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Maine HS Sports Participants Grows To 52,000

Paul Nantkes/Cole Daniel/Walter Churchill
Paul Nantkes/Cole Daniel/Walter Churchill

For the 28th consecutive year the number of high schoolers participating in sports is up over the previous year. The National Federation of State High School Associations says nearly 8 million boys and girls take part in some sports activity.

The biggest jump comes from the girls ranks – almost 76,000 more girls nationwide participated in 2016-17 than in 2015-16 according to the new survey released Monday.

Maine was part of that girls increase in numbers. 24,307 girls were participants, that is up 789 in Maine over the previous year. That’s up about 3.5%.

28,054 boys took part of athletics and that is up by 424 boys from 2015-16.

In total, the numbers of high schoolers participating in sports in Maine is 52,361. That is up 1,213 or about 2.5% year to year.

Here are some of the Maine high school numbers from the new NFHS survey for 2016-17…

> As is the case nationwide, the biggest jump in participation comes in competitive spirit squads. A 318 student increase in Maine and that is close to a 30% increase.

> While there has been so much talk about the drop off in roster sizes of football teams, in Maine the number high schoolers playing football dropped by just 32 from 2015-16 to 2016-17.

> Lacrosse is expanding across the state but the NFHS numbers show only 6 girls and 41 boys were added to lacrosse totals last year.

>  Girls soccer numbers in Maine declined by 30 kids. Boys soccer went up by 37.

> Baseball numbers in Maine declined by 99 and softball declined by 109.

> Ice hockey numbers stayed about the same.

> Kids in Maine playing high school volleyball went up by 65.

> Track & field numbers went up more than 100 for both indoor and outdoor boys. Girls numbers are about the same year to year.

NOTE: This is the second and final week of the MPA mandated ‘hands-off period’ for high school athletics. Fall sports teams begin practice next Monday.

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