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Girls CC Team Closes Season

By Jeannie Gregory, 11/10/18, 1:30AM EST

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The RHS Girls Cross Country Team accomplished plenty during the season. ~ Photo by Elizabeth Geshel

Rams Claim regional, land 7th at state finals

The Rockford girls cross country team was able to add to their storied history during the 2018 season. The Rams were able earn the OK Red Conference Championship for the sixth consecutive year. Not content to stop there, the team also tackled the fierce competition of their MHSAA D1 Regional and came out the other side with a first-place finish there, also. The Rams tallied only 47 points – eclipsing second-place Forest Hills Northern, who tallied 64 points. The Regional Title was the third consecutive one for the Rams.

“We found success this season through the leadership of our seniors and the continual improvement of our underclassmen,” shared head coach Ben Watson.

The continual improvement saw the Rams earn a number of first and second-place finishes during September and October. They were led on the course by two seniors, Ericka VanderLende and Emma Everhart-Deckard. The duo were solid for the Rams all season, with VanderLende, who verbally committed to the University of Michigan the day before Regionals, shattering some meet records along the way. Everhart-Deckard earned All-Conference and All-Region honors in both 2017 and 2018.

The Regional competition saw three Rockford runners landing in the top 10 for the event, and five in the top 20. VanderLende, continued to pace the Rams, placing first with a time of 16:43.30. To show VanderLende’s dominance in the event, the closest finisher was runner-up Adit Dau, from Ottawa Hills, who clocked in at 18:01.50. Everhart-Deckard also had a huge day for the team, earning fifth with a time of 18:20.48. Rams sophomore Lexie Allshouse placed ninth, clocking in at 19:14.15. Freshman Bailey Ewen, and Lizzie Bennett both landed in the top 20 earning valuable points for Rockford’s finish.

At the state finals, Saturday, Nov. 3, The Rams were able to earn a seventh-place finish, with 241 points. VanderLende claimed the title of MHSAA D1 State Champion, clocking in at 17:08.22, with Everhart-Deckard placing 22nd, with a time of 18.33. Bailey Ewen, Elizabeth Bennett, Carly Maynard, and Riley Thompson all helped the Ram cause during the prestigious event.

“This group has continued the tradition of excellence that women’s cross country at Rockford has become known for,” continued Watson. “The season was very enjoyable as the girls worked extremely hard and displayed their determination to become the best that we could become.”