By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
A total of 98 schools won one or more of the 129 Michigan High School Athletic Association team championships awarded during 2017-18, including one school that won both its first and then second Finals titles of all time.
Hart’s girls cross country team celebrated its first MHSAA Finals championship by winning the Lower Peninsula Division 3 meet in the fall, and then doubled up its number of titles both this school year and in school history with a first place at the Lower Peninsula Division 3 Track & Field Finals this spring.
A total of 22 schools won two or more championships this school year. Marquette claimed the most, four, winning in Division 1 girls and boys skiing, Upper Peninsula Division 1 girls cross country and Upper Peninsula Division 1 boys track & field.
Seven schools won three MHSAA Finals championships: Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood, Detroit Catholic Central, Detroit Country Day, Escanaba, Flint Powers Catholic, Houghton and Negaunee. Joining Hart with two titles during 2017-18 were Bronson, Clarkston, Detroit Edison Public School Academy, East Grand Rapids, Grosse Pointe South, Hanover-Horton, Hudson, Iron River West Iron County, Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart, Novi, Ontonagon, Pontiac Notre Dame Prep and St. Ignace.
Bessemer also was part of two championships, winning the Upper Peninsula Division 3 boys track & field title and then as the secondary school in a cooperative program with Wakefield-Marenisco that finished first in Upper Peninsula Division 2 boys cross country.
A total of 33 teams won first MHSAA titles in their respective sports. A total of 45 champions were repeat winners from 2016-17 – and 18 of those won for at least the third straight season, while nine extended title streaks to at least four consecutive years.
The Petoskey boys skiing team took over the longest title streak at eight seasons, while the Marquette boys skiing and Rockford girls lacrosse teams share the second-longest streak at six straight championships.
Sixteen of the MHSAA's 28 championship tournaments are unified, involving teams from the Upper and Lower Peninsulas, while separate competition to determine titlists in both Peninsulas is conducted in remaining sports.
For a sport-by-sport listing of MHSAA champions for 2017-18 - Click Here (PDF)
PHOTO: Grosse Pointe South's baseball team rushes the field after clinching the Division 1 baseball championship Saturday at McLane Stadium.
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.