Rockford hosts water polo districts

The Rams focus their efforts on the district tournament this week at Rockford High School.	Photo by GORDON PETERSON

The Rams focus their efforts on the district tournament this week at Rockford High School. Photo by GORDON PETERSON

The West Michigan boys water polo postseason begins this weekend at the Rockford High School pool. The Rams host the two district championships of the Michigan Water Polo Association’s (MWPA) west region. The top four teams in each district will move on to the regional championship.

The MWPA west region consists of 10 teams in two districts. The west district comes in seeded as follows: Grand Haven (first), Hudsonville (second), West Ottawa (third), Zeeland (fourth), and Jenison (fifth). In the east district we find Grandville (first), Rockford (second), East Kentwood (third), East Grand Rapids/Catholic Central (fourth), and Portage (fifth).

Rockford’s pool will be rocking as players and coaches, as well as families and fans, pull out all the stops for this win-or-go-home portion of the season. Action begins Friday night at 5:00 p.m. and continues throughout the day on Saturday. By virtue of its second seed, Rockford advances directly to the east district semifinals, competing against East Kentwood Saturday morning at 9:15.

Eight of the 10 teams will move on to the regionals. For those eight teams, the districts are about jockeying for seeding position. At regionals a team must win its first game to move on to the state championship; the higher seeds from districts play lower seeds in that first game at regionals. With such great competitive balance in the state this year, there is no easy path to a district, regional or state championship. All the top teams have lost multiple games against other top teams. A team’s seeding from districts might provide the edge they need for a run at the state title.

The Rams enter the postseason with a 23-11 overall record, having won the OK conference championship despite tough non-conference losses to some of the state’s best teams. They look for a strong showing in the districts as they begin their quest for another state water polo championship. Being in their home pool with supportive fans could make a huge difference.

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