State Rep. Tom Pearce and Sen. Mark C. Jansen welcomed the 2009 state champion Rockford Rams men’s water polo team to Lansing on Tuesday, March 16, and honored them with a luncheon and special recognition on the Senate floor. “These young men have repeatedly proven themselves winners and excellent student athletes,” said Pearce, R-Rockford. “The water polo program’s winning tradition makes our community proud, and we look forward to more success.” The state title is Rockford’s sixth in the last seven years, and the 17th year in a row they have captured at least a share of the OK Red conference title. “Congratulations to the Rockford water polo team. Following the leadership of their coaches, they have worked extremely hard as students and athletes,” said Jansen, R-Gaines Township. “The team’s success embodies the work ethic and positive family, school and community spirit in Rockford. We’re pleased to welcome them to the state Capitol and honor their extraordinary achievement.”
March 25 2010
What does springtime mean to you? To the Rockford rugby teams, it means calisthenics and conditioning. The Rockford men’s rugby team is preparing for their first game, which is quickly approaching. Weather permitting, the first game of the season will be on March 24 versus Traverse City at 6 p.m. The home game will take place on their new rugby pitch (or fields) behind Roguewood Elementary School. The public is welcome to come and watch this exciting sport, which is growing every year in Rockford and throughout the United States. This season is off to a great start, with many returning and new players. The returning head coaches are Brent Besemer and James Wood. Their leadership and coaching abilities have taken Rockford to the championship games in the past. Rockford has done a wonderful job supporting the Rugby program. The two new rugby pitches behind Roguewood are completed, and rugby players’ cleats have been pounding the grass on the pitches, practicing. Preparing for the rugby season is hard on the players, coaches, parents and referees. To help accommodate the need for referees, the rugby schedule has changed this year. Last year most games were played on Wednesday and Saturday. This year the games will alternate from Tuesday through Friday. For an undated schedule, look at RamRugby.net. Rugby is an exciting sport with a different set of rules. To fully understand the sport, children need to start early. That is why Rockford has a youth flag rugby program. The program for grades second through eighth. Teams are now forming and practices will be starting soon. Visit RamRugby.net for details.
by DENISE WEBB Even though the 2010 season for Rockford’s 49 swimmers and divers has ended, the fond memories will continue. “Looking back at the team’s season, we did really well and accomplished a lot,” said senior Ian Rosloniec. “Our successes weren’t just because of one person though. There were many who did great and got us the points that we needed to win. Without everyone, we wouldn’t have done what we did this year.” The Rams swimmers/divers earned second place at the West Michigan Relays on December 19, first place at the Rockford Invitational January 8-9, and first place at the Freshman/Sophomore Invitational February 6. There were 10 “veggie” winners at the Jenison meet January 25. Rockford had an 8-1 dual meet season record, and a 5-1conference dual meet season record—a three-way tie with Grandville and West Ottawa. They earned first place at the OK Red conference championship meet on February 25-27, and were winners of the OK Red conference. The Rams sent nine swimmers and three divers to the state finals, placing seventh out of 53 Division I qualifying schools. Two Rockford pool records were broken—one by Alex Devries for the 100-butterfly and another by Derik Bothma, Ben Fredrickson, Brian Ginebaugh and Josh Travis for the 200-medley relay. Five swimmers earned All Conference, five swimmers earned All State, four swimmers earned All American, and 107 medals were won throughout this accomplished season. Also, the team collectively swam three-quarters of the way around the world, approximately 15,600 miles. The circumference of the Earth at the equator is 24,901.55 miles. The coaches awarded Jared Martella “Most Improved.” “The difference between last year and this year was last year I just swam because I had to,” said Martella. “This year I was inspired to do well. I was inspired when I saw myself scoring points for the team. The more I helped the team, the more inspired I got. Every time I did better, I became more determined.” Seniors Alex Devries and Brian Ginebaugh and sophomore Bryan Wasberg shared the MVP award, and Jeff Schmitt received the Coaches Award. “From day one, everyone got along. It was like a giant family,” Rosloniec added. “Everyone supported each other; meets were crazy with cheering from the whole team. […]
by DENISE WEBB At state finals for any sport, the realization of how refined and talented Rockford’s athletes are becomes evident. The March 12 and 13 swimming and diving Division I state preliminaries and finals were no exception. Fifty-four Michigan high schools qualified this year to compete at this event, where only the best of the best participate. On Friday afternoon at the preliminaries, Rockford Head Coach Tom Parks escorted 12 of his finest athletes onto the pool deck of the Holland Aquatic Center. They were seniors Derik Bothma, Alex Devries, Brian Ginebaugh and Tyler Johnson (diver); juniors Ben Fredrickson, Jared Martella, LJ McCauley (diver), Kurt Plaggemars (diver) and Jeff Schmitt; and sophomores Eric Chisholm, Josh Travis and Bryan Wasberg. At the conclusion of the preliminaries, only the top 16 in each event would advance to the finals on Saturday, earning points and medals for the team. Rockford had eight swimmers and one diver advance to Saturday. Throughout the state finals on Saturday, Saline High School held the lead, followed by Ann Arbor Pioneer. Rockford and its OK Red conference foes, Grandville and West Ottawa, were separated from each other by only one or two points until event nine. After event nine, neither Rockford nor West Ottawa could match Grandville’s speed and depth. Grandville ended the day in fourth place, Rockford in seventh (one point from sixth-place Livonia Stevenson), and West Ottawa eighth. Third and fifth places went to Northville and Zeeland, respectively. At the conclusion of the state finals, the Rams earned 18 medals (received after a 1-16 finish). Four swimmers were named All American (after swimming a specific time), and two individuals and one relay team of four were awarded All State (finishing first through eighth in a state final event). “After countless hours of diving and lifting and after many miles of swimming, it was a pleasure to see their hard work pay off,” said Parks. The 200-yard medley relay team of Bothma, Fredrickson, Ginebaugh and Travis not only placed second in the state, but also was awarded All State and All American for the exact-time-needed finish of 1:37.02. First place in the state went to the Holland West Ottawa team, with a time of 1:36.33. Johnson was the only Rockford diver […]
Rockford’s Lady Rams’ spectacular season came to an end last Tuesday night only two minutes from a trip to the Breslin Center and a possible state championship game. The East Lansing Trojans arrived in Caledonia for this state quarterfinal match-up rated number one in Class A and sporting their star player Klarissa Bell. Bell had been just awarded Michigan’s “Miss Basketball” title for the top player in the state. East Lansing escaped with a 56-51 win in a thrilling game filled with great plays and excitement throughout. Led by Bell and three Division I college signees in their starting lineup, and holding a 25-1 record, the Trojans must have taken a deep breath as they departed for the ride back home. The Rams gave East Lansing more than they wanted, and then some. Averaging 65 points per game while allowing only 40, East Lansing was stretched to the limit. Rockford scored first, as both teams came out tentative in the first quarter. East Lansing immediately applied full court pressure and continued a tenacious ball-hawking defense throughout the game. After the first eight minutes of play, East Lansing had jumped out to an early 12-7 lead. The second quarter belonged to Rockford, as the Rams outplayed the Trojans on both ends of the court, fighting back into the game with the score all square at 26-26 at the half. The third quarter also belonged to the Rams, as they outscored East Lansing and led 45-37 with less than one minute in the third. The Rams offense opened up during the third quarter, scoring 19 points and holding the Trojans to 15. The fourth quarter began with Rockford leading 45-41—senior Megan Kelley hit 10 of her game high 16 points in the second half. With 6:25 in the fourth, the score was tied 47-47. East Lansing then made their living at the foul line, 12 for 19 in second half, while Rockford was 3 for 5. The disparity in fouls was the deciding factor at game’s end: East Lansing 25/41, Rockford 10/16. With under 2:00 left in the contest, Rockford sophomore Halle Peterson made two free throws to put Rockford on top 51-50, as the crowd rocked with the anticipation of an upset of the number-one Trojans. […]