LFA team enrollments see record highs and lows for the Winter Season

Garrison Sloan, Staff Writer

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This season has been record breaking for many LFA teams. Certain sports, such as Boy’s Swimming and Girl’s Hockey, are seeing record highs for enrollments. Inversely, the Girl’s Basketball team is seeing major declines in the number of people trying out this year.
The Boy’s Swim Team saw a massive increase in enrollment this year, with nearly 40 people signing up according to the team’s homepage. Boy’s Swimming does not have multiple varsity levels, so all swimmers are competing on the same team and in the same time slots.
“There are a lot more people signed up for the swim team, primarily freshman,” said Junior and Swim Team member, Richard Wu. “Much more [people enrolled] than the previous years.”
However, it’s not all good news. With more students enrolled, there’s a greater possibility of athletes being left out during events.
“It might be hard going forward for meets in order for everyone to have a chance to swim, as our team has grown in size so much,” said Wu. “The team may even split into Junior Varsity and Varsity, or during meets we might be able to have multiple heats.”
Another team seeing record numbers this year is Girl’s Varsity Hockey. This case is particularly unusual, simply due to the difficulty of hockey compared to other sports which have less players signing up.
“We have 29 [girls] signed up to play this year,” said Girl’s hockey head coach Tyler Madeley. “For comparison, we had 19 last year, the average team size is around 23.”
Like swimming, the high enrollment numbers for hockey may mean less players will get a chance to play, since in hockey, only a certain number of players are allowed to be eligible for each game.
“The enrollments this year are really high,” said Madeley. “Really the maximum number of players we can have on the roster is 30, and we can only have 18 dress for each game.”
When asked why he thought so many people signed up for hockey this year, Madeley offered up a couple of theories.
“I think that there’s kind of two categories,” Madeley stated. “One category is that there’s greater interest since we are trying to start a prep team, and the other is that there’s also a great environment on the team, which draws people to try out.”
While the Swim and Hockey teams are facing record highs for enrollment, Girls Varsity Basketball is facing the opposite; the team has decreased in size compared to last season.
“In terms of people who actually came and tried out, we only had 16 people this year,” said Girls Varsity Basketball Coach Erica Wood. “That’s obviously a really low number. Comparatively, that’s about 25% less than what we usually get.”
Low enrollments are obviously a problem for any team sport, as it can affect the level of competition they can play. A recent example is the Boy’s Varsity Football team, which had to switch from an 11v11 league to an 8v8 league in 2017 due to low numbers.
“Going forward, if the numbers stay this way, it’s going to be a problem,” said Wood. “We may not be able to sustain two teams anymore, and we may also not be able to play larger schools.”
It’s unclear right now whether or not these big shifts are a fluke, as team enrollment numbers do tend to change from year-to-year. However, teams will likely be wary of similar trends next year, and may need to make changes to their structure if these enrollment numbers stay the same.