Rockford Water Polo

Four Rockford players named All Americans in water polo

August 30, 2012 // 0 Comments

by CINDY M. CRANMER Some Rockford players recently were named to the All-American teams honoring them with national recognition in the sport of water polo. Rockford High School boys and girls both have had many successful seasons in their history. During the last 12 years, the high school boys’ team won eight of 12 state championships. Dave McWatters, who is the Rockford High School boys coach, was instrumental in starting a girls’ water polo team at Rockford as well. A former player, Scott Boltz, who was the goalie during the first state championship in 2000, now is the girls’ team coach. Water polo combines the elements of many other sports played in the water. The sport has elements of soccer, lacrosse, basketball, hockey and swimming. Each team has a goalie and six field players, who all swim throughout the game played in a deep pool, and try to score on the other goal. Players can only use one hand to field the ball or pass other than the goalie. Two members of both the Rockford High School boys’ team and girls’ team recently were named to the All-American teams. “This is quite an honor to make All-American,” McWatters said. “These are great awards.” “This is an accomplishment all four of them should be proud of,” McWatters said. While Rockford now has 30 students who have made the boys All-American teams, McWatters said it is still an honor chosen for team members by opposing coaches nominations. Boltz said about 20 girls have made the All-American teams in Rockford’s history. “We don’t want to lose sight that each one has taken a lot of work to earn,” McWatters said. “This is an honor and accomplishment for these students.” Eric Chisholm, a graduating senior in 2012, made the first team this year. There are five All-American teams with about 22 players listed per team or approximately 110 people who are honored. The first team would be the top players in the nation. “So, it’s fair to say Eric is one of the top 22 players in the nation,” McWatters said. Chisholm, who was named as an All-American last year as well, will be attending Michigan State University on a swimming scholarship. Justin Hulsebus, who will be a senior, […]

Rockford water polo takes East Kentwood Invitational

September 24, 2009 // 0 Comments

  Senior Tyler Manikowski overpowers an opponent. Photo by GORDON PETERSON Rockford topped Okemos in the finals of the East Kentwood Invitational on Sept. 19, capping an impressive five-win-one-loss week of polo action. The Rams pushed their season record to 12-5 with solid play at both ends of the pool. The week began with the Rams’ first two conference wins: a 10-3 victory at West Ottawa and a 16-7 win at Jenison. Senior Derik Bothma had seven goals and senior Kyle Peterson had four steals against West Ottawa. Seven Rams scored against Jenison, with sophomore Alex Savage and Bothma each providing four assists. The Rams opened the East Kentwood Invitational Friday night, Sept. 18, against the host Falcons. This evenly matched contest featured rugged defense and some spectacular shooting. Regulation ended in a 7-7 tie, and the tie-breaker shootout ended 10-10. East Kentwood then prevailed in the first round of the sudden death shootout for a final score of 11-10. After another disheartening one-goal loss (their fourth in two weeks), Rockford coach Dave McWatters spent a restless Friday night wondering whether his team had “the character of a champion.” He found out Saturday morning when his Rams faced the talented and experienced Grand Haven Buccaneers. Rockford’s trademark defense and the scoring of seniors Connor Thelen and Bothma kept the game close. But regulation ended in another 7-7 tie! The Rams’ character was now tested under extreme conditions. All five shooters responded by scoring—a perfect shootout, and a 12-10 victory. The Rams then overpowered Zeeland 17-3. Eleven different Rams scored goals. Kyle Peterson and sophomore Josh Travis each contributed three assists. The final game of the tourney pitted the high-powered Okemos offense against Rockford’s swarming defense. The Rams proved to be too much, topping Okemos 8-4. Bothma concluded a week of prolific scoring with five goals to lead the Rams. Bothma is quick to note, however, that water polo is a team sport. “We need everyone to play well if we’re going to be successful. This weekend everyone played their best and gave it their all. We really came together as a team.”