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, […]
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 […]
If senior co-captain Eric Chisholm was nervous about starting the state tournament schedule, he surely did not show it. Chisholm led the Rockford men’s water polo team as they began their state tournament run Friday night, Nov. 11, against Ann Arbor Skyline. “It is my senior year, my last state tournament; I did not want to let the team down,” Chisholm said. Chisholm scored Rockford’s first goal and then 20 seconds later threaded a beautiful pass to hole-setter Grant Beach, who pushed it into the net. The Michigan High School Water Polo Association state tournament pitted the top eight teams from around the state competing at Saline High School. The team claiming the state title would have to win three straight games. The Rams (42-2), the number-one-ranked team in the state, opened Friday evening with a 14-2 victory over the Eagles of Ann Arbor Skyline. The win set up a state semifinal grudge match between the Rams and the Ann Arbor Huron River Rats Saturday morning. The Rats are the only team to defeat the Rams this season, and are led by talented Serbian exchange student Aleksandar Petrovich. The match between the Rats and Rams was high on passion, emotion and drama. Saturday morning, in front of a standing-room-only crowd, the River Rats and Rams squared off in a contest proving to live up to the hype. Both teams played with focused intensity in a tightly contested first quarter. Petrovich gave the River Rats a 1-0 lead as the first period came to an end. In a back-and-forth battle, the Rams and Rats traded goals and ended the half with a 4-3 River Rat lead. The Rats exploded in the third period behind Petrovich, ending the period with a commanding 9-4 lead over the Rams. The Rams refused to give in, opening the fourth period by scoring two quick goals. As the River Rats slowed their play to work on the clock, the Rams continued a thrilling comeback by scoring a total of five goals in the fourth period. The River Rats were able to score one goal in the fourth period on a five-meter penalty shot, which turned out to be the deciding goal as the Rats held on to win a thrilling 10-9 […]
State tournament next up On Friday, Oct. 28, the Rockford High School men’s water polo team continued their march to the state tournament by opening up with a victory against the Panthers of West Ottawa in the Michigan Water Polo Association Western Water Polo Regional. The contests were hosted at the East Kentwood natatorium. The Rams entered the tournament seeded number one in the region and number two in the entire state with a season record of 39-2. Against the Panthers, the Rams jumped out to an early lead and never looked back. Because Rockford has so much team depth, a total of 14 players got pool time, which kept fresh legs in the pool and gave excellent tournament experience. A total team effort produced a convincing 19-2 victory against the Panthers. The victorious Rams next faced off against the host East Kentwood Falcons, who defeated Jenison in an exciting overtime victory. The match against the Falcons was an intense defensive struggle, with the first score coming at the 1:40 mark left in the first period as senior Eric Chisholm found the net. At halftime the score was Rockford 3 the Falcons 0. Ram goalie Corey Fase tends the net. At the start of the third period, the Rams caught East Kentwood goalie Raheem Brown creeping out on junior Justin Hulsebus playing hole set. Sophomore Craig Wasberg fired from outside, finding the net as Brown committed to Hulsebus. Junior goalie Corey Fase played a flawless game in net for the Rams. Facing off against All State goalie Brown, Fase said, “Raheem is a great player. Mentally I focus myself to play the best game I possibly can. As a team, when we face Brown, we realize what we are up against and we need to step up.” The Rams rose to the challenge, coming away with an exciting 8-2 victory. The victory moved Rockford into the finals. Rockford, ranked second in the state, faced off against fourth-ranked Hudsonville for the championship of the West Region. The Eagles are led by All State strong arm shooter Cody Brinks, while the Rams are led by All State multi-talented Chisholm. Hudsonville would have to match up against Rockford’s team depth. In the contest, the Rams exploded in the […]
“Give everything you have and leave nothing,” senior co-captain Eric Chisholm summed up the attitude of this year’s senior class of 11 veterans. The Michigan Water Polo Association West Region district championships opened this past Friday, Oct. 21, at the Rockford pool. The Rams entered the tournament ranked second in the state with an overall record of 36-2. The Ram water polo program has a long history of deep successful runs in the state tournament. Once again, the Rams look forward to being a force to reckon with in this year’s state tournament. Senior goalie Matt Vermeer said, “We have been waiting for four years to make the run as seniors, and we are excited and prepared for this.” The West Region district is divided into two flights. Number two state-ranked Rockford secured a number one seed in the East flight while third-ranked Hudsonville was the top seed in the West. The Rams opened play Saturday morning, facing the East Grand Rapids Pioneers. The Rams came out on fire, scoring two goals in the first 1:40. The Ram depth was too much for the Pioneers and, in a total team effort, Rockford came away with a 15-1 victory. The Rams kept the adrenaline going as they faced the Grandville Bulldogs for the West Region East district championship. Once again a total team effort overwhelmed the opponent as the Rams dominated the Bulldogs on their way to a 17-4 victory. Not only did the victory give the Rams the championship, but also set them up as the number one seed in next weekend’s regional match-ups at East Kentwood. District tournament leaders for the Rams were Grant Beach in scoring, senior Allyn Kinney in assists, and senior Mac Finnie in steals.