No changes in MHSAA enrollment classifications for local schools

For local schools, the MHSAA enrollment classifications for 2016-17 will remain the same as last year.

Barely.

The Houghton Gremlins came the closest to making a change, but they will remain in Class B. The Gremlins’ enrollment classification is 412, which is the cutoff between Class B and Class C. Class B is from 412-880, while Class C consists of schools with enrollments of 207-411.

Flirting with the cutoff line can only promote questions of “What if?” when looking back on a season after its conclusion – but more on that later.

The Calumet Copper Kings, with 406 students, was the next closest to switching divisions. Last year, Calumet had an enrollment one below the Class B threshold of 420.

Just three U.P. schools saw their classification change for the upcoming season: the Munising Mustangs, Newberry Indians and Rudyard Bulldogs each will make the transition from Class D to Class C. This could impact the likes of Calumet, the Hancock Bulldogs or the L’Anse Purple Hornets in the girls basketball regionals. It could in boys basketball, but it’s not as likely.

The Munising Mustangs have won two straight district titles in girls basketball with the same core, and sport two seniors who were named to the All-U.P. team last year: Frankie Mattson was named to the Class D First Team, while Marissa Immel was on the Second Team. Along with Kelsea and Melissa Ackerman, the Mustangs have an experienced and formidable squad.

The Newberry Indians are coming off a regional championship and feature Taylor Bryant, who was named to the Associated Press Class D All-State Team, Class D U.P. Player of the Year and to the All-U.P. Dream Team. Bryant averaged 18.8 points, 10.2 rebounds, 6 assists and 5.1 steals a game

It wouldn’t be a surprise to see the winner of the L’Anse district – with Calumet, Hancock and Ironwood – eventually see either of those teams.

Back to Houghton flirting with the cutoff.

Watching the Westwood Patriots’ underdog run to the boys Class C state quarterfinals was a treat for the U.P. But if you’re from Houghton, it’s hard to ask, “Could that have been us?”

Houghton defeated Westwood 51-40 on Feb. 26 – nine days before districts began – in a game where Houghton was never outscored in any quarter. After talking with players and people around the program, it was evident they believed they could have made a similar run as Westwood, if not for a few students for a lesser enrollment into Class C.

I would imagine the Houghton girls from 2014-15 look upon Calumet’s state title with the same type of envy.

Still, missing out on a classification it’s not something to make excuses for. The Houghton coaches are not using it as an excuse, nor should anyone else. Nothing is guaranteed in sports. And “What if?” scenarios are not something any athlete should concern itself with. You can’t change the numbers; all you can do is worry about what you can control, and that starts with working at your own game.

And really, the only numbers that truly matter are the ones on the scoreboard.