest team, with the help of Bos and Manett, claimed the national team championship by beating out the other three regions. They were awarded the national championship team medals. Individually, Bos claimed 10th place and, although Manett would have been top 10 as well, she accidentally was tripped in a tight pack and went down, causing her to finish further back. “Everyone has a bad race, and unfortunately that was mine,” Manett said. Performing well enough to qualify for the national championship is an amazing feat in itself, and it proved to be a wonderful three-day experience for both Bos and Manett in California. They were still able to come back national champions being part of the winning Midwest team of 10. Manett will continue her cross-country career at the Division I level next fall, entertaining offers from some great schools, but is still undecided. Bos still has one more year. High school cross country has officially come to a close, and the girls are now looking forward to track season. Could another national championship be looming?