The Lady Rams of Rockford started their OK conference schedule with a victory over host East Kentwood Wednesday, Sept. 14. Seniors Taylor Manett, Jane Hawks and Sawyer Rocheleau led the way for Rockford in racing times of 19:21, 20:06 and 20:54, respectively. “Our seniors led the way for us and then our team depth proved too much for EK,” stated Coach Ben Watson. Following the trio of seniors were underclassmen Lauren Brasure, Maegan Roach and Kerianne Schof with times of 21:03,21:05 and 21:12. “The rest of the conference schedule gets tougher and tougher, so it was good to get started with a victory,” said Watson. Week one of state rankings had four of the eight OK Red conference schools in the top 10: Hudsonville fourth, Grandville fifth, Grand Haven sixth, and Rockford eighth. “The OK Red is extremely strong this year. Hopefully we can get some momentum from this victory and carry it into the upcoming meets against the other OK Red foes,” said Watson.
The Rockford girls cross-country team’s academic performance matched its athletic performance when they were honored for having the third highest team grade-point average (GPA) of the 27 teams that competed at the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) state finals on Saturday, Nov. 6. The Lady Rams raced to a third-place team finish, which continued their legacy of being one of the most dominant teams in Division I. As a team, the Lady Rams recorded a GPA of 3.858 on an un-weighted 4.0 scale. This was calculated by averaging the top five GPAs of the seven runners racing at the state finals. Leading the way academically were seniors Anna Bos and Allison Hazy along with junior Taylor Manett, each of whom received individual All State honors. Individual honors are received by finishing the race in the top half of the 220 racers and then having one of the top 30 GPAs out of those athletes. Academically, Bos finished 17th, Manett 22nd and Hazy 28th. These girls are each ranked within the top two percent of their grade at Rockford High School (RHS). Out of 625 in the senior class, Bos is sixth and Hazy is 12th. Out of 633 in the junior class at RHS, Manett is fourth. “As a group of athletes, the girls that run for Rockford are really hard workers. Accolades like being Academic All State prove that our team is not only athletic, however, but truly scholar athletes who take their hard work ethic into the classroom with them,” stated Coach Benjamin Watson.
The Lady Rams fell short of their state championship aspirations, but continued the legacy as one of the best teams in the state in claiming third place at this year’s Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) state finals on Saturday, Nov. 6. The Rams’ third-place finish continues the tradition of finishing no worse than sixth in any of the past 12 years. “We were shooting for the top spot, so we are a little disappointed in third, but it wasn’t for lack of effort and determination,” stated Coach Watson. Gaining All State honors for the Rams was junior Taylor Manett, who easily had the best race of her life in placing 15th and running a lifetime personal record of 18:08. “Taylor ran phenomenal today,” commented Watson. “She ran more miles this past summer than the vast majority of people in the state, and it showed in her performance today.” Senior Catie Rietsema ran a time of 18:43, good for 33rd place, just outside of All State honors. Juniors Jane Hawks and Sawyer Rocheleau were the next two finishers for the Rams with times of 18:57 and 19:12; placing 51st and 70th respectively. Seniors Anna Bos and Allison Hazy claimed the fifth and sixth spots for the Rams, each running their best times of the season in 19:31 and 19:32, good for 105th and 106th place. Sophomore Jordan Vickery, competing in her first state championships, ran a time of 19:37, which was good for 124th place. “I am very proud of the girls’ efforts all season,” stated Watson. “We will dearly miss our seniors next year when we toe the line without them. We have a good group coming back and, hopefully through hard work, determination and persistence, we can improve on this finish one year from now.”