by CINDY M. CRANMER
Some Rockford players recently were named to the All-American teams honoring them with national recognition in the sport of water polo.
Rockford High School boys and girls both have had many successful seasons in their history.
During the last 12 years, the high school boys’ team won eight of 12 state championships.
Dave McWatters, who is the Rockford High School boys coach, was instrumental in starting a girls’ water polo team at Rockford as well. A former player, Scott Boltz, who was the goalie during the first state championship in 2000, now is the girls’ team coach.
Water polo combines the elements of many other sports played in the water.
The sport has elements of soccer, lacrosse, basketball, hockey and swimming.
Each team has a goalie and six field players, who all swim throughout the game played in a deep pool, and try to score on the other goal. Players can only use one hand to field the ball or pass other than the goalie.
Two members of both the Rockford High School boys’ team and girls’ team recently were named to the All-American teams.
“This is quite an honor to make All-American,” McWatters said. “These are great awards.”
“This is an accomplishment all four of them should be proud of,” McWatters said.
While Rockford now has 30 students who have made the boys All-American teams, McWatters said it is still an honor chosen for team members by opposing coaches nominations. Boltz said about 20 girls have made the All-American teams in Rockford’s history.
“We don’t want to lose sight that each one has taken a lot of work to earn,” McWatters said. “This is an honor and accomplishment for these students.”
Eric Chisholm, a graduating senior in 2012, made the first team this year.
There are five All-American teams with about 22 players listed per team or approximately 110 people who are honored. The first team would be the top players in the nation.
“So, it’s fair to say Eric is one of the top 22 players in the nation,” McWatters said.
Chisholm, who was named as an All-American last year as well, will be attending Michigan State University on a swimming scholarship.
Justin Hulsebus, who will be a senior, was named to the second All-American team.
Adrianna Craft was named to the second team and Casey Wolfer to the third team.
Different coaches have noticed these four players who were nominated for their “quality of play,” McWatters said.
“She is one of the hardest workers you’ll find out there in girls’ water polo,” Boltz said of Craft. “This is a well deserved honor.”
Craft will be a senior this year. “She’s a great center,” Boltz said.
Wolfer completed her senior year and will be a freshman at the University of Michigan. She received her second All-American team honor.
“On top of being a great athlete, she is great at academics,” Boltz said. “She’s very, very smart in addition to playing selflessly in water polo.”
Boltz said Wolfer would give up her personal statistics if it somehow benefited the other players and the team during matches.
“They’re both great girls and they worked really well together,” Boltz said.
Craft and Wolfer contributed to the Rockford High School girls’ team winning the state championship.
“These players all work hard. This is a chance for them to be recognized by others,” Boltz said.