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Top 5 Male Athletes of 2015-16: No. 5, Cole Kramer

Nich Wolak • Updated Jul 6, 2016 at 12:30 AM

The Tribune is counting down its top five teams, male and female athletes of the 2015-16 school year. The No. 5 male athlete, Cole Kramer, capped a strong career at Grand Haven, excelling at water polo, swimming and lacrosse as a senior.

Water Polo

Kramer acted as the hole defender, the last line of defense before the goalie, and was a crucial piece in the team’s fifth-place finish in the state.

Coach Bill Hamm on Kramer: “As a general pattern he is addicted to excellence. He knows how to figure it out. He has determination and strength — he’s a very strong young man. That led him to being so aggressive. He knew every play he needed to do his best. We knew we could count on him.”

On Kramer’s defense: “We were fortunate. We had an excellent goalkeeper, (so) we fronted him the hole game. … He was in a way covering two people the whole time. … He was the reason we were in a lot of our games.”

Swimming

Kramer was a part of three state-qualifying relay teams for the Buccaneers: 200-freestyle relay (1 minute, 56.18 seconds, 11th place), 200 medley (1:39:14, 15th) and 400 freestyle relay (3:14, 15th).

Coach Doug Thorne on Kramer: “(His) work ethic (is) No. 1. He’s one of those rare kids that comes through, that will do anything he’s asked to do. He thrives on it.”

On what makes Kramer such a well-rounded swimmer: “Cole got started at a young age with his background and is extremely strong. He’s a well-fit young man. His passion in the water showed.

“It’s a good group of kids he graduated with, that swam together for years. They kind of pushed each other to be better. He was one of the top dogs. He was really respected in the conference and across the state.”

On Kramer’s progression through his freshman to senior year: “You knew he was going to be good when he was young, he just needed to grow into his body. By his senior year, he was a man among boys. … “When you put it together with his work ethic, it makes it fun for a coach. He was one of those kids you wanted to be around every day.”

Lacrosse

Kramer played an offensive-minded midfielder spot for Grand Haven, improving his defensive chops his senior season.

Coach Lee Ingalls on Kramer: “I’ve known Cole most of his life, we’re neighbors. His dad’s the one who got me into lacrosse. (Cole’s) constantly playing the lacrosse version of horse, shooting from all angles. The kid was born to play lacrosse. He had a stick in his hand from the early ages on. As soon as there was a team for him to play on, he started playing.”

On Kramer’s development as a player: “What I was proud of him this year, is he worked hard on being a two-way middie — not solely being offensive-minded, which is where he might have been at in his early days. We really needed to step up on defense as well. …. We’re good on our shots, but if we get a turnover we need to get back. We don’t want those fast-break situation where our middies are trailing the other team.”

On Kramer’s size and athleticism: “He really grew physically (since his freshman year). He had the physical stature to make it through and survive. Water polo isn’t an easy sport, lacrosse isn’t an easy sport —just the physical rigors that your body goes through. His growth, his strength and a lot of commitment to everything he does (makes him good). It helps being a naturally-gifted athlete.”

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