YORKVILLE – Yorkville High School saw a decrease in athletics student participation last school year, but school sports officials are saying they anticipate those numbers being back on the rise after the current school year.
The Yorkville School District 115 Board of Education accepted the annual activities and athletics reports for Yorkville Middle School and Yorkville High School during their Oct. 28 meeting at Yorkville High School.
Troy Courtney, director of human resources for Yorkville School District 115, said the number of clubs for Yorkville Middle School increased by six from the 2017-2018 school year to the 2018-2019 school year, and there were 32 more students participating in those groups in the 2018-2019 school year. This is despite a "minor decrease" in extracurricular stipend amounts for the school, he said.
Courtney said there was a large increase in the number of students participating in clubs at the high school, with the number of clubs increasing by seven and 220 more students participating in clubs from the previous year. Interestingly enough, Courtney said, the numbers of students involved increased by the end of the season as opposed to the usual decrease by that time.
“One of the areas that did see a big jump was in the area of music, where they actually increased by the end of the season,” Courtney said.
Courtney said middle school athletics remained about the same from the previous year, but overall high school athletics participation decreased by 110 students from the 2017-2018 school year to last year. To quickly review, he said, co-ed cross country student participation was down by 25%, girl's tennis was down by half from the previous year's numbers and boys track participation was down by about 15% from last year.
"So we've seen some big changes," Courtney said.
School officials said during the meeting the next course of action might include reaching out to student leaders to get more insight on why participation numbers for high school athletics decreased this year.
Luke Engelhardt, athletics director for Yorkville High School, said the student athlete leadership group, which includes 60 students representing each sport the school offers, has yet to discuss why those numbers decreased between those two school years. He said the group meets monthly and the next scheduled formal meeting is set for Dec. 11.
"So it will be a focus area that will be brought up," whether it's during the December meeting or a future meeting, Engelhardt said.
In the meantime, Engelhardt said, fall sports participation for the current school year increased by more than 30 students from the 2018-2019 school year, with boy's soccer numbers increasing by about 15 athletes and the creation of a freshman team. He said he's also anticipating similar increases in preliminary numbers for winter sports participation, with more students taking part in wrestling than last year, for example.
“So that’s really encouraging,” Engelhardt said.