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Michigan Continues to Outpace Population Rank on National Sports Participation List

Michigan had the eighth-most participants in high school sports nationally in 2016-17 according to statistics released this week by the National Federation of State High School Associations, after ranking seventh in participation the last eight school years. However, this year’s level of participation again bested Michigan’s national ranking for total number of residents of high school age, which fell from ninth to 10thaccording to U.S. Census Bureau figures.

Michigan’s participation ranking was based on a number of 295,647, with 127,277 girls and 168,370 boys taking part in high school athletics, and included sports in which the MHSAA does not conduct postseason tournaments. The totals count students once for each sport in which he or she participates, meaning students who are multiple-sport athletes are counted more than once.

The state’s girls participation ranked eighth nationally, down one spot from 2015-16, while the boy’s participation figure also ranked eighth, down from sixth the year before. However, as with overall population, Michigan ranks 10th for both females and males ages 14-17 according to the latest U.S. Census Bureau estimates from 2016.

A total of 19 sports bested the state’s overall national participation ranking of eighth by placing seventh or higher on their respective lists. Three Michigan sports improved in national ranking during 2016-17, while five sports dropped one position and a sixth sport dropped two spots.

Michigan girls and boys golf both improved from sixth to fifth in national participation ranking, while girls basketball – with its first increase in participation after 10 straight years of decline – rose from seventh to sixth nationally. Michigan also moved up to seventh, from eighth, for 8-player football participation – significant because the state’s 11-player football participation ranking didn’t fall with that increase, remaining at sixth nationally for the fourth straight year.

Of the five sports that fell in national participation rankings in 2016-17, three stayed above population rank – boys basketball fell from sixth to seventh nationally, girls bowling from third to fourth and volleyball from fourth to sixth. Girls gymnastics (11th to 12th) and boys lacrosse (eighth to ninth) fell only one spot on their respective national lists.

The other Michigan sports that ranked eighth or higher all equaled their national rankings from 2015-16 and included baseball (eighth), boys bowling (third), competitive cheer (sixth), boys and girls cross country (both seventh), boys ice hockey (fourth), boys and girls skiing (both third), softball (seventh), boys tennis (fifth), girls tennis (third), boys track & field (seventh), girls track & field (eighth) and wrestling (seventh). Girls lacrosse (13th), boys and girls soccer (both ninth), boys swimming & diving (ninth) and girls swimming & diving (10th) all also held to their national rankings from the previous year.

National participation in high school sports in 2016-17 set a record for the 28th consecutive year with 7,963,535 participants – an increase of 94,635 from the year before. Girls participation increased for the 28th consecutive year with an additional 75,971 participants – the largest one-year jump since 2000-01 – and set an all-time high of 3,400,297. Boys participation also set another all-time high with 4,563,238, an increase of 18,664 participants from 2015-16.

Girls saw increases in all of their top-10 participatory sports, with competitive spirit (competitive cheer in Michigan) showing the largest increase of 18,712 participants nationally. Track & field, volleyball, soccer, and lacrosse showed the next greatest increases among girls sports. Seven of the top 10 boys sports registered increases from 2015-16, led by soccer, track & field and cross country.

Football (1,086,748), while down two percent from 2015-16, again remained the most-played high school sport overall, followed by boys track & field (600,136), boys basketball (550,305), girls track & field (494,477) and baseball (492,935).

The MHSAA is a private, not-for-profit corporation of voluntary membership by more than 1,400 public and private senior high schools and junior high/middle schools which exist to develop common rules for athletic eligibility and competition. No government funds or tax dollars support the MHSAA, which was the first such association nationally to not accept membership dues or tournament entry fees from schools. Member schools which enforce these rules are permitted to participate in MHSAA tournaments, which attract more than 1.4 million spectators each year.

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Chelsea Girls Win District Title, Head to Regionals

 

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Chelsea Bulldogs 2017 Class B District Champions

 

The Chelsea Bulldogs girls basketball team took on a very tough Onsted Wildcats team tonight in the District Finals at Columbia Central High School and it was a rough first half for the Bulldogs. Amid some questionable calls, their shots weren’t falling and they just couldn’t get their strong inside game going. But after a good halftime speech from Head Coach Todd Blomquist, they came out in the third on fire, and never looked back on their way to a huge 49-35 victory.

“I’m so excited, I almost cried,” an elated Jesse Jacobusse said. “I think we played pretty bad in the first half but the turning point was the third quarter. But we got rolling and I’m just so happy. This is one of the happiest moments of my life.”

The Bulldogs looked a bit nervous in the first quarter against the evenly matched Wildcats. The Bulldogs tight defense kept them in the game though as they forced a lot of turnovers. In the second as the Wildcats started to slowly creep ahead, Jacobusse finally got a shot to fall and it was a big one as she hit a long 3 to close the gap. The Wildcats went into the halftime break up by 1 and very confident, backed by a large, boisterous crowd.

“I was a bit disappointed with the play in the first half,” Chelsea Coach Blomquist stated. “But the defense kept us in it. We knew what Onsted was going to do but I don’t think we reacted very well. The turning point for us was right off the bat in the third when we got our inside game going and got some good shots to take the lead.”

In the beginning of the third period, Brianna Hay got the go-ahead basket off a steal and the defense stepped up strong forcing bad shots and turnovers. Hay had 3 steals on the night along with Jacobusse to lead the Bulldogs. Sophomore Maddie Vasquez was exceptional in the paint who, along with fellow sophomore Madeleine Kennedy, were able to use their size to build on the Bulldogs lead. The nail in the coffin for Onsted was when Jacobusse hit a long distance bank shot for three as the buzzer sounded giving the Bulldogs an 8 point lead at the end of the third.

In the fourth, the small in number but large in spirit Chelsea faithful kept cheering their girls on knowing that the outcome was evident as the clock ticked closer and closer to a Chelsea victory. Onsted was forced to foul sending the Bulldogs to the line where they made them pay. With time running out Coach Blomquist subbed in Sara Stribe and Kylie Kuebler so he had all 4 of his seniors on the court. As the clock counted down to zero the Chelsea bench erupted with joy as the young team accomplished something many pundits had said could never happen.

“I’m beyond words, I can’t even explain it, we’ve worked so hard to get this and it feels so good,” an ecstatic Nicole Bareis happily exclaimed, with tears almost in her eyes. “Coach told us at half-time we had to pick up our offense and we did. It really turned around. We scouted their team and we were pretty confident but they’re a great team. I think we were a bit nervous in the first period.”

“This is our 10th district title since 2000 when  I started,” said the veteran coach Blomquist. “Every team is different, we’re a very young team, and this is great.”

The young team stepped up big as Vasquez had 3 points but was big on the boards with 7 rebounds and had 3 blocked shots. Hay and Jacobusse finished with 10 points while Bareis got a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds.

“I have never been on a team that is so close,” Bareis said. “I would not trade this team for anything, I love them all!”

“My team, I love my team soooo much,” Jacobusse said making sure to stress the so. “To share this moment like this, it’s never good unless it’s with the right people and it’s definitely the right people. ”

Chelsea will look to keep their 10 game winning streak going as the Regionals head home for them on Tuesday where they will take on  Dearborn Henry Ford who defeated Grosse Isle in their final game tonight. Game time is 5:30 at the Chelsea High School Gym.

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Chelsea comes From Behind To Defeat Tecumseh

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Chelsea’s Jesse Jacobusse drives the lane in the first quarter

The drive began in the girls district tournament for Chelsea tonight, as they took on the Tecumseh Indians at Columbia Central High School in Brooklyn. Chelsea came from behind and battled back strong in the fourth quarter scoring the last 9 points of the game to defeat the Indians 32-29.

Both teams started slow, possibly nervous it seemed as in the first quarter there was not much scoring at all. Tecumseh played a stifling defense not allowing Chelsea to get their inside game rolling. At the half, it was a very low scoring 13-11 lead for the Bulldogs. In the third, the Indians exploded right away to take the lead on several inside shots. While Chelsea was getting good reads and shots, they just couldn’t get them to fall.

Bulldog senior Jesse Jacobusse hit a big three point shot to keep the Bulldogs close but then the Indians built their lead back up as they hit a shot at the buzzer to take a 6 point lead into the final stanza.

But the Bulldogs played their normal style of strong defense and forced several turnovers and bad shots and they took advantage of them. With 25 seconds left in the game, the Bulldogs sophomore Helena Schultz scored inside and was fouled to give the Bulldogs their first lead of the game since the very beginning. After she hit her free throw Chelsea forced another turnover and Tecumseh had no choice but to foul to send the Bulldogs to the line in hopes of getting a missed free throw and rebound.

And that happened as with 5 seconds left the Indians quickly moved the ball upcourt but the long distance 3 was short giving the Bulldogs the hard fought for victory.

Jacobusse led the Bulldogs in scoring with 11 points while Schultz finished the night with 8. Nicole Bareis played a solid defensive game forcing errant passes and shots and finished the night with 8 rebounds.

The Bulldogs will play Columbia Central in round 2 Wednesday at 5:30 in Brooklyn.

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Chelsea Girls JV Team Takes Down Dexter

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Chelsea’s Jordan Holton drives the lane against Dexter. She would finish as the team’s top scorer

Dexter hosted their arch rivals Chelsea on Thursday night and started off strong but the Bulldogs were able to come back and finish strong for the big 31-26  victory bringing them to 12-6 on the season.

Dexter took control early on in the defensive battle but Chelsea Head Coach Andrea Hollandsworth made good use of her timeouts and substitutions in the “chess match” against Dexter’s head coach Fred Ligrow. Chelsea’s defense really tightened up in the second period and both teams went to halftime tied at 13.

Dexter came out strong early on in the third period scoring six quick points but Chelsea battled back and then Chelsea’s Kyle Bragg stole the ball and spotted her best friend and teammate Jordan Holton at the other end of the court hitting her with a perfect fast break pass which Holton finished with 2 to tie the game up at 19. The Bulldogs then clamped down defensively and never trailed again as their inside game took over with Jenna Fosdick making some big shots.

Chelsea took advantage of several fouls down the stretch to seal the victory and secure a hard fought battle. Holton almost had a double-double and finished with 11 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 steals. Fosdick finished with 6 points, 10 rebounds, and 2 huge blocked shots. Gabby Udell finished with 6 points, while Caitlin Dusenbury put up 5.

The Bulldogs are off until Tuesday when they will host Bedford at 7 P.M. at the Washington Street Education Center (WSEC).

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Chelsea Defeats Jackson In Double Overtime Thriller

 

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Jesse Jacobusse drives for 2. She finished the night with 5 points and 8 assist. 

 

Since losing to SEC Conference leading and top ranked Ypsilanti Chelsea has rattled off 3 straight wins including tonight’s 55-51 double overtime thriller. Chelsea started slow and was getting the inside game to work but the shots just weren’t falling for them early on. They played their usual tough style of defense which kept the game close. Jackson took a 1 point lead into the half.

In the third Jackson took a bit of control taking advantage of miscues and hitting several 3 point shots. But Chelsea kept it close and kept clawing back, refusing to never give up to the Class A Vikings. Jackson would lead the game for most of the night but never by more than 5 points at a time.

With 3 and a half minutes to go Chelsea’s Anna Regis used her soft touch to sink two free throws and tie up the game. But Jackson again took a slight lead. With half a minute left to go in the game, Chelsea took a 1 point lead but Jackson was able to tie it making 1 free throw sending the game into overtime tied at 43.

Jackson won the tip in overtime and both teams battled back and forth sending the game into a second overtime. With Jackson up by 1 and only 30 seconds left, sophomore Brianna Hay took a long shot from beyond the arc to the left of the net and swished it in for 3 giving the Bulldogs the lead. On the ensuing inbounds play Sophomore Helena Schultz was able to steal the ball and The Bulldogs were fouled. Sophomore Maddy Vasquez and senior Nicole Bareis hit clutch free throws to send the Bulldogs back home with a hard fought victory.

“We made a couple plays at the end of the game, Bri’s 3 was huge in the corner, and we finally hit a couple free throws to finish it up,” Chelsea head coach   Todd Blomquist stated after the game as he stood amongst all the proud friends and families of the Chelsea players. “We started a bit rough, just didn’t have a lot of focus, but finished strong.”

When Brianna Hay hit that clutch three with very little time left, it was not a designed play. “I just got the ball and saw the open shot and took it,” the soft spoken Hay said. “I’m just happy we won. After I hit it I was so excited.”

Hay led the team in points with 11, including 3 three point shots. Katelyn McKinley and Ann Regis both finished with 9 while Helena Schultz had 8. Jesse Jacobusse led the team with 8 assist while Maddy Vasquez, Nicole Bareis, and Madeline Kennedy each pulled down 6 rebounds apiece.

The Bulldogs will rest up for Friday’s game as they travel to Lincoln to take on the Railspiltters.

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Chelsea Wins Tough Battle Over Okemos

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Jesse Jacobusse drives for 2

The Chelsea Bulldogs outbattled the Okemos Chiefs Tuesday night on their way to a very hard fought 45-35 victory. The Chiefs inside game was very dominant in the first quarter as they jumped to an early lead. The Bulldogs got off some very good shots but couldn’t get them to drop and were handily outrebounded. But The Bulldogs made several good adjustments and forced several turnovers while holding the Chiefs to only 6 points in the 2nd, as the Chiefs took a 3 point lead into the half.

After halftime, the speedy, feisty senior guard Jesse Jacobusse caught fire and scored several early baskets forcing the Chiefs to call a timeout and try to regroup. But the momentum shifted and with Senior Forward Nicole Bareis’ solid defensive play held the Chiefs to only 4 points in the third, while the Bulldogs took a 5 point lead.

In the 4th the Chiefs fought back but it wasn’t enough. Jacobusse finished the night for the victorious Bulldogs as their top scorer with 19 points. Bareis had 9 points to go with her team leading 5 rebounds. Freshman Riley Davis and Katelyn McKinley each had 4 points.

The Bulldogs return to action Friday at 5:30 at Tecumseh

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Jacobusse scores 5 goals as Chelsea Soccer Takes Down Lincoln

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Jesse Jacobusse scores one of her 5 goals on the night for Chelsea

The rain finally subsided Thursday but left the field very wet and slippery for the Chelsea soccer team as they played host to Lincoln. The Railsplitters were coming into the game off a big shutout over Tecumseh. After a Chelsea JV 8-0 mercy victory over the young Lincoln team, it was time for the varsity action to begin.

Both teams started a bit slow as they adjusted to the field conditions. But it was Lincoln striking first at the 26-minute mark as Senior Alexis Blackburn was able to get the ball over the head of Chelsea netminder Natalia McElrath on Lincoln’s first shot of the game. Chelsea tightened up on defense creating several turnovers which led to many chances on goal. At about the 14-minute mark the defense caused a big turnover which led to Junior Jesse Jacobusse getting a great shot to get behind Lincoln Senior goalie Sabrina “Brina” Dennis.  11 minutes later it was Jacobusse again getting the ball into the Lincoln net on Chelsea’s 8th shot of the half for a 2 to 1 lead which the Bulldogs took into the break.

Coming out in the second half the Bulldog defense clamped down hard not allowing Lincoln any opportunities at all. It was Jacobusse again with the goal at the 26:58 mark giving her the hat trick for the night. Shortly thereafter it was all Jacobusse with her 4th & 5th goals of the night raising the score where it would finish 5-1. Jacobusse, a senior multi-sport player was on fire for the whole game and just couldn’t be stopped! Sophomore Alex Quintana & Freshman Natalie Gofton each had one assist on the night. The Bulldog defense was outstanding forcing turnovers, creating opportunities for Jacobusse to score her goals, and keeping the Railsplitters without a shot in the second half. Chelsea finished the night with 16 shots on net.

The Bulldogs next game is Tuesday at home versus Ypsilanti with varsity taking the field at 5:30.

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