Rockford Boys Water Polo Team

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 water polo opens conference play with win

September 23, 2010 // 0 Comments

Rockford’s boys water polo team began defense of their OK conference crown last Wednesday, Sept. 15, with a convincing win over Zeeland. The Rams have won or shared the conference championship for the past 17 years, longer than most of this year’s players have been alive! The team traveled to Zeeland to square off against a strong, fast, senior-led Zeeland squad, who was ranked eighth in the state. After a slow first quarter, Rockford opened the second with two quick goals. The Rams pushed the score to 5-2 at the half and held on for a 7-4 victory. Senior captain Jeff Schmitt set the defensive tone, recording four of the team’s 19 steals. Juniors Bryan Wasberg and Eric Chisholm led the scoring with two goals each. “I was very pleased with our team’s performance,” said Coach Dave McWatters. “We practiced hard the two days before the game, preparing for our long-term goals, so we were very tired for the Zeeland game. Zeeland is a very talented team, but we were able to tough out the win under challenging circumstances—another step forward.” “Going into the game, we knew we had to focus on doing what we do best,” said Schmitt. “We feel good about the way we played and about the results.” Over the weekend, Sept. 17-18, Rockford entered East Kentwood’s Falcon Invite, which found them in a bracket that featured four of the top five teams in the state. Friday night, Rockford—ranked second in the state—renewed their rivalry against East Kentwood—ranked fourth in the state. Rockford scored early and often, and displayed a suffocating defense. The result was an impressive 10-4 Ram victory. Ball movement was a key to the Ram scoring, with their 10 goals—including three each by Schmitt and Chisholm—coming on eight assists, including four by Wasberg. “We really wanted to beat East Kentwood this week, and were able to do so with a total team effort,” noted Schmitt. Saturday morning found the top two teams in the state, undefeated Ann Arbor Huron and Rockford, locked up in a nail-biter. The teams were tied at the half, but Huron opened the second half with two goals. Rockford responded with three of their own, and carried a 6-5 advantage into the fourth quarter. But […]

School Beat — December 17, 2009

December 17, 2009 // 0 Comments

The Good, the bad, the ugly by MICHAEL S. SHIBLER, Ph.D. Superintendent of Schools The Good—This fall, Rockford’s marching band took third place in the state in Division I competition. This is the strongest rating our marching band has ever earned in recent history. Congratulations! Several of our athletic teams won district and regional championships. Congratulations to Rockford’s boys water polo team, who won their seventh state title over the past 10 years. Their achievement was especially gratifying because the team was not considered a threat during tournament play. New classroom expansions, paid through the 2008 bond issue, at Cannonsburg, Lakes, Roguewood, and Valley View elementary schools are now ready for students. Planning continues for classroom additions to Belmont and Crestwood elementary schools. District-wide technology upgrades along with recreation and athletic field additions continue toward completion and within budget. Rockford’s academic and fine arts programs continue to exceed the high expectations established by staff, students and community. The successes our students experience in the classroom continue to validate Rockford’s outstanding academic programs. The Bad—Since the early 2000s, bi-partisan organizations such as the Citizens Research Council and University of Michigan economists, have been predicting that the current system to fund public education would soon be broken. Well, it’s almost 2010, and the system is on life support with barely a pulse. With the 1994 implementation of Proposal A, school districts currently receive two-thirds of their revenue through state sales and income taxes and one-third from property taxes. With Michigan’s high unemployment rate and significant downsizing of manufacturing, revenues from state sales and income taxes are below expectations, and revenue from property taxes are barely neutral, creating what is called a “structural deficit.” A structural deficit exists when revenues to fund essential services, such as police, fire and education, are less than required to maintain existing programs. Most experts will tell you that state government cannot “cut their way” out of a structural deficit and that new or expanded revenue resources must be created. Even in a severely stressed economy, Michigan lawmakers have the means to restructure the funding system for essential services. But the question still remains: “Does the will exist?” If Michigan’s current system to fund public education is broken because of the structural deficit, […]

Rockford water polo tops two conference rivals

October 1, 2009 // 0 Comments

The Rockford boys water polo team won two key conference match-ups this week, pushing their season record to 14-5. East Kentwood and Hudsonville came to the Rockford pool looking to knock off the Rams. But Rockford used a blend of senior leadership and youthful energy to turn back the opposition. The East Kentwood Falcons already have two one-goal victories over Rockford this season. They came to town Monday night, Sept. 21, looking for a third. But Rockford had other plans. The Rams jumped out to a quick lead, extending to a 9-4 halftime advantage. Senior Derik Bothma set the tone for the night by scoring six goals in that dramatic first half. The second half settled into a defensive struggle. Every time the Falcons scored, the Rams answered. When the final buzzer sounded, Rockford had secured a convincing 12-8 victory. The four Ram seniors, Bothma, Tyler Manikowski, Kyle Peterson and Connor Thelen, scored 10 of the 12 goals—junior Jeff Schmitt scored the other two. Rockford’s defense was rugged as usual, led by Bothma and junior Pat Fase. Wednesday night, Sept. 23, the Hudsonville Eagles came to challenge the Rams, hoping to find Rockford flat after a big win. Hudsonville’s combination of tough defense and clever shooting pushed Rockford to the limit. The teams were locked in a defensive struggle for the first three quarters. Rockford finally found a spark late in the third quarter. With the score tied at 6-6, sophomores Wasberg and Josh Travis scored breakaway goals to give Rockford an 8-6 lead. After Hudsonville fought back in the fourth quarter to an 8-8 tie, sophomore Eric Chisholm scored to put Rockford ahead for good. The Rams hung on for a 12-9 victory, relieved to have escaped the Eagles. Another youthful spark was provided by freshman Aedion Patino, who scored two goals and came up with four steals. Seniors Manikowski (four goals) and Bothma (eight steals) had big games as well. Senior Kyle Peterson credits the team’s success to its unity. “We’ve played together a lot and know what to expect from each other. That helps us in tight games. We couldn’t have won these games without a strong team effort.” Coach Dave McWatters congratulated his team on these big wins, but reminds them […]