sports

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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sports

New Michigan High School Fall Rule Changes

EAST LANSING, Mich. – Aug. 3 – A pair of football rules changes taking effect this season builds on continuing work to minimize health risks in all interscholastic sports as 2017-18 fall practices begin next week for member schools of the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA).

The first major rule change is to the allowable level of contact on a blindside block in football which is aimed at increasing player safety. A blindside block involves contact by a blocker against an opponent who, because of physical positioning and focus of concentration (for example, while following a ball carrier on a kickoff return), is vulnerable to injury by a block coming from outside his field of vision. Blindside blocks now must be initiated with open hands only; blindside contact that is forceful and initiated with other parts of the body outside of the free blocking zone will be penalized as excessive and unnecessary.

In addition to redefining the blindside block, the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) sought to also minimize risk by eliminating the pop-up kick – that is, any free kick during which the kicker drives the ball immediately to the ground, causing it to bounce only once and into the air similar to the flight of a ball kicked directly off the tee. Kicks off a tee that bounce multiple times and then pop into the air remain allowed.

A few other notable rules changes in football will be apparent this fall:

  • A defensive player will be called for encroachment for striking the offensive snapper’s hand or arm, or the ball, prior to the snapper releasing the ball to begin a play.
  • Non-contact face guarding is no longer considered pass interference.
  • A team accepting a penalty during the final two minutes of either half now will have the option of re-starting the clock at the snap of the ball rather than the referee’s ready-for-play signal.

While most fall sports face at least minor rules changes this season, a few more of the most noticeable adjustments will come in boys soccer and girls swimming & diving.

  • In boys soccer, overtime periods and shootouts during the regular season have been eliminated. Leagues and conferences are allowed an overtime option for their end-of-season bracketed tournaments, but overtime in those cases must not exceed two 10-minute periods plus a shootout. Multi-team regular-season tournaments also may receive waivers to employ a shootout if it is used to determine the winner of a game.
  • Also in soccer, kickoffs may now travel in any direction from the center of the field. Previously, kickoffs at the high school level were required to move forward down the field of play.
  • In girls swimming & diving, a diver will need only four regular-season wins (instead of the previous five) to qualify for the Regional Diving Qualification Meet. A diver also may qualify if she places ahead of all divers from opposing schools in varsity competition in at least four meets, even if she does not finish ahead of her teammates.
  • Also in swimming & diving, to promote safer take-offs during relays, the second, third and fourth swimmers must have at least one foot in contact with the starting platform in front of the starting block wedge during take-off. Those second, third and fourths swimmers may not take off with both feet on top of the starting block wedge.
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Jackson High School to join SEC White starting in 2018-19 school year

Jackson High School has been seeking a new athletic conference to join, and it now has one. The Jackson School Board voted unanimously to approve the switch from the Capital Area Activites Conference (CAAC) to the Southeastern Conference White Divison for all Jackson High sports teams beginning in the 2018-19 school year.

The SEC White, a six-school league in 2016-17, will add Pinckney to the conference for the 2017-18 year before Jackson makes it an eight-team league the following season.  Jackson’s enrollment of 1,246 would make it the third-largest school in the SEC White. In addition to newcomer Pinckney (1,279), the SEC White includes Adrian (794), Chelsea (867), Dexter (1,146), Tecumseh (832), Ypsilanti (1,115) and Ypsilanti Lincoln (1,404).

The Red Division includes Ann Arbor Huron (1,589), Ann Arbor Pioneer (2,055), Ann Arbor Skyline (1,752), Monroe (2,046), Saline (1,923) and Temperance Bedford (1,597). There are no plans for expanding the SEC Red.

The CAAC consists of eight teams, seven of which are considered Lansing area. The SEC White will have eight teams, each of which has its own geographic region.

“Each school (in the SEC) has its own sense of community,” Jackson High Athletic Director Jack Fairly said earlier this month. “The CAAC has been good to us, but being from the Jackson area, we’re down here by ourselves. Teams in (the SEC) all have their own community, whereas the CAAC was really a greater-Lansing conference and then us.”

Joining a conference that didn’t increase travel was also an important dynamic. The distance between Jackson and every school in the SEC White ranges from 26-51 miles while the distance between Jackson and the CAAC schools ranged from 32-49 miles. Additionally, the annual SEC league fee is $700, compared to $3,125 in the CAAC.

Starting this fall in 2017 Pinckney comes back to the SEC after it left in to join the Kensington Lakes Activities Association (KLAA) in 2000. The Pirates held rivalries with Dexter and Chelsea, as well as Tecumseh, still playing an annual basketball game with the Dreadnaughts.

Pinckney was looking for a good conference fit and as their enrollment falls they will be on pace with several of the other schools in the SEC White.
 “We’re joining a conference where schools have some of the strongest programs in the state,” Pinckney Athletic Director Brian Wardlow said. “But it does allow us to get back into a more level playing field and against some of our neighbors. This seemed like a natural fit, even on more levels than athletics.”
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sports

MHSAA 2017-18 School Year Classifications Announced

EAST LANSING, Mich. – March 27 – Classifications for Michigan High School Athletic Association elections and postseason tournaments in traditionally classified sports (A, B, C, D) for the 2017-18 school year have been announced, with enrollment breaks for postseason tournaments set up by divisions posted to each sport’s page on the MHSAA Website.

Classifications for the upcoming school year are based on a second semester count date, which for MHSAA purposes was Feb. 8. The enrollment figure submitted for athletic classification purposes may be different from the count submitted for school aid purposes, as it does not include students ineligible for athletic competition because they reached their 19th birthday prior to September 1 of the current school year and will not include alternative education students if none are allowed athletic eligibility by the local school district.

After all counts are submitted, tournament-qualified member schools are ranked according to enrollment, and then split as closely into quarters as possible. For 2017-18, there are 750 tournament-qualified member schools with 186 schools in Class A, 187 schools in Class B, 188 schools in Class C and 189 schools in Class D.

Effective with the 2017-18 school year, schools with 881 or more students are in Class A in MHSAA postseason tournament competition. The enrollment limits for Class B are 406-880; Class C is 204-405; and schools with enrollments of 203 and fewer are Class D. The break between Classes A and B is the same as for 2016-17, the break between Classes B and C decreased six students, and the break between Classes C and D is three students fewer than the current school year.

The new classification breaks will see 20 schools move up in class for 2017-18, while 25 schools will move down.

Schools recently were notified of their classification. MHSAA Executive Director John E. “Jack” Roberts said schools may not subsequently lower their enrollment figure. However, if revised enrollment figures should be higher and indicate that a school should be playing in a higher class, that school would be moved up.

Schools have the option to play at any higher classification for a minimum of two years, but must exercise the option by April 15 for fall sports, August 15 for winter sports and October 15 for spring sports.

MHSAA tournament sports that will be conducted in traditional classifications for 2017-18 are Basketball and Girls Volleyball. Football will use traditional classifications to determine playoff points.

Sports which will compete in nearly equal divisions are: Baseball, Bowling, Girls Competitive Cheer, Lower Peninsula Cross Country, Lower Peninsula Golf, Ice Hockey, Lacrosse, Lower Peninsula Soccer, Skiing, Softball, Lower Peninsula Swimming & Diving, Lower Peninsula Tennis, Lower Peninsula Track & Field and Wrestling.

Here is a complete list of schools changing classification for 2017-18. (Note: This list does not include schools opting up in class/division for tournaments, which can be found on the Administrators page of the MHSAA Website, under Enrollment and Classification): 

Moving Up From Class B to Class A

Battle Creek Harper Creek

Hazel Park

Redford Union

Stevensville Lakeshore

Zeeland West

 

Moving Down From Class A to Class B

New Boston Huron

Niles

Parma Western

Pontiac

Romulus

 

Moving Down from Class A to Class C

Detroit International Academy

 

Moving Up From Class C to Class B

Boyne City

Detroit Cornerstone Health & Technology

Detroit West Side Academy

Ecorse

Harrison

Jonesville

Michigan Center

Millington

 

Moving Down From Class B to Class C

Canton Preparatory

Clinton Township Clintondale

Detroit Henry Ford

Detroit School of Arts

Flint Academy West

Houghton

Ithaca

Pinconning

Sanford Meridian Early College

Ypsilanti Arbor Prep

 

Moving Up From Class D to Class C

Brighton Charyl Stockwell Prep Academy

Detroit Leadership Academy

Detroit Public Safety Academy

Jackson Preparatory & Early College

Marcellus

Mendon

Pittsford

Saginaw Michigan Lutheran Seminary

 

Moving Down From Class C to Class D

Detroit Randolph Technical

Genesee

Kingston

Melvindale Academy for Business & Technology

Munising

Muskegon Heights Academy

Rudyard

West Bloomfield Frankel Jewish Academy

 

New Postseason Eligible Tournament Schools in 2017-18

Ann Arbor Washtenaw Tech Middle College

Detroit Leadership Academy

Detroit Hope of Detroit

Hudsonville Libertas Christian

Mancelona North Central Academy

Westland American International Academy

 

Enrollment Breaks by Classes – 2017-18

(Number of schools in parentheses)

Class A: 881 and above (186 schools)

Class B: 406 – 880 (187)

Class C: 204 – 405 (188)

Class D: 203 and below (189)

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sports

Williamston Edged In Class B Quarterfinals

 

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Williamston Freshman Mitchell Cook drives the lane in the first

 

The Williamston Hornets had made it to the semi-finals at the Breslin Center in East Lansing last year, but this year came up just 1 basket short ending their great season. With the game tied at 51 against the River Rouge Panthers and the clock winding down, it was the Panthers Darian Owens-White hitting a 3 point shot with what would be the go-ahead game-winning basket, edging out the Hornets 54-51.

It was a very good game right from the tip-off. River Rouge came out strong and fast but the Hornets of Williamston didn’t panic and got right back into the game when Sophomore Sean Cobb hit 2 back to back 3-pointers to cut the Panthers lead to 1 after the first.

The Hornets defense was strong in the second giving River Rouge fits and keeping the Hornets within stinging distance. With the score tied at 20, with two and a half minutes left to go in the first half, Junior Cole Kleiver hit a huge 3 -point bucket to give the Hornets their first lead of the game. In front of a huge green and white-clad crowd, the Hornets took a 27-27 tie into the half, something the 25-1 Panthers have not had to deal with all season.

After the half, the Panthers scored early and held the Hornets to just two field goals while outscoring them 13-4 over the first 7:58 of the quarter until a Kleiver layup at the buzzer made it 40-33 entering the fourth.

“I warned them at halftime and said, ‘We really need to win the first four minutes coming out,'” Williamston coach Tom Lewis said. “I just had a feeling they were going to come with a different level. A lot of seniors on the other side of the floor and they did that, we struggled to score, had some messy possessions, they hit some shots … (Owens-White) just killed us with a lot of big baskets.”

In the 4th, the Hornets defense was swarming forcing turnovers and bad shots. The Panthers started to panic as the relentless Hornets fought back and with just over a minute left Cobb drove to the basket for 2 and was fouled. He hit the free throw giving the Hornets a 51-49 lead with time running out. The Panthers were able to tie it up and with the Hornets playing for the last shot, what happened next will be talked about for quite a while.

Freshman Mitchell Cook took a pass and drove the baseline and put up a beautiful underhanded shot that went in as he was knocked hard to the floor. But instead of a Hornet lead, the possibility of a 3-point play, and quite possible certain victory was snatched away as the official called Cook for a charge, even though his defender had never established position and was not set.

It was then that Owens-White hit his 3 point shot and with only 3 seconds left, the Hornets launched a deep 3 as time expired that just missed bringing their excellent season to a very sad end.

The Hornets finish the season with a great 21-5 record. They will graduate 5 seniors but will be bringing back a bevy of young talent.  Kleiver led the Hornets with 21 points, Cobb finished with 17 and 5 rebounds and 2 big blocked shots, while Sy Barnett finished with 11 points. Cook played an outstanding defensive game with 3 steals, 5 assist, and a big shot made in the 3rd to help keep his team in the game.

River Rouge will travel to the Breslin Center in East Lansing where they will take on the 24-2 Ludington Orioles who defeated Lake Fenton tonight.

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Jackson Christian Pulls Off Big Victory On Senior Night

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JCS Mitchell McNeil drives the lane for 2

At Jackson Christian High School on Friday, the Royals honored 7 seniors before their game against Hillsdale Academy. That’s over half of Head Coach Rick Blumenstock’s team. Drew Blackgrove, Luke Carpenter, Kyle Cochrane, Mitchell McNeil, Thomas Miller, Nathan Ross, and Caleb Thomas were all honored before the game as they and their parents were presented with gifts and goodwill from their school and classmates. Nathaniel Reynolds was also honored as the team manager.

After the ceremony, the Royals didn’t waste any time getting down to the game they all love, as senior center Thomas Miller won the tip off. Both teams matched up evenly as the Colts tried to avenge the one-point loss they suffered on their home court earlier this season.  But it was not to be as the Royals fought valiantly for a huge 41-35 victory.

It was a very close game before two evenly matched teams. The Colts took a 23-20 lead into the halftime and it was obvious from the team’s matchups they wanted to keep the ball out of Miller, Blackgrove, and McNeil’s hands.

But in the 3rd quarter, the Royals exploded right away when hard playing McNeil drove between 3 Colts defenders for the basket. Blackgrove came back to help by hitting a big 3 and the Royals never trailed again. Cochrane drained two 3 pointers to put the Royals way out front and the solid Royal defense and Miller’s exceptional rebounding ability kept the victory in the Royals clasp.

McNeil led all scorers with 14 points, Miller had 8 to go along with his team-leading 13 rebounds, Blackgrove finished with 7 along with 8 rebounds, 3 assist, a steal, and a block.

After the game, many of the kids went ice skating for their annual snowcoming event that the school puts on every year. The Royals play their final home game of the year Tuesday.

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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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