Michigan ranked 8th in national sports participation

Evart players get in shape at a recent practice.

BIG RAPIDS — High school sports are popular with students throughout the state of Michigan.

The results prove it.

According to statistics released this week by the National Federation of State High School Associations, Michigan had the eighth-most participants in high school sports nationally in 2016-17 after ranking seventh in participation the last eight school years.

In total, 295,647 student athletes (127,277 girls and 168,370 boys) took part in high school athletics, including sports in which the MHSAA does not conduct postseason tournaments.

The statistics include students once for each sport in which he or she participates, meaning students who play more than one sport are counted more than once.

Michigan’s girls participation ranked eighth nationally while boys also ranked eighth.

Football (1,086,748) maintains the distinction of being the most-played high school sport nationwide, followed by boys track & field (600,136), boys basketball (550,305), girls track & field (494,477) and baseball (492,935).

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