THE BIG LAKE GIRLS CROSS COUNTRY TEAM at the start of the Big Lake Invitational earlier this year. Cross country is one of the fall sports that just ended its season over the past week.

Fall sports season wrapping up

Subhead: 
Staff Writer
Jennifer Edwards

 

Big Lake High School athletes are almost done with their fall season. Only the varsity swimming and diving team has yet to complete their season.
Activities Director Brad Schnitzler reported on student participation in school athletic programs at the last school board meeting.
Among the boys, 103 went out for football. Another 17 boys competed in cross country and 28 joined soccer, playing in a cooperative with Spectrum  High School of Elk River. 
Last year at this time, the Hornets had 117 boys playing football, 15 in cross country and 11 in soccer.
“Soccer did draw a few players away from football this year,” said Activities Director Brad Schnitzler.
Among the girls, 10 went out for cross country, 15 signed up to participate on the swimming and diving team, 36 played soccer, 51 competed in volleyball, 23 went out for tennis and seven participated in fall cheerleading.
Last year, nine girls participated in cross-country, 45 in swimming and diving, 39 in soccer, 47 in volleyball 25 in tennis and 10 in fall cheerleading.
In all, 148 boys and 178 girls participated in high school sports this fall. Last year, 142 boys and 175 girls participated.
The number of student athletes competing in high school sports has stayed fairly constant after a drop in 2008-09 when activity fees increased from $110 to $220 in 2007-08. 
“We were in a budget crunch at that time and our fees were significantly lower than other schools in the region charged,” Schnitzler said. “We had to make adjustments.”
The numbers continued to decline slightly to reach a low of 119 boys and 158 girls in 2010-11, at the height of the economic downturn.
In all, 326 students, boys and girls from the high school, participated fall athletic events. Last year the total was 318.
Middle School
In Big Lake Middle School, 52 boys went out for football this year and 17 went out for soccer. A total of 69 boys played this year compared to 53 last year. 
Fees for participation in middle school sports went from $160 in 2009-10 down to $125 in 2010-11, when there were 62 participants. The lowest number of middle school boys involved in sports was in 2011-12, when only 49 boys went out for fall sports.
Among the middle school girls, seven went out for cross country and 47 went out for volleyball. Another 19 played tennis. Swimmers competed with high school students on a varsity or junior varsity level. There were not enough girls interested in soccer to have the program.
The total number of girls in the middle school competing in school sports was 73, up from 70 last year but still down from 80 in 2011-12 and 93 in 2010-11.
Although the number of middle school students playing for school teams has grown slightly over the past few years, up to 142 this year for boys and girls combined, compared to 123 last year, middle school student participation is still down by about half for boys and girls compared to the number of participants in 2007-08, before fee increases went in to effect.
In 2007-08, there was a total of 280 middle school athletes competing in school sports. Fees were $80. Now they are $125.

photos


MEMBERS OF THE BIG LAKE HIGH SCHOOL CHAMBER CHOIR performed for the school board at the beginning of their last meeting. The Chamber Choir members are selected for their skills from among their peers. They were directed by Mary Ebanks. (Photo by Jennifer Edwards).

DARLENE LANZ grew up just east of town and has lived in or around Big Lake all her life. She recalls what Christmas was like in Big Lake back then. (Photo by Jennifer Edwards).

SHERBURNE COUNTY ATTORNEY Kathleen Heaney, taking over as MCAA President. (Submitted photo.)

Cheryl Turck and Corey Mabis of the Sherburne County Probation Dept. (Photo by Ken Francis.)

SANTA AND HIS HELPERS prepared to give out toys to 111 families at the Food Shelf Monday. The toys were all donated by one local merchant. (Photo by Ken Francis.)