Bryan Wasberg

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 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.”

Rockford water polo opens conference play with win

September 23, 2010 // 0 Comments

Rockford’s boys water polo team began defense of their OK conference crown last Wednesday, Sept. 15, with a convincing win over Zeeland. The Rams have won or shared the conference championship for the past 17 years, longer than most of this year’s players have been alive! The team traveled to Zeeland to square off against a strong, fast, senior-led Zeeland squad, who was ranked eighth in the state. After a slow first quarter, Rockford opened the second with two quick goals. The Rams pushed the score to 5-2 at the half and held on for a 7-4 victory. Senior captain Jeff Schmitt set the defensive tone, recording four of the team’s 19 steals. Juniors Bryan Wasberg and Eric Chisholm led the scoring with two goals each. “I was very pleased with our team’s performance,” said Coach Dave McWatters. “We practiced hard the two days before the game, preparing for our long-term goals, so we were very tired for the Zeeland game. Zeeland is a very talented team, but we were able to tough out the win under challenging circumstances—another step forward.” “Going into the game, we knew we had to focus on doing what we do best,” said Schmitt. “We feel good about the way we played and about the results.” Over the weekend, Sept. 17-18, Rockford entered East Kentwood’s Falcon Invite, which found them in a bracket that featured four of the top five teams in the state. Friday night, Rockford—ranked second in the state—renewed their rivalry against East Kentwood—ranked fourth in the state. Rockford scored early and often, and displayed a suffocating defense. The result was an impressive 10-4 Ram victory. Ball movement was a key to the Ram scoring, with their 10 goals—including three each by Schmitt and Chisholm—coming on eight assists, including four by Wasberg. “We really wanted to beat East Kentwood this week, and were able to do so with a total team effort,” noted Schmitt. Saturday morning found the top two teams in the state, undefeated Ann Arbor Huron and Rockford, locked up in a nail-biter. The teams were tied at the half, but Huron opened the second half with two goals. Rockford responded with three of their own, and carried a 6-5 advantage into the fourth quarter. But […]

Rockford’s Swim/Dive Team Wins OK Red Conference Title

March 5, 2009 // 0 Comments

by DENISE WEBB How sweet it is to taste victory as the underdog! As West Michigan media favored Grandville as the next winner of the OK Red swimming and diving conference title, Rockford had much to prove as it entered the waters of the Jenison Aquatic Center during preliminaries on Friday, Feb. 27, followed by the final heats on Saturday, Feb. 28. After a two-day battle filled with nonstop excitement against some of West Michigan’s top swimmers and divers from East Kentwood, Grand Haven, Grandville, Hudsonville, Jenison and West Ottawa, the Rams won by 56.5 points. Even though the Rams eventually won by a respectable margin, the score of the 12-event meet was always fluctuating, keeping Rams fans on the edge of their seats. A prime example was when Rockford was down 11 points after the eighth event, and then fought back only to tie Grandville after the ninth and tenth events. The moment of the meet that “sealed the deal” came when junior Brian Ginebaugh, freshman Bryan Wasberg and seniors Andrew Sakala and Guy Gordon placed 1-2-3-7, respectively, in the 100-yard breaststroke, the 11th event, earning the Rams enough points to enter the 12th, and final, event with an untouchable lead. As Gordon touched the wall and quickly looked at the scoreboard, he said he was “ecstatic” to learn that his teammates placed 1-2-3, and his time qualified him to compete at the state level in two weeks. “All the hard work paid off!” he expressed. The competition overall was extremely fierce at the conference meet. Several swimmers from all seven schools secured state qualifying times. Throughout the two-day meet, approximately 80 percent of Rockford’s extraordinary team swam or dove personal bests, resulting in 27 individual conference medals. The Rockford medal holders are: seniors Tyler Augustine (four medals), Gordon (one), diver Quinton Rodriguez (one) and Sakala (four); juniors Derik Bothma (four), Alex Devries (three), Ginebaugh (four), diver Tyler Johnson (one) and Connor Thelen (one); and freshmen Josh Travis (two) and Wasberg (four). “This team’s seniors have come a long way since their freshman year,” said Assistant Coach Don Seifert. “Their progress has been exceptional, and their win has been an incredible achievement.” “This year’s team is one of the most aggressive I have ever […]

Rockford Swim/Dive Defeated by One Point

February 19, 2009 // 0 Comments

Rockford 157, West Ottawa 158 by DENISE WEBB There wasn’t a shortage of excitement on Thursday, Feb. 12, as the Rockford and West Ottawa swim and dive teams walked onto the natatorium deck, both undefeated. As bodies, arms, legs and water flew for more than two hours, the winner of the evening remained a mystery until the very last seconds of the meet. The concluding results, unfortunately, didn’t favor Rockford. The Rams lost to West Ottawa by the smallest of margins, 157-158. “It was anyone’s meet,” said Coach Tom Parks. “Like Rockford, West Ottawa’s team has depth and a very talented bench. We upset West Ottawa in some key events, but they surprised us with major wins in others. Bottom line: it was a great effort by both teams.” Throughout the meet, the overall score remained uncomfortably close. Many events ended with only a few hundredths of a second separating first and second place, such as the match-up between Max Olson of West Ottawa (49.92) and Tyler Augustine of Rockford (49.98) in the 100-yard freestyle. During the first three events, the Rams held a slight advantage of 12 points, but following the fourth event (50-yard freestyle), the score had dropped to Rockford 54, West Ottawa 51. From that point on, the score remained intensely consistent with only a slight difference. Throughout the last four events, West Ottawa and Rockford flip-flopped for the lead. Going into the final event, the 400-freestyle relay, Rockford was down by three points, 147-150. To win, the Rams had to place either first and second or first and third. The relay team of Augustine, Alex Devries, Andrew Sakala and Bryan Wasberg placed first, but West Ottawa’s deep bench of energized freestylers unfortunately out-swam Rockford for second and third places. When reviewing the stats, it becomes clear that many swimmers from both teams swam personal bests, and several swimmers finished in state-qualifying times. Of the 12 events, eight had the first-place winner swimming a state-qualifying time, and of these eight, five had the second-place finisher also securing a state cut. “Yes, there was a lot of speed demonstrated at this meet,” said Sakala. “West Ottawa’s team has gained a tremendous amount of depth, after losing only a few key seniors from last […]

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