High school water polo districts for East Regions 3 and 5 will be held this weekend at East Lansing High School. The cooperative team of Holt/East Lansing (HOTEL) will host teams from Grand Blanc, Grand Ledge, Haslett, Okemos, Ann Arbor Pioneer, Chelsea, Dexter and Saline as they battle it out for a place at the regional tournament Oct. 31/Nov. 1 at Skyline High School in Ann Arbor. HOTEL is currently ranked in second place with a 3-1 record in District 3 play—the highest ranking the combined team has ever had going into the tournament. HOTEL faces Dexter at 7:45 p.m. on Friday night. Admission is $5. All East Lansing and Holt students will be offered free admission with their student ID.
“We have a really great group of boys this year and they have worked very hard,” Head Coach Ronald Marsh said. Marsh has coached water polo and swimming for 37 years in Florida, California, Indiana and Michigan. This is his fifth year coaching aquatics in East Lansing.
“We rely on our seniors to be our leaders and they have definitely done that this year,” Marsh said. HOTEL graduates seven seniors this year—Will DeLany, Connor Webster, Dean Coulter, Jacob Jones, Nick Magee, Adam Petrowitz (team co-captain) and Ryan Christensen, goalkeeper.
Water polo in Michigan is unique as it is one of the few high school sports not recognized by the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) and is instead administered by the Michigan Water Polo Association, even though according to collegiatewaterpolo.com, it was the first team sport to be added to the modern-day Olympics. Some coaches feel this lack of recognition by the state high school athletic association hurts participation in this lesser-known sport.
“We do struggle to recruit,” Marsh said. “There are a lot of opportunities for athletics in our area and kids a lot of times start out with more well-known sports. What people don’t realize is that a lot of these sports translate well into water polo play.” Marsh said goalkeeper Ryan Christensen played soccer for many years and several players also play baseball and basketball.
Marsh said almost all of the boys who play water polo also are on swim teams. “That is certainly the majority of the team but we do have boys who play polo and don’t swim because their other sport conflicts with swim season. I would really like to get the message out that there is a place on our team for all student athletes, boys and girls, in East Lansing and Holt who want to give water polo a try.”
Marsh urged the community to come out and support the boys in their game against Dexter. “This will be a tough game for us and we could use all of the good energy we can get. If we beat Dexter, we will have a place at regionals for the first time ever. What a great opportunity for us and what a great memory for our seniors.”
Disclosure: Telaina Eriksen’s freshman son is the Junior Varsity goalkeeper for the HOTEL team.
Appreciate ELi's reports on what East Lansing's athletic youth are up to? Then donate to support our work bringing you editorial-free, high-quality news of the people, by the people, and for the people of East Lansing! Donate easily online or donate by check. Do it now!