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, […]
The Lady Rams headed into the regional tournament Friday, May 18 with high expectations and they certainly delivered. The girls won the regional title by defeating Grand Haven, Hudsonville and Zeeland in the finals. The first game against Grand Haven featured a fine team effort with goals from Marie Siegel, Adrianna Craft, Casey Wolfer, Maddie Levine and Kara Vandawater on their way to a 10-5 victory. This win set up a rematch with a difficult Hudsonville team. The Hudsonville team came ready to play and seemed very determined to knock off the Lady Rams. This was a back-and-forth game and really could have gone either way. But good teams find a way to win, and Rockford prevailed 6-5. A timely goal by Morgan Longberg as time was winding down in the fourth quarter sealed the win for the Rams. Other goals scored by the Rams in this game came from Craft, Vandawater and Levine. Several key saves by Ellianna Raymond helped to the game close. This win set up the final championship game against a fine Zeeland team. In the championship game against Zeeland it was evident from the start that the Rams would not be denied. By halftime Rockford had a commanding 4-2 lead with goals coming from Levine, Siegel, Vandawater and Craft. In the second half the ladies continued their success from the first half and cruised to a 7-2 victory. Second-half goals from Craft, Longberg and Levine ensured a Ram victory. Winning this tournament puts the Lady Rams in great position for the upcoming state tournament in Lansing. Regional tournament honors for Rockford went to Craft, Wolfer, Raymond and Vandawater. The Lady Rams then headed to the state tournament in Lansing the weekend of June 1 and 2. Expectations have been set very high for this team after claiming the number-one ranking in the state early in the year. The first game, played on Friday evening, was against Ann Arbor Huron. This team is a perennial powerhouse in girls water polo and would be a very good test for the Lady Rams. The first quarter featured two goals apiece by Craft and Wolfer, resulting in a 4-2 first-quarter lead. Wolfer added another goal in the second quarter and the halftime score was […]
The Rockford girls varsity water polo this past weekend of May 4-5 traveled to the lakeshore for the West Ottawa-Zeeland Tulip Time Tournament. The girls completed a busy week of regular season games, so for them it was tune-up time before the post season. Friday night started off in a tight game against Dexter. At the end of the first quarter, the Rams found themselves down by a goal, 2-3. First-quarter goals by Adrianna Craft and Julia Ceglowski kept the game close and by halftime the score was knotted at 5-5. Second-quarter goals were tallied by Abbey Finlayson with one goal and two goals by Adrianna Craft. The third quarter featured more of the same from the first half and continued to be a back-and-forth game. The only goal scored by the Rams in the third was by Marie Siegel which provided a 6-6 tie heading into the fourth quarter. The Rams owned the fourth quarter and began pulling away. Goals by Casey Wolfer, Kara Vandawater and Siegel solidified the victory with a final score of Rockford 9, Dexter 6. On Saturday three games were played. The first game was the fourth meeting this year against Hudsonville. The two teams have developed a friendly rivalry this year and in honor of Kentucky Derby day the Call to the Post was played during the starting swim-off. Right from the start they were literally off to the races. In the first quarter, Hudsonville was up one goal. The score was 1-2 after they traded scoring on penalty shots. In the second quarter, Rockford added four more goals and Hudsonville scored one for a halftime score of 5-3. In the third quarter, Hudsonville came out swimming fast and scored and added another on a six-on-five, which also caused Rockford’s key ball driver to foul out of the game. The score at the end of the third was tied at 5-5. In the fourth quarter, Hudsonville scored on a five-meter penalty shot. The Rockford girls were working hard offensively and scored two more goals to come away with the win, 7-6. Scoring for Rockford were Wolfer (four), Craft (two) and Siegel (one), with an assist by Maddie Levine. The next games featured new plays and balanced scoring, showing even […]
The Lady Rams varsity girls water polo team placed second in Jenison’s two-in-one tournament last weekend. At the Jenison Varsity/JV Invitational the Rockford High School girls varsity water polo team, currently ranked first in the state, started out aggressively against West Ottawa, but their opponent matched their tenacity for the first half. However, the strength and depth of the Rcofkord team prevailed with a final score of 15-4 in favor of the Lady Rams. Five players scored, including Casey Wolfer with six goals, Adrianna Craft with five, Maddie Levine with two, and Abbey Finlayson and Morgan Longberg with a goal apiece. Goalie Ellianna Raymond had nine saves. The next game was against the Jenison Wildcats. The Rams scored four goals in the first half—Longberg and Levine with two each—while Jenison scored one goal. The second half was a defensive battle; there was only one goal, by Wolfer, in the second half. Raymond had nine saves, and the final score was 5-1. The second day of the tournament and the last game in the “A” pool bracket, the varsity team played East Kentwood. This game was a hard-fought win and was close the entire game, with a final score of 5-4. Wolfer led the scoring with four goals and Kara Vandawater added one goal. Both the Rams’ varsity and junior varsity won their pools and advanced to the championship game. In the final game, the varsity team faced the Zeeland East-Zeeland West team, which was the first time Rockford had played this opponent. Zeeland played well defensively and held the Rams to one goal (Vandawater). It was a tough loss, with a final score of 9-1, but the Rams team will use the lesson to prepare for their next regular conference game. “It was a very good weekend for the team,” said Head Coach Scott Voltz. “While we didn’t play particularly well at times, we definitely benefitted from the chance to play the area’s best teams and see some things that we really need to work on. It shows that the rest of the season will be really exciting, and I think we’ll be ready for it.” The Rams next play at East Kentwood and also at Portage Central before this weekend’s varsity tournament at Stevenson, […]
The Division I state meet was held at Eastern Michigan University the weekend of November 18. While the meet was filled with some very impressive swims and dives, the Rockford Lady Rams fell short of their goals and expectations. The state team consisted of seniors Macie DeGraaf, Emilie Hahne, Maddie Levine, Morgan Longberg, Alaina Smith, Sarah Smith and Casey Wolfer; juniors Adrianna Craft, Kennedy Cutler, Morgan Lipe, and Kristen Schnelle; sophomore Kara Vandawater; freshmen Delayni Kornak-Kotarba, Dakota Noble and Megan Schremp. With this year’s state meet the fastest in history, S. Smith was able to break into the top 16 on Friday’s preliminaries, which secured her a place in Saturday’s finals. She qualified in both of her individual events, placing 13th in the 200-yard IM with a time of 2:10.78. In the 100-yard butterfly she placed 14th with a time of :58.52. Rockford placed 10th in the 200-yard medley relay in a time of 1:50.47 with a team of Vandawater, Cutler, S. Smith and Wolfer. The 200-yard freestyle relay team also placed 10th in a time of 1:38.66 with the team of Noble, Levine, Cutler and Wolfer. The only top eight finish for Rockford was eighth place in the 400-yard freestyle in 3:36.09 with a team of Hahne, S. Smith, A. Smith and Wolfer. Although the Rockford team had higher expectations for the state meet, 2011 had many great moments which should not be lost. The Lady Rams lost only one dual meet all year, a non-conference meet to Division II state champion Holland. The Rockford girls were impressive in rolling through the OK Red conference and dominating the conference meet on their way to a championship. They saw several swimmers establish personal bests, and Vandawater, Cutler, S. Smith and Wolfer set a new school record in the 200-yard medley relay. As the 2011 season comes to an end, we remember the three-and-a-half other months that were filled with great swims, great victories and great memories.