Six Ram water polo players earn All American recognition

Three women and three men honored.

 

Kara Vandawater

Kara Vandawater

Adrianna Craft

Adrianna Craft

Ellie Raymond

Ellie Raymond

Grant Beach

Grant Beach

Justin Hulsebus

Justin Hulsebus

Nick Willison

Nick Willison

The Rockford men’s and women’s water polo programs have had a memorable year. The tradition at Rockford High School is for the polo teams to memorializing their state title success by spelling out “State Champions” with Styrofoam cups in the fence along Kroes Road. In November, the men’s team capped off a perfect 50-0 season by capturing the state title. In June, the women capped their 28-1 season by capturing the women’s state title. Both teams decorated the fence this year. Rockford and water polo success have been linked in the state of Michigan.

Water Polo is a team sport with seven players in the pool at a time. Rockford has a rich tradition of talented individuals playing as part of successful teams. Six of those gifted individuals have been recognized by the USA Water Polo Association as ‘All American’ for the 2012-2013 seasons. The three young women honored are Adrianna Craft, Ellianna Raymond and Kara Vandawater. The three young men honored are Grant Beach, Justin Hulsebus, and Nick Willison.

Arianna Craft finished an impressive senior year garnering 1st team All-State, State season MVP and State tournament Most Outstanding player honors and will take her talents to play water polo at Cal State Monterrey Bay. Ellianna earned 1st team All-State season honors and set the career saves in the goal for Rockford women’s polo. She plans to attend Northern Michigan University. Kara is a junior who earned 1st team all-state season and 1st team all-state tournament honors. Her All American credentials will be a cornerstone of the lady Rams next season.

Grant Beach led the state in scoring while earning 1st team all state and 1st team all-state tournament honors and will play water polo at Grand Valley State University next year. Justin Hulsebus captured 1st team all state honors and will play polo at GVSU next year. Willison captured 1st team all state and will swim and play polo at Washington and Jefferson College.

Men’s coach Dave McWatters is impressed with these young men and women.  “Although I do not know who might keep these kinds of statistics, but in my coaching experience I do not know of one high school in one school year honoring six All-Americans (six boys and six girls) in the same sport!  It’s a tremendous achievement for the Rockford community!” Women’s coach Scott Voltz added that, “these three young ladies exemplify the work ethic, passion and sacrifice needed to propel a team to success. They are outstanding examples for younger players coming up in the program.”

Plaques will be permanently displayed honoring each All American in the Rockford High School pool.

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