Alex Savage

Rockford dominates own swim/dive invitational

January 19, 2012 // 0 Comments

While the atmosphere was cold and dreary outside, the Rams—along with five area teams—were turning up the heat inside with some strong performances at the Rockford Invitational meet on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 6-7. Rockford showed their dominance in the pool by scoring almost 300 points ahead of second-place East Kentwood. The final scores of the meet were Rockford 680, East Kentwood 388, West Ottawa 359, Jenison 333, Spring Lake 273, and Grand Haven 232. The Rockford divers faced fierce competition on Friday night when West Ottawa’s Jordan Welling, an All American qualifier, ran away with the lead, grabbing 422.60 points. Ram diver Shane Phillips earned fifth place with 310.90 points, followed by Devin Rittenhouse in seventh (291.65), Mitch Rodema in eighth (288.65), and freshman Nate Isley in 15th place (191.10). In the first event of the day on Saturday morning, the 200-yard medley relay, Rockford’s senior captains Eric Chisholm, Josh Travis and Bryan Wasberg, along with sophomore Craig Wasberg, energized the crowd by breaking the pool record in a time of 1:36.90. Hours later, the same four swimmers seized one of the fastest times in Division I so far this season with their 200-yard free relay state-qualifying swim of 1:27.64, barely missing breaking another pool record by only .50. E. Chisholm continued to entertain the fans with his incredible individual performance in the 50-yard free (21.12), just .03 seconds away from taking down another pool record. He continued his winning streak in the 100-yard free by touching the wall first in 47.85 seconds. Junior Mike Arend grabbed the eighth individual state cut for the Rams so far this season with his second-place finish in the 500-yard free (4:56.71), behind first-place Grand Haven swimmer Takuya Kobayaski (4:53.66). B. Wasberg added the ninth, with his 50-yard state-qualifying lead-off swim in the 200-yard free relay (22.53). Rockford claimed numerous points when junior Nick Willison won the 100-yard back event (55.82), improving on his original state time in that event. Travis pulled in second with 57.01. C. Wasberg led the way in the 200-yard individual medley (2:03.82), followed by Willison in second (2:05.93). In the final event of the day, the 400-yard free relay team of Mike Arend, Harrison Webb, Willison and Trenton Babcock gained even more points […]

Rockford men’s water polo fields 10 Academic All Americans

September 29, 2011 // 0 Comments

The Rockford men’s water polo team excels in the classroom as well as in the pool. Rockford Public Schools is honored to announce that 10 team members have been selected as Academic All Americans for the 2010-2011 school year. Dan Zang, Rockford High School principal, stated, “We are very proud of these fine young men and this very prestigious recognition. We wish them continued success in polo and so appreciate their commitment to excellence in the classroom.” To qualify for this honor, the selectees must have participated in a national water polo event. The Rockford Aquatic Club traveled to California this past summer to compete against teams from around the United States in the Water Polo Junior Olympics. Nominees must carry a minimum 3.6 GPA. Water polo coach Dave McWatters is very proud of the 10 students. “These young men represent the best of the Rockford student-athlete: succeeding in the classroom and in athletic competition. They are great role models for younger kids who want to accomplish great things both academically and athletically.” Gaining the honors are seniors Cody Brown, Eric Chisholm, Nick Dulak, Mac Finnie, Allyn Kinney and Alex Savage. Juniors honored are Mike Arend, Grant Beach, Corey Fase and Nick Willison. Further recognition goes to Arend, Beach, Dulak, Finnie, Kinney and Willison, who made “outstanding” recognition, which is carrying a GPA above 4.0. The water polo team has currently compiled a 19-1 record and is a model program in the state of Michigan. Superintendent of Rockford Public Schools Dr. Michael Shibler congratulates the team on their success and the 10 academic honorees. “The Rockford High School men’s water polo program is considered one of the most successful in the state of Michigan, if not the Midwest. This is because of our outstanding coaches, parent support, and our student-athletes, who excel in the classroom and in the pool. Without hesitation, I believe our men’s water polo program to be a ‘point of pride’ for the Rockford community.” Following are the plans of the senior recipients: • Cody Brown expects to attend Grand Rapids Community College for pre-med. • Eric Chisholm expects to attend Mercyhurst in Pennsylvania to study criminal justice. • Nick Dulak expects to attend Michigan Tech University to pursue engineering. • Mac […]

Rockford boys water polo prepares to defend state title

September 1, 2011 // 0 Comments

Boys water polo season is underway, and Rockford is off to a solid start with an 8-1 record. The Rams won a tournament hosted by East Lansing the weekend of August 19-20, and finished second in their own tournament the weekend of August 26-27. At the East Lansing tournament, the Rams defeated Ann Arbor Skyline and three top teams from Ohio (Columbus St. Charles, Toledo St. Francis, and Upper Arlington). At their own tournament, Rockford defeated Okemos, Jenison, Birmingham Seaholm, and Ann Arbor Pioneer, before losing to the River Rats of Ann Arbor Huron in the finals. This early season success isn’t necessarily a surprise. Having lost only four graduating seniors from the team that won the last two state championships, the Rams are expected to be a very good team this year. But those high expectations bring with them some additional challenges. “Every team will play their best against us,” assured Coach Dave McWatters. “We’ll be working this year to develop the mental toughness required of a team that everyone is aiming for.” Senior captain Alex Savage thinks the team is ready for the challenge. “We don’t mind having a target on our backs,” he said, “because the pressure will force us to become a better team. We want to become a strong team—a relentless team—that plays aggressively on both offense and defense.” Rockford’s other senior captain, All-American Eric Chisholm, hopes the team develops a solid reputation around the state. “We want to be known as a team that never gives up or slows down, that keeps attacking, and that always plays aggressively,” he said. One of the team’s greatest assets this year is its tremendous depth. With a full varsity roster of 20 experienced players, the Rams will often be able to enter two teams in weekend tournaments in order to give more players quality playing time. Coach McWatters said, “I’m thankful to the school administration for the support that allows us to develop depth by entering multiple teams in top tournaments against the best teams. We’re benefiting this year from all the playing time the boys received last year.” Chisholm added, “Our depth is really helpful because whenever the starters need rest we can put in another wave of players that we […]

Rams repeat as state water polo champs

November 18, 2010 // 0 Comments

The dynasty continues. Rockford entered the Michigan Water Polo Association state championships at West Zeeland, who was ranked fourth in the state, on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 12-13. But by the time the final whistle blew, the Rams were once again on top, claiming their second consecutive state championship, their seventh in eight years, and their eighth in 11 years. Four Rams received All State honors. Junior Bryan Wasberg and senior Jeff Schmitt were named second team All State, while junior Eric Chisholm and senior Pat Fase were named first team All State. In addition, Fase’s stellar goalie play throughout the weekend earned him a share of the tournament’s Most Valuable Player award. “I’m so proud of every member of the team,” beamed Fase. “We had a small senior class to provide leadership, but it was the underclassmen, including the entire bench, who did the hard work it took to win the championship.” Rockford opened the tournament with a convincing 9-2 win against a scrappy team from Ann Arbor Pioneer. Six different Rams scored goals, including two each by Wasberg, Chisholm and junior Alex Savage. But it was the Ram defense, led by Chisholm with three steals, and Fase’s goaltending that made the difference. In the semifinals, Rockford squared off against the top ranked team in the state, Ann Arbor Huron. The River Rats feature the state’s top scorer, senior David Hasegan, the other co-MVP of the tournament. Rockford jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the first period. But Huron, on the strength of two quick goals by Hasegan, stormed back to take the lead in the second. After a Rockford timeout, Chisholm drove to the net, took a pass from Savage, and flipped in an amazing no-look shot to tie the score. The next time down the pool, Chisholm found Schmitt open for a score that restored the Rockford lead. Huron scored three more goals, but Rockford answered each time, and hung on for an 8-7 victory. The story of the game was the team’s defense on Hasegan. Wasberg wrestled with him for most of the game, with Chisholm sprinting back on defense to help out, collecting five steals for his efforts. And when the defense didn’t hold, Fase made several brilliant stops […]

Rockford water polo achieves academic success

November 11, 2010 // 0 Comments

As they prepare to defend their state water polo title on November 12, thirteen Rockford Rams took time out to receive Academic All State honors from the Michigan Water Polo Association (MWPA). Eight of the honorees are juniors: Cody Brown, Nick Dulak, Mac Finnie, Allyn Kinney, Alex Savage, Matt Vermeer, Josh Waldvogel and Bryan Wasberg. Five are sophomores: Mike Arend, Trenten Babcock, Grant Beach, Corey Fase, and Nick Willison. “We are proud of our student-athletes at Rockford High School,” said Athletic Director Tim Erickson. “Notice the word ‘student’ precedes the word ‘athlete.’ That is our philosophy: student first. Coach McWatters and the water polo team provide a perfect example of this philosophy.” MWPA Academic All State athletes must have a 3.75 cumulative grade-point average (GPA) after completing at least a full year of high school. All 13 boys meet that benchmark; several of them with a GPA higher than 4.0. “We are very proud of the student participation rate in our Rockford High School athletic program,” noted Principal Dan Zang. “More important than the scoreboard, conference standings, and pursuit of state championships, however, is our students’ performance in the classroom. We are fortunate to have student-athletes who truly understand that classroom performance is more important than what happens in the playing arena. Having our coaches appreciate and value this perspective is vitally important as well.” Coach Dave McWatters agreed, “Half of our team is Academic All State! This achievement represents our greatest hope for these young men: that their experience as part of Rockford water polo will enrich their lives long after they graduate. These young men and others are able to respond to the demands of the sport and also achieve academic excellence. That will serve them well for years to come.”

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