Eric Chisholm

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 […]

Rockford boys place third at Div. I State Swim Championships

March 24, 2011 // 0 Comments

With over 50 teams competing at the Division I State Swim Championships on March 11-12 at Oakland University, Rockford showed just how far they have come this year when they nabbed the third-place title with 150 points, becoming the only west side team to bring home a trophy. It has been 10 long years since the Rams have brought back a trophy to Rockford, and four years since a Rockford male swimmer has claimed first in an individual event. But all that changed over the weekend. Junior Eric Chisholm clenched the individual state title with his swim in the 50-yard free in the finals on Saturday, clocking a lightning speed time of 21.19 seconds. Along with an individual state championship, the Rams also broke two high school records and placed all three relays in the top 16. The 200-yard medley relay team of Craig Wasberg, Bryan Wasberg, Ben Fredrickson, and Chisholm swam their fastest relay splits of the season to grab second place in an “All American” time of 135.19, breaking the 2001 Rockford record previously held by K. Hyde, K. Cannon, N. Harley and C. Sullivan, who held it with a 135.50. Freshman C. Wasberg made an immediate impact at the state meet when he also broke a 10-year-old Rockford record previously held by Kevin Hyde (53.00) with his swim in the prelims of the backstroke (52.79). Wasberg placed fifth overall in the finals of the backstroke on Saturday. Rockford accumulated numerous points from their other two relays when swimmers Chisholm, Jeff Schmitt, Fredrickson, and B. Wasberg touched in fifth place in the 200-yard free relay (1:27.43), and the 400-yard relay team of Schmitt, Mike Arend, Trenton Babcock and C. Wasberg grabbed 13th in a time of 3:16.42. With only the top 16 individuals able to score in each event, the Rams came out with big points in the 100-yard fly when both C. Wasberg and Fredrickson locked into the top eight finals, placing fourth and sixth respectively. Juniors Chisholm and B. Wasberg also contributed in the consolation finals with Chisholm’s 15th place in the 100-yard free, and B. Wasberg’s ninth place in the 200-yard IM and 10th place in the 100-yard breaststroke. Rockford senior diver LJ McCauley and sophomore swimmer Arend (500-yard free) […]

Rams swim past Zeeland

January 27, 2011 // 0 Comments

Over the last two weeks, the Rockford swim and dive team have proven that they will be a tough contender at the end-of-season championship meets. The Rams continued their OK Red dual meet winning streak by defeating the Jenison Wildcats 215-100 on January 13, and then by dominating the Grand Haven Buccaneers 193-116 on January 20. However, the true test for the Rams came about at Zeeland’s home pool when Rockford paired up against Zeeland for an out-of-conference dual meet on Saturday, Jan. 22. The Rams surprised the talented Zeeland team—who have not lost a dual meet in their OK Green conference yet this season—by outscoring them 110-76. Zeeland, who is currently ranked fourth in the state behind third-ranked Rockford, did not give the Rams an inch as the teams battled back and forth in every event. Rockford set the tone from the first event, the 200-yard medley relay, by swimming their fastest times yet this season while grabbing first and third. The first-place 200-yard medley relay team of Craig Wasberg, Bryan Wasberg, Ben Fredrickson and Jeff Schmitt clocked a best time of 1:38.77, with third-place Rams, Nick Willison, Jared Martella, Josh Travis and Eric Chisholm, swimming a solid 1:42.11. Rockford continued to show a lot of heart and determination, as Mike Arend seized the top spot in the 200-yard freestyle with his first state-qualifying time of the season (1:48.90), edging out Zeelands’ Sam Borgman (1:49.87). Trenton Babcock of Rockford came in third with 1:51.09. However, Zeeland turned the tables in the 200-yard IM event, with Dylan Zwiers placing first (2:00.13) and Christian Otteman picking up third (2:06.04). B. Wasberg placed second with a time of 2:01.99. Rockford gained some ground in the 50-yard free when Rockford’s Chisholm pulled out an impressive first-place finish of 21.99, followed by Chad Stears of Zeeland in second (22.63), Fredrickson of Rockford in third (23.39), and Harrison Webb of Rockford in fourth (23.69). After the 50-yard free event, the Rams were ahead 37-25. The Rockford divers knew they faced a tough challenge going into the meet, as Zeeland is home to one of the best divers in the state of Michigan. As expected, Zeeland’s Tyler Keelean dove to a first-place finish with 293.10 points. Rockford divers Kurt Plaggemars and […]

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 […]

Rams win water polo thriller on historic night

October 7, 2010 // 0 Comments

Rockford topped East Kentwood 7-6 last Wednesday, Sept. 29, in a key conference clash that keeps the Rams on pace for their 18th consecutive conference title. This big win over a top rival was also the 500th victory in the storied career of Rockford Coach Dave McWatters.   East Kentwood gave the visiting Rams all they could handle, battling from the opening whistle to the final possession. Rockford junior Bryan Wasberg opened the scoring with a sizzling shot from the wing. The Falcons responded with two goals before Wasberg found sophomore teammate Nick Willison open just before the end of the first period. Willison beat the Falcon goalie to even the contest at 2-2. Kentwood outpaced Rockford in the second period, and took a 4-3 lead into halftime. The Rams answered in the third period with a brilliant effort. Smothering team defense completely shut down the Falcons. On the offensive end, freshman Craig Wasberg and senior Jeff Schmitt scored goals, giving Rockford a 5-4 lead heading into the fourth period. That’s when junior Eric Chisholm, who had been fighting for inside scoring position all night, finally found a way to break loose. He scored the first goal of the fourth quarter, giving the Rams a 6-4 cushion. But with the game winding down, East Kentwood battled back, closing the gap to 6-5. Would they be able to ride their home pool advantage to victory? Not this night. Just 15 seconds later, Chisholm notched his third goal of the game, pushing the lead to 7-5. East Kentwood scored again with one minute left in the game to pull within a single goal. But that was as close as they would come. With 25 seconds left, the Falcons’ leading scorer had the ball right in front of the Rockford net. But Schmitt and fellow senior goalie Pat Fase combined to make the defensive stop and save the game. “We’re focused on winning the conference this year, and it feels great to beat a strong Kentwood team in their own pool,” said Chisholm. “When we were down 4-3 at the half, we felt like we were still in the game. We’ve been down before and have been able to come back, so we knew we could do it […]

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