By: Daniel Stickradt
BOYS TRACK: Model of consistency Rockford repeats as state runner-up
BY DAN STICKRADT
EAST KENTWOOD — When it comes to the sport of track and field, everything must go right in order for a team to enjoy success at the state finals.
Rockford has proven to be one of those boys track and field programs in Michigan that, more often than not, has scored points at the state finals over the past two decades — and with that enjoyed tremendous success over the years.
In the past 20 seasons, Rockford has cracked the scoring column at the Division 1 state finals in 19 of 20 years. Only the 2008 season saw the Rams fail to register at least one point at the state meet.
During this 20-year time period, Rockford owns four state runner-up finishes, finished third on two occasions, collected a total of eight top-10 finishes and 11 top-20 finishes.
A total of 14 times the Rams have finished in the top 30 in the team scoring, proving to be a model of consistency.
“It boils down to senior leadership and the seniors setting an example each year,” offered Rockford coach Andrew Martin, who had over 100 athletes on the roster this season. “When you have good seniors and good upperclassmen, it kind of carries over each year.”
Rockford finished as the Division 1 state runner-up for the second straight year after collecting 62 points at East Kentwood High School.
Host East Kentwood scored 78.5 points to win the title, while defending state champ Oak Park was third (44).
“We qualified a lot of athletes and what I think really helped us is that we scored in most events,” noted Martin. “We scored in three relays, we scored in the field events, we scored in the hurdles, middle distances, long distances — we scored in every area. We only won two events, but we had several great performances and (top-eight) finishes that helped us (rack) up a lot of points.”
In the field events, junior Gavin McIntyre placed fourth in the discus (159-6), while junior Chase Novak claimed a sixth-place medal in the long jump (21-11.5).
Senior Nicholas Isley was fourth in the 110 hurdles (14.59), senior Tyler Brenner ran fourth in the 400 meters (48.42) and senior Josh Patterson was sixth in the 100 meters (10.92).
Rockford’s foursome of Patterson, Brenner, senior Noah Mead and sophomore Noah Stallworth grabbed the runner-up slot in the 800-meter relay (1:26.51), while Stallworth, Patterson, Isley and senior Melvin Moseley set the D-1 meet record with a sizzling 41.20 clocking in the 400-meter relay.
Junior Cole Johnson won the 1,600 meters (4:08.60) and finished second in the 800 (1:52.99). He also joined junior Nate Carlson, Patterson and Brenner for a third-place finish in the 1,600-meter relay (3:19.08).
“We had some superstars, but we had a lot of guys score points — a lot of guys contribute,” added Martin. “I think that’s what really helped us finish second. East Kentwood was loaded. We figured they would be tough to beat. But us coaches felt if we had a good day, then finishing up in the top five was realistic. We had a great day and finished second. I couldn’t be prouder of this team and all of the hard work they put in over the past several months.”