How does our school size affect our sports?
Each new season that comes along brings a whole new set of sports into action.
For example, with the winter season upon us, basketball, nordic skiing, alpine skiing, hockey and wrestling are in motion. However, there are always a few sports each season that can be affected by the small student population of Minnehaha.
“The thing about Minnehaha is that we try to provide a variety of sports so students will have more than a few selections of sports to choose from,” said Athletic Director Josh Thurow.
Because of the large variety of sports, some aren’t as popular as others, resulting in a lack of players, which can affect the outcome of the season.
At schools that have a high number of students, their freshman or even sophomore class does not have a chance at getting onto a varsity team.
At Minnehaha, plenty of freshmen are on the varsity team. Because of this, the team’s winning streak may not be as good as the team wants it to be.
One fall sport that can be affected by the small size of MA is the swim team. The Minnehaha-Holy Angels co-op swim team started each meet off with a disadvantage.
Because the team has no divers to compete in the diving proportion of the meet, they lost eight points every meet that they competed in this season.
The swimmers had to win back extra points they could have already had. Instead of starting a meet on an even playing field, the swim team started off with a negative number of points.
Another sport that can also be impacted by the size of Minnehaha is the wrestling team.
Since Minnehaha alone does not have enough people to make up a wrestling team, they co-op with DeLaSalle.
“We’ve had to take some point losses at almost every match that we have had in the past because of not having enough people,” said Noah Bauer, a junior on the wrestling team.
Even then, the team does not have enough people to fill every weight division at each match.
The girls’ alpine ski team is also affected by limited athlete turnout. In conference ski meets for the Independent Metro Athletic Conference, each girls’ team accumulates points by combining the individual scores of the six fastest girls on the team.
The Minnehaha girls’ alpine team consists of six racers. However, team member Anna Udris is a sixth grader and sixth graders are not allowed to race.
Therefore, only five girls can score at each race for Minnehaha, resulting in fewer accumulated points for the team.
A specific example of a time when a sporting event did not have enough people is a basketball game few years ago.
“My daughter graduated a few years ago,” said Thurow.
“When she was a sophomore we went to St. Croix Lutheran for a regular season game, C-squad, JV, and varsity. We had a couple injuries and a few people out sick.”
The Minnesota State Highschool League says that you can play three halves of a game on any given night.
The C-squad girls all played two halves, some of them had to play one half of the JV game, and a few of the JV girls had to play on varsity.
“Because of foul trouble and the JV girls not being able to use up their halves,” said Thurow. There were only three official varsity girls to play.
So they were playing five on three in the overtime portion of the game because we didn’t have enough bodies.
I looked over at the St. Croix Lutheran bench and they had eight or nine girls who hadn’t participated in the game yet. It affected us that night.”
Despite the fact that the size of Minnehaha can affect the outcome of their games, athletes will continue to play in their sports no matter what the size of the team is.
They can have a small team that may not win, but winning is not always the most important factor. Sometimes having a smaller team can bring you closer together and make playing on the team more fun.
School size does affect sports winning, but it doesn’t stop people from being a team.