Gerry is a 1996 graduate of Grand Haven High School, where he competed in both cross country in track. He then went on to run cross country, and indoor & outdoor track at Grand Valley State University from 1996-2000 where he served as team captain. His coaching career began at Spring Lake High School, where he served 3 years as the boys middle school track coach and then went on to work as the distance coach for both the boys and girls varsity track teams. Gerry helped Spring Lake’s top female runner at the time achieve a regional championship in the 3200m run.
Following his final season at Spring Lake, Gerry began a teaching career at Creative Technologies Academy in Cedar Springs, where he worked as the high school science teacher. In 2008, he built the school’s first ever cross country team and served as head coach for boys and girls, 6th-12th grade. Starting from very humble beginnings, over the next few years the cross country family at CTA grew closer through determination, hard work, and dedication. Hard work paid off in 2011, when the CTA varsity girls earned a 2nd place finish at the Michigan Class D State Cross Country Championships. Throughout his time at CTA, the boys team had three top 15 finishes in the state and one top 5 finish, while the girls team had one top 15, two top 10, and one top 5 finish. The runners under him at the high school level earned numerous All-Conference and All-State honors, but he was most proud of the values preached and practiced: sportsmanship, serving others, kindness, and leading by example on and off the course.
Coach Verwey is married to his wife Jennifer, and they reside in Ravenna, MI. He currently works as a high school physics teacher at Kent Innovation High in Grand Rapids, and his hobbies include trail running, road racing, ultimate Frisbee, fishing, and exploring nature.
Aaron Kenemer is a passionate coach, teacher, husband, father, and son. His life reflects building positive relationships with others. Sports, particularly cross country, have been a great avenue to build lasting connections with athletes, friends and coaches.
Aaron graduated from Zeeland High School in 2003. During his time there, he participated in a variety of sports, but did not pursue his passion in running cross country and track until his senior year. His interest and success led him to the desire to run cross country and track at Hope College, where he attended from 2003-2007. Aaron participated in NCAA D3 Nationals for track in 2003 and 2004 and served as team captain in both sports his senior year. Aaron graduated Hope with a degree in Elementary Ed. with an emphasis in Language Arts.
In the summer of 2007, Aaron was hired as the 5th grade teacher at Creative Technologies Academy (CTA) in Cedar Springs. Not only would this be the place that fostered Aaron’s growth as a professional teacher, it also provided opportunities to help build and coach several sports programs. Under the leadership of fellow teacher, Gerry Verwey, Aaron was a part of the process of building the first cross country program in the school’s history for girls and boys in grades 6-12. In addition to serving as the assistant coach in cross country, Aaron also coached CTA’s varsity boys basketball team for several years. Aaron taught at CTA from 2007-2013.
In 2013, Aaron was hired to teach back into the district he grew up going to, Zeeland. He is still currently teaching 3rd grade at Woodbridge Elementary.
Aaron’s passion for coaching has opened doors to many other opportunities. Also in 2013, he was hired to start and coach Kuyper College’s first cross country program for both men and women. During his time at Kuyper, he saw 6 different athletes qualify and compete at the NCCAA cross country national championship.
Each spring, Aaron continues to help out with the girls and boys distance program for track at Zeeland West High School. Much to the credit of the athletes and fellow coaches, Aaron has been a part of several boys and girls conference championship teams, two boy’s MITCA team-state division 2 championship teams, and one MIAA state championship team.
Aaron is eager to work with the dedicated and inspired athletes that Grace has been known to have. He hopes to gain as much from his experience here as he is to offer to the program.