By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
Fans wishing to purchase advance reserved and group general admission tickets for the 2014 Michigan High School Athletic Association Individual Wrestling Finals, Feb. 27-March 1 at The Palace of Auburn Hills, may now do so exclusively through The Palace Box Office.
The advance reserved ticket sales program allows the discounted purchase of all-tournament tickets, giving the bearer admission to all five sessions of the event, reserving the same seat. Advance all-tournament reserved tickets are $40 each; the ticket price includes in and out parking privileges at The Palace, and there is no limit on the number of seats which may be purchased in a single order. There is a $5 handling charge for each order.
Spectators ordering reserved seat tickets must designate the wrestling division they prefer to watch, which will result in their ticket assignment being in full view of the mats being used for that competition. For Divisions 3 and 4, the seats will be on the side of the arena opposite the mat placement, providing an unobstructed view of those mats.
Group seating is available on a general admission basis in the upper level of The Palace for all sessions. A minimum purchase of 10 tickets per session is required. Group tickets are $4.50 when purchased in quantities of 10 per session, with the price including in and out parking privileges at The Palace. A $5 handling charge will be applied to each group order.
Orders must be postmarked no later than Jan. 31 to qualify for the advance reserved seat discount. Group general admission sales orders must be postmarked no later than Feb. 14 to qualify for that discount. Order forms may be found on the Wrestling page of the MHSAA Website.
General reserved seat ticket sales will begin Feb. 3 exclusively through The Palace of Auburn Hills Box Office. Only all-session reserved seat tickets will be sold at a cost of $45 each, plus applicable Palace Box Office handling charges.
Remaining single-session reserved and general admission tickets will go on sale Feb. 26, exclusively through The Palace of Auburn Hills Box Office. Single-session reserved seat tickets are priced at $10 each, and general admission seats in the upper bowl of the arena are priced at $9 per session, which include in and out parking privileges.
Michigan continued to rank 10th nationally in high school-aged population during the 2022-23 school year and continued to best that ranking in participation in high school sports, according to the annual national participation study conducted by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS).
Michigan ranked ninth for overall participation nationally, based on a total of 268,070 participants who competed in sports for which the MHSAA conducts postseason tournaments. The total counts students once for each sport played, meaning students who are multiple-sport athletes are counted more than once.
Michigan also ranked ninth nationally for both girls (111,569) and boys (156,501) participation separately, while ranking ninth for high-school aged boys population and 10th for girls according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates.
Michigan’s national rankings in seven sports improved from 2021-22, while nine sports saw lower national rankings than the previous year. The biggest jumps came in girls volleyball and boys soccer, which both moved up two spots – volleyball to fourth-highest participation nationally, and boys soccer to eighth. Girls golf (fourth), softball (seventh), girls track & field (seventh), girls swimming & diving and boys swimming & diving (both eighth) also moved up on their respective national lists.
Participation in several more MHSAA sports also continued to outpace the state’s rankings for high school-aged population.
For girls, participation in bowling (fourth), tennis (fourth), cross country (sixth), basketball (seventh), competitive cheer (ninth) and soccer (ninth) all ranked higher than their population listing of 10th nationally. Among boys sports, bowling (second), ice hockey (fourth), tennis (fifth), golf (fifth), basketball (sixth), track & field (sixth), cross country (seventh), football – all formats combined (seventh) and baseball (eighth) exceeded that ninth ranking for population.
Only 11 states sponsor alpine skiing, but Michigan ranked third on both the girls and boys lists for that sport. Wrestling, with boys and girls totals counted together, ranked eighth.
Participation nationally rose more than three percent from 2021-22 to 7,857,969 participants, the first upward movement in participation data since the all-time record of 7,980,886 in 2017-18, which was followed by the first decline in 30 years in 2018-19 and the two-year halt in data collection by the NFHS related to the pandemic. (The MHSAA continued to collect and report its data during this time.) The national total includes 4,529,789 boys and 3,328,180 girls, according to figures obtained from the 51 NFHS member state associations, which include the District of Columbia.
Eleven-player football remained the most popular boys sport, and most popular participation sport overall, with the total climbing back over one million participants. The total of 1,028,761 participants marked an increase of 54,969 and 5.6 percent from the previous year. This year’s increase was the first in the sport since 2013 and only the second increase since the all-time high of 1,112,303 in 2008-09. There also was a slight gain (34,935 to 35,301) in the number of boys in 6-, 8- and 9-player football.
Next on the boys list were outdoor track & field, basketball, baseball, soccer, wrestling, cross country, tennis, golf, and swimming & diving, respectively.
On the girls side, outdoor track and field (up 6.5 percent) and volleyball (3.6) remained in the top two spots, while basketball reclaimed the third position. Cross country ranked fourth, followed by softball, soccer, golf, tennis, swimming & diving and competitive spirit, respectively.
Texas remained atop the list of state participation with 827,446, but California closed the gap in second adding 25,000 participants to climb to 787,697. New York is third with 356,803, followed by Illinois (335,801), Ohio (323,117), Pennsylvania (316,587), Florida (297,389), New Jersey (272,159), Michigan (268,070) and Minnesota (219,094), which climbed into the top 10 past Massachusetts.
The participation survey has been compiled in its current form by the NFHS since 1971.