Girls Spring Sports

Title IX at 50: Anticipation High as 45,000 Girls Return to Spring Sports

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

Nearly 45,000 Michigan female high school athletes are expected to participate in sports across both peninsulas this spring to cap off the 2021-22 school year.

During the 2020-21 school year, track & field was the most popular girls spring sport – and third most popular girls sport overall – with 12,739 participants. Both girls soccer and softball in Spring 2021 drew more than 11,000 athletes, with girls lacrosse just under 3,000, Lower Peninsula girls tennis at nearly 7,000 and Upper Peninsula girls golf at just more than 100.

The first girls spring MHSAA Finals championships were earned in 1973 in track & field, with Lincoln Park and Marquette winning Open Class titles in their respective peninsulas. The first Upper Peninsula Girls Golf Finals actually had been played in Fall 1972, but that sport moved to spring for the 1973-74 school year. Softball became an MHSAA-sponsored tournament sport in 1975.

Lower Peninsula girls golf also was played during the spring from its MHSAA tournament start in 1973 until the court-ordered move to fall beginning in 2007 – which saw girls tennis in the Lower Peninsula switch to the spring in its place.

Girls soccer was added to the MHSAA girls spring tournament lineup in 1983. Girls lacrosse (and boys lacrosse) were added to the MHSAA series of sponsored tournament sports in 2005.

This season’s Finals for girls sports begin with U.P. golf, which can play its championship tournaments as early as June 1, and will conclude with softball and soccer title games June 18.

Second Half's weekly Title IX Celebration posts are sponsored by Michigan Army National Guard.

Previous Title IX at 50 Spotlights

April 5: Regina's Laffey Retiring as Definition of Legendary - Read
March 29: 
Edison's Whitehorn named 2022 Miss Basketball - Read
March 22: 
Carney-Nadeau Sets Girls Hoops Standard with 78-Win Streak - Read
March 15: 
Binder Among Voices Telling Our Story on MHSAA Network - Read
March 8: 
28 Years, Thousands of Cheers - Read
March 1: 
Kearsley Rolls On Among Girls Bowling's Early Successes - Read
Feb. 22: Marquette Ties Record for Swim & Dive Finals Success - Read
Feb. 15: Jaeger's 2004 Winter Run Created Lasting Connection - Read
Feb. 8: Marian's Cicerone to Finish Among All-Time Elite - Read
Feb. 1: WISL Award Honors Builders of State's Girls Sports Tradition - Read
Jan. 25: Decades Later, Edwards' Legend Continues to Grow - Read
Jan. 18: Iron Mountain Completes Championship Climb - Read
Jan. 11: Harrold's Achievement Heralds Growth of Girls Wrestling - Read
Dec. 20: Competitive Cheer Gives Michigan Plenty to Cheer About - Read
Dec. 14: 
Evelyn's Game Had Plenty of Magic - Read
Dec. 7: 
Council Term Ends, But Leinaar Leaves Lasting Impact - Read
Nov. 30: 
Basketball Season Ready to Add to Rich Tradition - Read
Nov. 23: 
Marysville Builds Winning Streak Yet to be Challenged - Read
Nov. 16: Wroubel Has Championed Girls School Sports from Their Start - Read
Nov. 9: Pioneer's Joyce Legendary in Michigan, National Swim History - Read
Nov. 2: Royal Oak's Finch Leading Way on Football Field - Read
Oct. 26: Coach Clegg Sets Championship Standard at Grand Blanc - Read
Oct. 19: Rockford Girls Set Pace, Hundreds After Have Continued to Chase - Read
Oct. 12: 
Bedford Volleyball Pioneer Continues Blazing Record-Setting Trail - Read
Oct. 5: 
Warner Paved Way to Legend Status with Record Rounds - Read
Sept. 28: Taylor Kennedy Gymnasts Earn Fame as 1st Champions - Read
Sept. 21: 
Portage Northern Star Byington Becomes Play-by-Play Pioneer - Read
Sept. 14: 
Guerra/Groat Legacy Continues to Serve St. Philip Well - Read
Sept. 7: 
Best-Ever Conversation Must Include Leland's Glass - Read
Aug. 31: We Will Celebrate Many Who Paved the Way - Read

PHOTOS Spring Sports (MHSAA file photo)