Mac Finnie

Rockford men’s water polo fields 10 Academic All Americans

September 29, 2011 // 0 Comments

The Rockford men’s water polo team excels in the classroom as well as in the pool. Rockford Public Schools is honored to announce that 10 team members have been selected as Academic All Americans for the 2010-2011 school year. Dan Zang, Rockford High School principal, stated, “We are very proud of these fine young men and this very prestigious recognition. We wish them continued success in polo and so appreciate their commitment to excellence in the classroom.” To qualify for this honor, the selectees must have participated in a national water polo event. The Rockford Aquatic Club traveled to California this past summer to compete against teams from around the United States in the Water Polo Junior Olympics. Nominees must carry a minimum 3.6 GPA. Water polo coach Dave McWatters is very proud of the 10 students. “These young men represent the best of the Rockford student-athlete: succeeding in the classroom and in athletic competition. They are great role models for younger kids who want to accomplish great things both academically and athletically.” Gaining the honors are seniors Cody Brown, Eric Chisholm, Nick Dulak, Mac Finnie, Allyn Kinney and Alex Savage. Juniors honored are Mike Arend, Grant Beach, Corey Fase and Nick Willison. Further recognition goes to Arend, Beach, Dulak, Finnie, Kinney and Willison, who made “outstanding” recognition, which is carrying a GPA above 4.0. The water polo team has currently compiled a 19-1 record and is a model program in the state of Michigan. Superintendent of Rockford Public Schools Dr. Michael Shibler congratulates the team on their success and the 10 academic honorees. “The Rockford High School men’s water polo program is considered one of the most successful in the state of Michigan, if not the Midwest. This is because of our outstanding coaches, parent support, and our student-athletes, who excel in the classroom and in the pool. Without hesitation, I believe our men’s water polo program to be a ‘point of pride’ for the Rockford community.” Following are the plans of the senior recipients: • Cody Brown expects to attend Grand Rapids Community College for pre-med. • Eric Chisholm expects to attend Mercyhurst in Pennsylvania to study criminal justice. • Nick Dulak expects to attend Michigan Tech University to pursue engineering. • Mac […]

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.”

Rams take two water polo conference games

September 30, 2010 // 0 Comments

The Rockford boys water polo team hosted two conference foes last week, defeating each with an impressive display of team balance and depth. At the midway point of the season, the Rams’ record stands at 19-5 overall; 3-0 in the conference. Grandville came to town Monday, Sept. 20, hoping to defeat the Rams in conference play for the second straight year. The Bulldogs won a close game against Rockford last year, causing the two teams to split the conference crown. Rockford was ready for the Bulldogs this year, jumping to a 6-0 first-quarter lead, thanks to crisp ball movement and precise shooting. The Rams then battled Grandville goal-for-goal, cruising to 16-9 victory. Eight different Rockford players scored goals, led by senior Jeff Schmitt with four. Wednesday night, Sept. 22, brought the West Ottawa Panthers to the Rockford pool. Again Rockford sped to an early lead and never looked back, finishing with an 18-8 victory. Ten different Rams scored goals; sophomore Nick Willison was the leader with three. Aggressive defense captured 29 steals, including five by junior Alex Savage. In these two games, the Rams displayed an unselfish team-oriented approach to the game. Of the 34 goals scored, 25 were the result of assists. “We are a much better team than we were just two weeks ago,” observed Coach Dave McWatters. “There are many more challenges to go, but the pieces are coming together. Our individual athletes are figuring out how to lift one another’s quality of play. In other words, we are figuring out the elusive art of great team play.” “We get along well together as a team,” said Jared Martella, one of the team’s senior leaders. “There are no divisions between the different grade levels. We play well together no matter who’s in the pool, and we work to keep a positive attitude in the locker room.” Over the weekend, Rockford finished third at Zeeland’s Bird House Bash Invitational. Stout defense and balanced scoring produced big wins against Hudsonville (11-0), West Ottawa (13-0), and Zeeland (14-3). But Saturday morning the Rams lost a 6-5 overtime match to Birmingham Groves, the number four team in the state. Throughout the week, opposing teams had to contend with Rockford’s deep and talented bench. “Some teams depend […]

Rockford’s divers steal show at home

January 21, 2010 // 0 Comments

Rockford 186, Hudsonville 128 by DENISE WEBB There’s always one distinct event that remains in a spectator’s mind when leaving a captivating high school sporting meet. From Rockford’s January 14 swim/dive meet against Hudsonville, the event was undeniable—event five: diving. “The divers absolutely stole the show tonight,” said swim parent Sarah Ginebaugh, a former diver and diving coach. All five divers earned personal bests, and senior Tyler Johnson and juniors LJ McCauley and Kurt Plaggemars scored more than 200 points each—228.60, 211.90 and 206.90, respectively.   “Tyler continued to step up and dominate as the veteran on the team,” commented Ginebaugh. “LJ and Kurt also did some amazing dives with incredible height off the board.”   Ginebaugh also added, “Drew [Cornelius] was very solid tonight, and Noah [Markel] performed a very tough list of dives for his first year on the team. I’m sure Coach Marc VanDyken is incredibly proud of his team.” Rockford’s dive team did perform impressively. For example, Johnson received a 7.5 score from one judge on his front one-and-a-half dive and then scored a 6.0, 7.0, 7.0 on his inward one-and-a-half dive. After the meet, the ear-to-ear smiles of the dive team communicated more effectively than words how they felt about their performance. Besides the astounding diving portion of the evening, the meet also generated excitement in the swim lanes. Of the 12 events, Rockford captured a first-second-third finish in two of them—the 100-yard butterfly (sophomore Bryan Wasberg, junior Ben Fredrickson and sophomore Josh Travis, respectively) and the 100-yard backstroke (senior Alex Devries, Travis and sophomore Nick Willison). The Rams also placed first in seven other events, totaling nine firsts in all. Additionally, four events were swum in state-qualifying times, including the relay team of seniors Devries and Brian Ginebaugh and sophomores Eric Chisholm and Travis in the 200-yard medley relay (1:43.05). Devries swam 57.69 in the 100-yard backstroke. Ginebaugh improved his previous time by 1.17 seconds with a 1:02.39 in the 100-yard breaststroke. The relay team of senior Derik Bothma, Fredrickson, Chisholm and Wasberg swam a state-qualifying time in the 200-yard freestyle relay. “The meet went well this evening,” said sophomore Mac Finnie, who swam a varsity letter time and personal best in the 100-yard breaststroke. “It was a true […]