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 High School juniors Harrison Webb and Josh Travis demonstrated the school’s broad athleticism as they placed third (1:22:19.8, trophy) and fourth (1:24:50.8), respectively, in the male 19-and-under sprint category—750-meter swim, 20K bike and 5K run—at the inaugural Grand Rapids Triathlon on Saturday, June 3. Also, Webb placed first (36:59.6) in the biking portion of the male 19-and-under sprint category, and Travis impressively placed first (11:23.0) in the swimming segment of this age group. This triathlon attempt was the first for both.
Grandville outswims Rockford, 153-162 by DENISE WEBB Even though Rockford won its first two swim/dive meets of the season, the true test of the Rams’ depth, strength, endurance and speed came on January 7 at their first conference meet against favored Grandville. Just like last year’s closer-than-close meet, eardrum-bursting screams of excitement were endless throughout the entire thrilling meet, as these two powerhouses fought back and forth for the win. The score of the meet reflected only a one-, two- or three-point difference throughout the first eight of the 12 events. Even during the diving portion of the meet, the score remained close. A slight upset for the Rams during this event was when Grandville’s Dan Dougherty unexpectedly scored a 7.0-6.5-6.5 for his last dive of the evening, pushing Rockford diver LJ McCauley out of third place. At the end, senior Tyler Johnson and juniors McCauley and Kurt Plaggemars placed first, fourth and fifth, respectively, with Johnson (223.85 points) and McCauley (194.85 points) impressively performing personal bests. The first big turning point of the evening came at the end of the ninth event, the 200-yard freestyle relay. The score was Grandville 112, Rockford 109. Unlike individual events—which score points for the top seven out of eight finishes—in the OK Red conference meets, relay events only earn points for the first three finishes (10 points, 5 and 3, respectively). Grandville placed first and third, jumping ahead of Rockford by 11 points. Even though Grandville won first and third, the finishing times between the top four places were close, similar to how the entire meet had been. Another turning point of the evening was at the conclusion of event 11, the 100-yard breaststroke. Rockford’s senior Brian Ginebaugh (first place), junior Jared Martella (third), sophomore Daniel Newberger (fifth) and senior Ian Rosloniec (second) collectively earned 18 of the possible 29 points for the event, narrowing the score to Grandville 152, Rockford 145. The 12th and final event of the evening was the 400-yard freestyle relay. In order for Rockford to swim away with the win, the Rams had to place first, second and third in front of Grandville’s state-qualifying team of Jason Bergsma, Blake Bosworth, Daniel Torralva and Mike Wynalda. Unfortunately, Rockford placed just second and third, with […]
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 […]
Very pleased with the outcome of the Saturday, Feb. 7, Freshman/Sophomore Swim/Dive Invitational, Rockford’s coaching staff couldn’t voice enough praises about their team. Rockford placed second behind powerhouse Zeeland, out of eight West Michigan schools (Byron Center, East Kentwood, Grand Haven, Grandville, Jenison and West Ottawa) competing in this event hosted by Grandville. “I couldn’t be more proud of the guys,” said head coach Tom Parks. “Many of them swam their personal bests.” The results of this invitational exhibit Rockford’s extreme competitiveness for several years to come. Of the 12 events, the Rams placed at least once, and sometimes twice or three times, in 10 of them and brought home 23 medals. Many of the events had more than 35 participants vying for a top spot, but only the first eight winners in individual events and the leading three teams in relays won medals. The Rams who brought home “hardware” were sophomores Ben Fredrickson (first, second and two fifth places), Jared Martella (one eighth place), LJ McCauley (one fifth place), Tim Newberger (two seventh places), Kurt Plaggemars (one eighth place) and Jeff Schmitt (first, second, fifth and seventh), and freshmen Eric Chisholm (one first place), Josh Travis (two second places and one fourth), Bryan Wasberg (three first places and one second) and Harrison Webb (fourth and sixth). Other swimmers who earned points for the team were sophomore Dominick Sheridan and freshmen Ben Pitts, Cam Cross, Daniel Newberger and Alex Savage. “Everybody worked really hard. It was a good meet. But look out next year Zeeland!” said freshman Allyn Kinney. Medal winners are as follows: 200-yard medley relay – Ben Fredrickson, Jeff Schmitt, Josh Travis, Bryan Wasberg (second place) 200-yard IM – Bryan Wasberg (first place); Josh Travis (fourth); Jeff Schmitt (seventh) 50-yard freestyle – Ben Fredrickson (fifth) 1-meter diving – LJ McCauley (fifth); Kurt Plaggemars (eighth) 100-yard butterfly – Ben Fredrickson (fifth) 100-yard freestyle – Harrison Webb (sixth); Tim Newberger (seventh) 500-yard freestyle – Jeff Schmitt (fifth) 200-yard freestyle relay – Eric Chisholm, Ben Fredrickson, Jeff Schmitt, Bryan Wasberg (first) 100-yard backstroke – Josh Travis (second); Harrison Webb (fourth); Tim Newberger (seventh) 100-yard breaststroke – Bryan Wasberg (first); Jared Martella (eighth)