MHSAA Spring Tournaments Soon to Begin as Calendar Turns to May

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

May 3, 2023

The wintery weather inevitably will loosen its grip across Michigan, and perhaps just in time with the first Michigan High School Athletic Association postseason events for this Spring 2023 season only a few weeks away and seeding for three of those tournaments soon to be announced.

Slightly more than 100,000 Michigan high school student-athletes participated in 2022 in spring sports for which the MHSAA sponsors postseason competition – baseball, girls and boys lacrosse, girls soccer, softball, girls and boys track & field, boys golf (Lower and Upper Peninsula) and girls golf (UP), and girls (LP) and boys (UP) tennis.

This spring’s tournaments will incorporate a few changes, with the most notable in girls lacrosse as the top two teams in every Girls Lacrosse Regional will be seeded and placed on opposite sides of the bracket for the first time. Seeds will be determined by using the MHSAA’s Michigan Power Ratings (MPR) formula, which takes into account success and strength of schedule and also is used currently to provide seeding information in boys lacrosse, girls and boys basketball, girls and boys soccer, and ice hockey. Only the top two teams in girls lacrosse will be seeded and separated; the other teams in each Regional will be placed on their brackets by random draw. Seeds and full brackets will be posted Sunday, May 7, on the girls lacrosse page of the MHSAA Website.

Golf, tennis and girls soccer also have changes that will be noticeable over these next seven weeks.

In golf, the maximum number of strokes allowed per hole during MHSAA Tournament play has been reduced from 12 to 10. Also, teams will be allowed two school-approved coaches to be present and actively coaching during postseason rounds.

In tennis, the number of players who may be seeded at No. 1 singles has been increased to seven if there are between 21-23 players in the field, and eight if the field includes 24 or more players at that flight. The No. 1 singles flight is the only flight that allows for individual qualifiers from Regional play, often making it larger than the other seven flights at the Finals.

In girls soccer, the two seeded teams at the District level will host their games if those games are not scheduled to be played at a prearranged host site. For these Districts, the No. 1 seed gets hosting priority, followed by the No. 2 seed, followed by the team on the top line of the bracket. Girls Soccer District brackets, with seeds, will be posted May 14 on the MHSAA Website.

Boys Lacrosse Regional brackets, which also are seeded, will be posted May 10 to the MHSAA Website.

The 2022-23 Spring campaign culminates with postseason tournaments, as the championship schedule begins with the Upper Peninsula Girls & Boys Golf and Boys Tennis Finals on May 31 and June 1 and wraps up with Girls Soccer, Baseball and Softball Finals on June 17. Here is a complete list of winter tournament dates:

Districts – May 25-June 3
Regional Semifinals – June 7
Regional Finals, Quarterfinals – June 10
Semifinals – June 15-16
Finals – June 17

LP Boys Regionals – May 29-June 3
UP Girls & Boys Finals – May 31 or June 1
LP Boys Finals – June 9-10

Boys Lacrosse
Pre-Regionals – May 12-17
Regionals – May 18-31
Quarterfinals – June 2-3
Semifinals – June 7
Finals – June 10

Girls Lacrosse
Pre-Regionals – May 18-22
Regionals – May 24-June 3
Semifinals – June 7
Finals – June 10

Girls Soccer
Districts – May 24-June 3
Regionals – June 6-10
Semifinals – June 13-14
Finals – June 16-17

Districts – May 24-June 3
Regionals – June 10
Quarterfinals – June 13
Semifinals – June 15-16
Finals – June 17

LP Girls Regionals – May 17-20
UP Boys Finals – May 31 or June 1
LP Girls Finals – June 2-3

Track & Field
Regionals – May 18-20
Finals – June 3

MHSAA High School Sports Participation Continues to Exceed Population Ranking Nationally

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

September 15, 2023

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.