Johnny Agar, whose story on ESPN gained nationl attention, has been added to the board of directors of the West Michigan Miracle League (WMML). Agar, who was born with cerebral palsy, has completed numerous myTeamTriumph (mTT) marathons, an athletic ride-along program created for children, teens, adults and veterans with disabilities who would normally not be able to experience endurance events such as triathlons or road races. The Rockford resident was featured in ESPN’s e:60 show in December, 2013, which chronicled Agar as he transitioned from wheelchair-bound participant to walking, with the aid of his walker, the “Final Mile” of the Mitchell’s Run in Rockford. In his new position, the Aquinas sophomore will work with the organization to ensure that children of all abilities are given the opportunity to play baseball, a sport he loves. “We’re very excited to have such a remarkable individual on our board,” said Tony Comden, president of the WMML, said in a press release. “Johnny’s personal experiences and presence in West Michigan will be a tremendous asset to our organization as we continue working to create opportunities for children with disabilities in our area.”
West Michigan Sports Commission
The West Michigan Sports Commission reported that the third annual Meijer State Games of Michigan, Olympic-style competition held throughout venues in Rockford, Sparta and the greater Grand Rapids area, was better than ever and a huge success. Sports in the 2012 event included archery held here in Rockford at the Rockford Freshman Center Saturday and Sunday, archery 3-D, basketball, BMX, BMX freestyle, bowling, boxing, cricket, cycling, disc golf, fencing, figure skating, golf, governor’s run, fun run/walk, hockey HS, hockey 14 and under, hockey 12 and under, judo, karate, lacrosse, mountain biking, pickleball, racquetball, rowing, rugby, skateboarding, shooting sports, softball adult, swimming, tae kwon do, track and field, volleyball, wakeboard, water polo and wrestling. Next year, flag football competition will be added.
Five-year estimate is $20 million in economic growth by BETH ALTENA A new era for Rockford has arrived as the West Michigan Sports Commission (WMSC) announced a state-of-the-art youth and amateur sports facility with 12 ball fields, concessions, boulevard landscaping, parking for nearly 1,000 cars, play areas and picnic structures will be built on a 79-acre property off Ten Mile Road in Rockford. On 110 acres adjacent to the baseball and softball fields will be an Olympic-style indoor/outdoor archery complex, mountain bike courses, soccer fields and 25K cross-country course. The economic benefit to Rockford in having such facilities here is profound. Mike Guswiler, executive director of the West Michigan Sports Commission, said the estimated economic impact to the area in the first five years could be $20 million. Guswiler and other spokespersons for the project announced during a luncheon November 16 that the complex would be built and that $4.3 million of the funding for the first phase was secured. Another $1.7 is being sought. “We needed to demonstrate strong support for this facility among lead donors, and they stepped up in a big way,” said retired president of Grand Valley State University Arend Lubbers. The WMSC has announced their funding campaign for the $1.7 “Everyone Wins” is underway. “This project is first and foremost an economic engine for our community,” said Richard DeVos, one of the project’s major donors. “Youth and amateur sports tourism generates about $6 billion in direct spending each year—youth baseball and softball are among the top five travel sports contributing to that figure. We want to capture a piece of that market. But this is also about the love of sports and enhancing the quality of life here in West Michigan.” The Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation are the championship field sponsors with a one million dollar donation. Other major donors of $300,000 or more are Wolverine Worldwide, Meijer, Peter and Joan Secchia and family, Dan and Pamela DeVos Foundation, the Frey Foundation, and John and Nancy Kennedy. Donors of $30,000 or more are the Steve and Cindy VanAndel Foundation, the Dave and Carol VanAndel Foundation, the Dick and Betsy DeVos Foundation, the Doug and Maria DeVos Foundation, Fifth-Third Bank, Gordon Food, and Steelcase. Businesses, organizations and individuals are asked […]
Archers, crew, rugby represent district by BETH ALTENA Students from Rockford were well represented at this year’s Meijer State Games and during opening ceremonies at Fifth Third Ballpark, a blaze of Ram orange filled the stands. Archers from the Rockford Sportsman’s Club led the parade of athletes Friday, June 24 and teams from Rockford included rowing and rugby athletes. Olympic archer Glenn Meyers shot a blazing arrow across the ball field to ignite the cauldron after the special tip of his arrow was set alight from the torch. The second annual Olympic-style games for the first time included archery competition, which took place Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Rockford High School. Begun last year in Michigan as a way to stimulate economic growth, this year’s event is estimated to have brought more than a million dollars in spending. According to Hank Meijer, CEO for the company that is the major sponsor for the state games, Michigan’s is the fastest-growing state games in the nation, with 24 different games and venues across the state. The West Michigan Sports Commission (WMSC) is responsible for the annual event, which had over 5,000 athletes of all ages competing in events from wrestling to pickleball. Competition is completed by 2 p.m. at each venue so visitors have the opportunity to visit the town or city which is the host. In addition to Rockford High School, Cannonsburg Ski Area and The Score Restaurant & Sports Bar held events—mountain biking and sand volleyball, respectively. “This is an opportunity for athletes, young and not so young, to set goals,” said Meijer. “I wish all athletes a great weekend of accomplishment, competition and fun.” Wayman Britt, WMSC vice chair, introduced a cast of speakers including Michigan’s Luietenant Governor Brian Calley and Michigan State University basketball coach Tom Izzo and football coach Mark Dantonio. “The state games are a signature event of the West Michigan Sports Commission,” Britt said. He said the games encourage economic development and quality of life. The archery tournaments were organized by Rockford’s Jeff DeRegnaucourt and will be held in Rockford each year. DeRegnaucourt said all visitors, both athletes and fans, were provided a packet of coupons and information from Rockford merchants. The home of the state’s only Junior Olympic Archery […]
The Rockford Raptors 14U baseball team went undefeated in winning the USSSA Lakeside Challenge which was held June 12-13 in Grand Rapids. The Raptors were seeded number one after completing pool play and earned a spot in the championship game with an 8-0 semifinal victory over the Birmingham Bulldogs. The Raptors coupled good hitting with strong pitching as they defeated West Michigan Elite Gold 8-0 in the championship game. For the season, the Raptors have compiled a 23-5-3 record and now prepare for a trip to Omaha, Neb., where they will compete in the Triple Crown Sumpbusters Tournament on June 24-28. This tournament is held in conjunction with the NCAA Division I college world series.