The Lady Rams of Rockford claimed the regional championship in cross country this past weekend for the second year in a row. Currently ranked number two in the state, the Lady Rams took home the victory over number-three-ranked Traverse City Central (TCC) and number-one-ranked Grand Haven in addition to the other 12 teams in the field. The Rams posted a score of 44 to outdistance the TCC Trojans, who scored 55, and the Grand Haven Buccaneers, who scored 63. “We ran really well today,” stated Rockford’s Coach Ben Watson. “We have lost to Grand Haven four times this year, but the girls remained confident in their training and their talents and it paid off today. This victory is really gratifying.” The Lady Rams were powered by a third-fourth-fifth finish from Taylor Manett, Catie Rietsema and Jane Hawks, who posted times of 19:00, 19:09 and 19:21 respectively. Sawyer Rocheleau claimed All Regional honors along with the top three by claiming 14th place in a time of 20:01. Jordan Vickery rounded out the scoring in placing 18th with a 20:16, as Anna Bos (20th) and Allison Hazy (24th) finished the team effort in 20:20 and 20:32 respectively. “It was certainly a team victory. We lost by two points a week ago to Grand Haven and talked about how if any girl could have just passed one more opponent we could get ahead of them. Each of our seven took it upon themselves to get the job done, and it showed today by them earning the victory,” stated Watson. The Rams placed well in the open race, where Morgan Harney claimed top honors in racing a 20:20 while Sam Anderson claimed sixth in 21:11. The Rams will compete for the state championship Saturday, Nov. 6, at the Michigan International Speedway with the race time being 3:00 p.m. Rockford has placed no worse than sixth over the past 12 years with five state championships and two state runner-up finishes, including last season’s.
The number-three-ranked Lady Rams cross-country team finished with a strong second place at the Portage Invitational where seven of the top 10 ranked Division I teams competed. The Rams were edged by number-one-ranked Grand Haven by four points and outdistanced number-two-ranked Traverse City Central, to whom they had previously lost on two occasions. Juniors Jane Hawks and Sawyer Rocheleau led the effort by placing 11th and 15th respectively. Seniors Catie Rietsema, Anna Bos and Allison Hazy placed 18th, 26th and 45th to conclude the scoring. Sophomore Jordan Vickery and junior Sam Anderson finished the placing in 76th and 116th place. “We ran pretty well today, but not our best,” stated Coach Watson. “We lost by about 45 points four weeks ago to Grand Haven, so we have come a long way in only losing by four points today. We will be racing them four more times before the end of the season, so we just need to keep improving.”
The Michigan Interscholastic Track Coaches Association (MITCA) recently recognized the Lady Rams cross-country team of Rockford as being Academic All State. Team Academic All State is scored much like a cross-country race in that a school submits their seven state finalist runners’ grade point averages (GPAs) and record the average of the top five from the competing seven. Upon doing this, Rockford recorded a team GPA of 3.847, the sixth best in the state. Members of the Lady Rams state team were Katie Carlson, Catie Rietsema, Allison Hazy, Taylor Manett, Jane Hawks, Sam Anderson and Sawyer Rocheleau. Propelling the entire team to Team Academic All State honors were three Lady Rams who earned Individual Academic All State honors. Senior Katie Carlson and sophomores Taylor Manett and Jane Hawks earned this honor by having a GPA above 3.8 and by finishing in the top half of the 239 competitors in the state finals race. Carlson placed 32nd, Manett 53rd, and Hawks was 18th at the state finals race.