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Rockford Christian High School Boys Varsity Cross Country finishes 1st place

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Saturday, October 17, 2015

9:30 AM





Meet Recap

On Saturday, October 17 the Rockford Christian boys cross country team competed in the Big Northern Conference Championship Meet held on the Burlington Central campus. The Royal Lions successfully defended their 2014 team title and defeated Dixon by a score of 77 to 79. In the four years that Rockford Christian has been a member of the BNC, only the boys cross country team has won a conference championship. The squad had four all-conference runners in Nick Monkemeyer (Sr.), Riley Wells (Fr.), Ethan Volk (Sr.), and Noah Wells (Jr.).

I am certainly proud of the 2015 squad and of their BNC accomplishments, but I can’t help but break the traditional format in which I recount the results and highlights from meet to meet in these posts.

This was an emotional weekend for several reasons. First, the conference meet is the last race that most of the squad runs for the season. The boys in the JV race ran with reckless abandon and dominated the competition winning with just 29 points. Will Mecklenburg (Jr.), Nicolas Capriola (Fr.), Cal Granite (Fr.), Josh Honkamp (Fr.), and Tobias McIntosh (So), all ran seaon and lifetime bests.

And second, for some of our squad, conference is the last cross country race they run wearing the Rockford Christian checkerboard singlet. In the past, I have had the opportunity at senior recognition to speak about the career highlights of the seniors. I was unable to publically share with the Rockford Christian community what makes each of the 2015 cross country seniors special as a young men and athletes. So, instead of providing times, places, and scores from the BNC meet of our seniors… I am going to share some of my earliest memories and most lasting memories regarding each of the senior boys:

John Holliday transferred to Rockford Christian in his sophomore year and found a home on the cross country squad in his first day at school. John’s first “race” wearing blue and gold was actually a 2 mile time trial at First to the Finish on the Detweiller course. He had not yet been cleared by the IHSA to compete for us, and I wanted him to feel like he was a full member of the team. He ran that 2 mile solo and absolutely crushed his personal record. I’ll never forget the look on his face or the team forming a gantlet for him to run through at the finish. John has bled blue and gold ever since. Rarely have I coached a young man who is as invested in the “You Know” culture. He is all in for sure. It is one of the reasons he is our 2015 team captain. He is an outstanding young man.

Grant Franseen is our 2015 team chaplain not because he is ostentatious in prayer or evangelism, but because of his genuine compassion for his teammates. I can vividly recall the team devotion where Grant, as an underclassman, vulnerable shared his love of Jesus with the entire team. He acknowledged his introverted personality, but expressed his desire for true camaraderie with the team, and made sure that everyone knew they could rely on him as a friend. Grant has had several set backs with injury and illness that have been frustrating for him as a runner. However, his faith and his promise of friendship have never waivered as the result of a disappointing performance or time. He is an inspiration to the team and me.

As a freshman, Lukas Marshall had the most oversized warm ups in program history. He could have easily fit into an extra-small, but all of his gear from his jacket to his pants was extra-large in size. When he was teased about it, his response to the hecklers was that his mom told him that he would “grow into them”. It seemed impossible; the clothing was just too big. As a junior racing in the state meet, the idea of Lukas breaking into our top five was just as over-sized and ridiculous as his freshmen attire. Except it wasn’t. When a teammate went down with a broken foot in the middle of the race, Lukas recognized that the team’s shot at a state trophy suddenly rested on his performance. He came up clutch and finished with a personal record to clinch our first cross country state trophy. He was even recognized by DyeStat Illinois as the best fifth man in 1A. The Rockford Christian uniform fits Lukas. It always has.

Ethan Volk is motivated by food. Times, places, and records don’t interest him. He’s not driven by performance. Ironically, he’s one of the most accomplished and fastest runners in program history. He’s not frustrated by bad weather, slow times, or an off day of racing; but tell this kid that there’s not enough post-race sandwiches to go around the team and you’d think the world was ending. Ethan was elbowed in the nose and finished a race an absolutely bloody mess running a personal record. A photo capturing the horrific sight was featured on the RunnerSpace Instagram and had 7,000 likes. He barely seemed to care. And yet, I once made a comment in jest that if the team ever won a state trophy, that I’d fill the bottom end of it up with soft serve ice cream. Ethan took my promise literally and just recently reiterated his misgivings regarding my integrity because I’ve yet to follow through on the state trophy sundae. Such is the duality and mystery of Ethan Volk. And I love him for it.

Nick Monkemeyer and I got off on the wrong foot almost immediately when he joined the team as a freshman. I inadvertently hurt his feelings because of miscommunication and lack of understanding of what makes him tick. It was the first problem the two of us confronted, analyzed, and overcame together. And that has been the formula of his successes both academic and athletic: identify the problem, understand the deficiency, and adopt a strategy to surmount it. He has become one of this program’s all-time greatest runners because of his tenacious personality, and he should be a Rockford Christian Athletic Hall of Fame inductee one day. I have enjoyed the pre- and post-race debates and analyses with him as much as I have enjoyed watching him dissect the course and competition. I have often commented to the media, spectators, and other coaches that he is an intelligent runner and a pleasure to coach.

Seniors, I will always believe in you. A friend for life… -Moore

The Rockford Christian varsity cross country team will compete next at the IHSA 2A Belvidere North Regional Meet on Saturday, October 24 at Spencer Park. Additional meet details, highlights, and results can be found on the RC You Know Facebook page and @rcyouknow on Twitter.


School Place Points
Rockford Christian High School