BY DAVE PEDERSEN
SUN PRESS NEWSPAPERS
Rockford handed out track and field team awards, including to Jordan O’Reilly and Abby Botten as Most Valuable Players.
O’Reilly finished third at the state boys meet in the 300-meter hurdles. Coach Andrew Kahler said the junior may have placed higher than any Rocket track athlete in school history. He also was part of the state 4×400 relay.
Also at the team awards banquet, junior Kenny Gilb was named most improved. He ran on the state 4×100 team. Coach Andrew Kahler said Gilb “was one of the fastest people on our team and really came into his own this year.”
Senior Zach Guthrie was presented the Rocket Award for being a leader and putting in the hard work. The captain was part of the state 4×100 and 4×400 teams and “really motivated the other guys to work hard.”
Rookie of the year was junior Thomas Hayden, who was part of the state 4×100 and 4×400 teams.
“The coaches and I did not know who our fourth runner on many of our relays would be and Thomas stepped into that role and never looked back,” said Kahler about the transfer from St. Louis Park.
For the girls, junior Jordan Weeding was MVP for earning the greatest amount of letter points. She qualified for sections in the 100 and 300 hurdles, high jump and was on the 4×100 relay.
Junior Abby Botten was named most improved after placing eighth at state in the 1600-meter run. Seventh-grader Hailey Zimmer was Rookie of the year.
The Rocket Award went to sophomore Emily Eberspacher. Kahler adds, “Emily worked hard at practice every day and didn’t complain. She volunteered to run events that other people didn’t want to run and always had a positive attitude.”
Kahler said the team has “an incredible incoming senior class next year with five of our six state qualifiers returning. I am expecting big things from this group.”