- God is my judge
Dan traveled all the way to Des Moines, Iowa to compete in the AAU Junior Olympic Games, including the track & field Nationals. He competed in 1500m, finishing 50th, and in Long Jump, finishing 35th. Very proud of his achievements first time round! [Aug 2018]
Long Jump Star
After initially joining to run distance, Dan tried Long Jump just five days before the Districts in Detroit. He qualified in 4th, and then at the Regionals he led the competition from first to fifth rounds, and finally dropped to second in the final round.
He also managed to qualify for AAU Nationals (Junior Olympic Games) in the 1500m. [Jul 2018]
Cleaning Up The Track
An amazing GRPS elementary track & field season for Dan! In eleven events he picked up nine awards! In four 800m runs he finished 2nd three times and 3rd once, in consistent times between 3:12 and 3:15. In his last three races he managed to beat his Midwest team-mate each time, but only by one place. In three 200m runs he finished 2nd, 3rd and 4th. In two standing long jump competitions he finished 4th twice. His only events without awards were a 100m and a softball throw. A perfect preparation for his first club track season! [Jun 2018]
At the annual awards night at Harrison Park, Dan picked up a plaque for best MAP math test score, a citizenship award, Read to Succeed, and one for perfect attendance.
As a result of the latter, he was put into a drawing and won a new bike and helmet! [May 2018]
Doubling up on Deuces
Dan’s track season got off to a flyer. Not only did he repeat his second place finish in the 800 meters from the end of last season, scraping 14 seconds off his PB, he also finished second in the 200 meters winning his heat comfortably! In the 800, he again finished behind Midwest United team-mate Liam Dezwaan, who bested him three times in the cross-country last fall before they had met. However, in the 200 Liam finished 5th despite winning his heat. Can he beat him on the track though? [May 2018]
Dan at the Double
Dan’s new team made a solid start to the U9 Division 3 season. He had a breakout performance in a 9-1 win over Fury FC, scoring two goals and assisting two more.
The team is unbeaten and top of the league entering the Memorial Day break, with 4 wins and 1 draw. [May 2018]
Promoted to Royal
Dan had a solid second season at Midwest United, playing for 2010 Boys White (2nd team) in U8 Div 2, playing keeper half the games and being the nominated free kick taker for the team, scoring three direct kicks including one as keeper! Despite his defensive role he scored five goals in the season, just one from open play. The team finished fourth with a 4-2-2 record. They lost by the odd goal at division winners Reeths Puffer and were unlucky to tie 3-3 at second-placed Alliance Shoreline in Ludington.
As a result of this performance, he was invited to play for 2010 Boys Royal (the age group’s 1st team) in the coming spring, a team which with its 7-1-0 record in Division 1 in the fall season will be playing up a year next time, giving him his first exposure to 7v7 league soccer. [Nov 2017]
Dan completed a hat-trick of second places in three different running disciplines this year with a 9 & Under category second place medal in his soccer club’s own 5K, the Medaling Monkey at Millennium Park. This was his 7th 5K of the year, with at least one more to come. [Nov 2017]
Dan returned to the 2nd/3rd grade cross-country course for his second year at the 800 meters distance, and after a solid 11th in the first run, racked up a 2nd and a 4th in school district meets, and a 3rd place in the invitational.
He was robbed of a shot at a first place ribbon when the final meet of the season was rained out. [Oct 2017]
Top of the League
Dan’s first season of GVSA play resulted in a U8 Boys Division 2 title! His team went 8-0-0 in their division behind some prolific scoring from Eliot Faber and Luca Farina. Dan scored a single goal having played in a mostly defensive role, sometimes playing keeper. All while playing up a year. [Jun 2017]
Second Place on the Track!
Dan’s first ever track season came early as a promoted second grader running against kids a year or two older than him. He started out learning the strategy and rules of the track with a couple of solid finishes in 7th and 9th. For his last race he had a plan. Get out early and run your own pace. He was 5th through the first bend, and drove on to take second place at the bell. He stretched the distance ahead of third to at least 50 meters by the time he rolled in with an amazing time of 3:28.76. His first ever placing ribbon in GRPS athletics! [Jun 2017]
River Bank Runner
Dan entered the River Bank Run along with his cousin Tyler, whom he’d given the running bug when he visited him at spring break. The 5K had 3,612 participants including 275 at age 13 and under. Both finished in great times, Dan just half a minute behind his older cousin in a finally ratified time of 27:16. He was the fastest male runner under 10 and the fastest runner of any at his age. His race time was given as the 67th percentile for his age. Adjusting for his age using a world standard of "age grading", he was the 8th best of 13 & under boys. [May 2017]
Dan was one of a small number of artists in the GRPS Citywide Art Show. About one student per class was selected across the entire city. His chosen theme of a vase of flowers included his own addition of a window. He also met his former Hill CDC classmate Vedette there! [May 2017]
Wrong Way Runner on TV
The story of Dan’s accidental 5K made it to the media, and Maranda invited him on to her TV show as a River Bank Run preview. He was definitely nervous, and caught himself on the monitors a couple of times. All in all though he said the right things to try to inspire other kids to take up running. Watch it here: WOTV/YouTube [May 2017]
Dan made his debut for Midwest United in the GVSA U8 Division 2, in an 8-7 win in Hastings. He was mostly used in a defensive role, occasionally taking forward positions when forwards were rested. Towards the end of the game he even went in goal for his fair share. The spring season sees training twice or three times a week, and 8 games in 9 weekends. [Apr 2017]
After running his first 1K in November, he signed up for a 1 Mile run in Hastings. Well, the volunteer didn’t spot him running towards the turning point so he just kept going on the 5K course! We sent a race director after him to find out where he was, and they reported he was going to finish the 5K race, and a 5th grader was running with him! He completed the course in 33:03, timed on his trusty Garmin Forerunner! They gave him a race number and t-shirt in retrospect as an apology and reward. He said to his running companion that he hopes we wouldn’t be mad at him! Of course not, dead proud more like! [Mar 2017]
Scholar of the Month
He skipped 1st grade, and has integrated well into his 2nd grade environment. He is a member of the Media Club on Wednesdays, and in December he was awarded Scholar of the Month by his school. [Dec 2016]
Back to the Spot
We wanted to get Dan back into a proper soccer club after the less formal environments of AYSO and the GRPS elementary programs. He had a tryout at Midwest United for their new U7/U8 teams, and was selected. He will train with their U8 Grey team at the Sports Spot from January, and play in games in the late spring. The training also includes agility training on Sundays at Cornerstone. [Dec 2016]
Dan’s cross-country season was closed out with a first crack at the Turkey Trot, his first road race. It was a 1K lap around the Van Andel Arena finishing on the arena floor. He put in a great time of 5:20 and wasn’t even puffing at the end! [Nov 2016]
Dan played his first school soccer, joining the GRPS elementary program. This gave him a very busy month with his cross-country practices and meets once a week, and soccer practice twice a week with games on Saturdays. Despite playing with players who were anything from a year to four years older than him, he gave a good account of himself and grabbed 6 goals in 4 games. [Oct 2016]
Dan’s second cross-country season was a complete one this time, with outstanding coaching. Now in 2nd grade he was running 800m instead of 400. Running against kids a year or two older, he was consistently in the middle of the pack, and improved his times across all five races, with the exception of one when he was just recovering from a cold. He started out with a time of 4:51, finishing the season three weeks later with 4:05. His second Invitational race and his second medal for a top 30 finish. [Oct 2016]
Back on the Pitch
Dan signed up for a spring soccer session at AYSO at the Kroc Center. Playing games outdoors for the first time ever! He only had a week training with Little Rascals outdoors before, but they never played any games. He's playing for team Blue. He opened his account against Orange with all four goals in a 4-1 win. [Apr 2016]
Top of the Class!
Dan’s school year has started off right. Along with many others at all grade levels he received this certificate tonight at a Thanksgiving dinner for awarded children and their parents. "In recognition of outstanding accomplishments and contributions". [Nov 2015]
Dan started a YDP session at Olé SC, an indoor soccer (futsal) program. He does practice on Thursdays and there are games on Saturday mornings. He even met up with a couple of familiar faces from Crew last year. In his first game against a River City Rascals team he scored all eight goals as his team won 8-5! He finished with 15 goals in three games. [Nov 2015]
Here’s Dan with a medal from his first ever cross-country meet! He lost a shoe about 50 yards in, but carried on without it to finish the 400m course in 25th place in a decent time. In his second and final meet of the season, a season cut short by a lack of a volunteer coach for the school, he put in a great run. Still waiting on details from the school athletic department. [Oct 2015]
Danny started attending Kindergarten at Harrison Park Elementary. His teachers are Mrs Smith and Miss Luke. The school is in our neighborhood, just a 10-minute walk away. They impressed us at the 'Kindergarten Here I Come' event in February with their plans for handling Dan’s talents. The school covers K-8 so he has plenty of opportunity to learn above his grade.
He spent the summer getting to know a dozen of our younger neighbors who all go to the same school. He tested at third grade math and second grade English in his initial tests on arrival. They are looking after his learning grade by giving him extra homework. [Sep 2015]
Dan was asked to be a mascot for Grand Rapids FC at their first ever home game. He got to walk out with Mark Barone, twin brother of his Crew coach Domenic. He was so happy! He got to be mascot one other time in the 2015 season. He led a few chants at games too, and became an honorary capo for the Grand Army! [Jul 2015]
Crew Yellow - or Black!
Danny practiced at GR Crew Juniors from April 2014 until May 2015. In the winter he played on Crew Yellow and then Crew Black, scoring 13 goals in 11 appearances. This is a pic of him after scoring his first goal! He enjoyed the different drills at practice, and in the games he gravitated to a defensive role. His favorite player is Michael Bradley of USA and Toronto FC. He’s moving on to a new team this winter.
Getting a Great Start on School
From September 2014 to June 2015, Danny attended pre-school under the Great Start Readiness Program at Hill Child Development Center, in the same building where his mom works for Bethlehem Lutheran Church. His teachers were Jessica and Amanda (a different one, not his mom). He made some good friends there and always enjoyed doing art in his free time.