The Rockford men’s water polo team opened its eagerly anticipate 2012 season at home, August 17-18, by winning the Rockford Invitational tournament. Rockford fielded two teams and competed against six other teams from around the state. Rockford Orange went 5-0, defeating Okemos, Ann Arbor Skyline, Dexter and Ann Arbor Pioneer and then clinched the tournament, defeating Jenison in the championship game 7-2. Senior leadership paced the Rams. Nick Willison sparked the team with his all round play, scoring 15 while tallying 11 assists. Grant Beach led the scoring for the tournament with 18 goals. Goalie Cory Fase had 39 saves while allowing only 15 goals during the entire tournament. Fase commented, “This tournament was a nice opportunity to play together and gauge where we are as a team early in the season.” The next test would be as the Rams traveled to the east side of the state to participate in the Ann Arbor Early Bird Invitational tournament. Nine teams competed in the Ann Arbor tournament, including Upper Arlington and Toledo St. Francis, both traveling from Ohio. Hudsonville and the Rams of Rockford represented the west side of the state. Rounding out the remaining five teams were Ann Arbor Huron, Ann Arbor Pioneer, Okemos, Dexter and Birmingham Groves. Hudsonville opened the tournament with a 7-2 victory over Ann Arbor Pioneer. The Rams opened by playing last year’s rival, the only team to defeat them during the entire year, Ann Arbor Huron. Rockford went down early 0-2, but then the Ram seniors took over, led by three goals from hole-setter Beach and two sweet “shovel” shot goals by Mike Arend. The Rams swam away with an 8-3 victory. Beach and Arend combined for six of the team’s eight goals. Arend said, “It felt really great to contribute and have a strong game against Huron.” In the second game, Rockford faced Upper Arlington. Rockford team depth proved too much for the Ohio team, as the Rams dominated with a 7-2 victory. Beach indicated that Friday was a good test for the Rams. “In the first game we were down two quickly and worked as a team to win, while the second game against Arlington was a great contest for the depth of our team to shine,” he […]
August 30 2012
by RANDY GREGORY After coming up a 16-6 loser in their opening contest against Lowell last week, the Rockford football team looks to right the ship this week. The Rams will journey to Holt on Thursday, August 30 to face off against the Rams of Holt in a 7:00 p.m. contest. Holt began the season by outlasting another OK Red foe as they squeaked by Hudsonville 24-21 in a contest played at Hudsonville. The teams met for the first time in 2006 but have made up for lost time by meeting five other times since that first meeting. Rockford holds a four-games-to-two edge in the series, but the games have been very competitive nearly every time. Last year Rockford thumped Holt 42-7 at Rockford. Probably the most noteworthy win for Holt was in 2009 when, after losing to Rockford 34-10 early in the regular season, Holt rallied for a 27-13 win in the Division I regional at Rockford to stun an undefeated Rockford squad. Rockford has won convincingly a few times in the series, but posted a comeback 27-24 triumph of their own against Holt in 2010. Junior running back Ty Glover ran for over 1,300 yards as a sophomore and leads an impressive Holt offense. Holt returns 13 starters (five offense, eight defense) total for a team that won a share of the Capital Area Activities Conference Blue title last year. They also bring in a junior class that went a perfect 9-0 last year. Holt is coached by Al Slamer, who is in his fifth season as the head coach and features a career record of 156-87 including a 21-year stint as the head coach at Battle Creek Central. “That number 20 [Glover] is extremely physical and quick at running back for Holt,” said Munger. “They had a bit of a struggle throwing the ball last year, but they have a quarterback who can really wing it this year. They are a big, physical team and we are expecting a real battle again this year.” On the injury front for Rockford, it is a week-to-week proposition. Rockford is hopeful that several of the walking wounded will return, but it is “wait and see,” according to Munger. “We have a few kids going in […]
by CINDY M. CRANMER Two of Rockford’s boys water polo teams recently participated in the USA Water Polo Junior Olympics, which took place in California. The top 84 teams in the nation played at the event. Rockford finished 41st out of the 84 teams in the 16-and-under category, while they finished 45th of the 84 teams in the 18-and-under category. “We had a great time,” said Coach Dave McWatters. “We’ve been going about 10 years. We learn from the best teams in the nation.” Rockford needed to qualify in order to participate in the USA Water Polo Junior Olympics. The best finish they had was 19th in 2004. The Midwest Qualifying Tournament takes place in mid-June, where the top teams in each age group qualify to attend the Junior Olympics. Rockford finished third in the 16-and-under age category and second in the 18-and-under category. The boys played against teams put together from the entire Midwest region, including Ohio, Illinois, Missouri and Michigan. The top four places in each age bracket qualify to go to the Junior Olympics. “It was great weather in California,” McWatters said. “We were able to watch and learn from some of the best athletes in the United States. Some of these athletes could compete in the Olympics in the future.” Each team played seven games of which Rockford won three and lost four. McWatters said their teams were “very competitive” in playing, losing by only a small number of goals. He said the California teams always are in the top places since they can play year-round outside with the weather. “They certainly dominate the sport,” he said. Some area high schools sent players to Rockford’s team to be a part of a unifying experience and to play. 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. “This is the largest water polo tournament in the world,” McWatters said. He said there are […]
The Rams’ talented senior class firmly took hold of the leadership mantle Saturday, taking eight of the top 11 places and winning the upperclassman race of the Rockford Invitational cross country meet. Rockford’s Austin Benoit and Drew Woznick led most of the race, but in the end, it was their teammate Casey Aman who took the tape with a winning time of 16:50. Benoit finished second, Woznick finished third and Chris Coles finished in fifth place. Next across the line for Rockford was the remainder of the Aman brother trio, with Grant in sixth place and Tyler in eighth place. Fellow Ram seniors Mark Cruickshank and Caleb Cuneo finished in 10th and 11th place, respectively. The Rams also won the underclassman race, allowing Rockford to win the overall invitational tile. Leading the way for the Rams was freshman Isaac Harding, who took second, followed by teammates Mitch Switzer (fourth), Colin Reichenbach (fifth), Connor Johnson (sixth), Grayson Harding (eighth), Ben Parsell (ninth) and Grant Gabriel (10th). The Rams’ next competition is the Bath Invitational to be held on September 8.
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, […]