Rockford seeks seventh state water polo title

he district champion Rockford Rams

The district champion Rockford Rams compete for the state water polo championship Nov. 13-14. Photo by GORDON PETERSON

The Rockford water polo team will head to Seaholm High School in Birmingham Friday afternoon, Nov. 13, to compete in the Michigan Water Polo Association (MWPA) state championship. The Rams have won six state water polo titles in the past, including five in a row from 2003 to 2007. They will have to play their best to bring home the trophy this year.

“In order to win, we’ll have to play three great games,” cautioned Coach Dave McWatters. “There are a lot of good teams and players in the state this year. Each game will be an incredible challenge, but that’s what a state tournament is all about.”

The Rams open the tournament at 7:45 p.m. Friday against Birmingham Groves. Rockford took third place in the west region, and Groves took second in the east. Groves was the preseason number one team in the state. After a rocky start to their season, they’re beginning to live up to the preseason hype. Rockford, on the other hand, entered the season with a young team and a lot of question marks. The Rams have proven that when they play their best they can beat the top teams in the state. But they’ve also learned that when they don’t, those competitors will come out on top.

“We finished regionals playing well,” affirmed McWatters. “In the fourth quarter of our final game, we staged one of the best comebacks ever for Rockford water polo. The boys showed a great deal of confidence and resilience. We plan to carry those qualities with us to state.”

According to senior captain Derik Bothma, the Rams are looking forward to seeing what they can do at state. “We’re going in as underdogs. We’ve surprised some teams this year and hope to do so at state. We’ll give it everything we’ve got!”

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