Okemos Water Polo Gears up for State Quarterfinal Matchup with Rockford

Okemos Water Polo Gears up for State 
Quarterfinal Matchup with Rockford

OKEMOS - Okemos girls water polo squares off against Division I rival Rockford in the state quarterfinals this Friday at 7:45 p.m., down the street, at East Lansing High.

Last season, Ann Arbor Skyline took home the state title, but the previous five years belonged to Okemos and Rockford.

Okemos ranks No. 3 this year with Rockford at No. 4, making the upcoming tilt all the more intriguing.

Chiefs head coach Matt Latham said during Wednesday's practice at East Lansing High that he expects a really good matchup.

"Really from top to bottom Rockford is pretty solid," Latham said.

"Rockford is special. As you mentioned before, the state titles run through these schools for the better part of this decade, and the back-history on that is whichever team has won, they have usually had to beat the other team. When we won in 2014, we actually played Rockford in the quarterfinal round, like we are this weekend."

Latham took over as head coach of the girls water polo team in 2012 with great pressure to succeed. Former head coach Greg Jenkins handed Latham a squad that had won back-to-back state titles (2010 and 2011), but Latham had little worries, as he knew the Okemos program well, being the head coach of the boys team in 2011.

"It was a different challenge," Latham said.

"My father when I told him, he actually said what are you nuts, and I said well I know the old adage, you never follow a guy who had success like this, but I never considered it daunting. I mean I knew what the program was about. I knew it was a good opportunity to do well, and I think so far we are doing a pretty nice job."

Under Latham, Okemos won the state title in 2014, and looks to rebound after losing to the eventual state champions, Skyline, last year at states.

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