By Tom Southard
The Observer 

Where Have All The Students Gone?

Numbers Low Not Only For Kimball Sports, But For Class Sizes As Well


November 7, 2019

Drew Biesecker / For The Observer

The Kimball Longhorns football roster has found tough going in the numbers game and, in turn, in games on the field.

While sitting in a medical center in Fort Collins this past week while my wife was getting her eyes checked, I picked up a magazine and found myself reading a very interesting article about how the number of high school kids who are involved in athletics and sporting activities are drastically decreasing – both at the national level and in the Fort Collins area.

This also got me thinking about our own situation here at the local level.

Some of the figures I will give you were put together by the National Federation of State High School Association (NFHS).

The largest drop in numbers is in tackle football, where on the national level there were 43,395 fewer for the 2018-19 season than in the 2017-18. It's even more drastic in Fort Collins, where it went from 800 players to 200!

Basketball saw the second largest reduction in numbers, dropping 23,944 players in national figures and by over 50% at Fort Collins from 2,500 to 1,200.

I have been quite concerned about the lack of the numbers in the Kimball High programs, but after checking with Kimball High administration, I was blown away when they give me some numbers!

I didn't think it was that long back when we had graduating classes of 50 or 60 kids, but when I was informed at Kimball High there are now a total of 62 boys and 55 girls.

Breaking it down farther, for the boys there are 14 freshman, 13 sophomores, 17 juniors and 18 seniors. The girls have 11 freshman, 15 sophomores, 15 juniors and 14 seniors.

This helps me understand more why our numbers participating in our sports offered are so low.

Out of the 62 boy figure, there were 22 checked out at the start of the football season and 5 out for the cross country. The total of 27 out of the 62 boys is still only 43.5%. The girls show 21 playing volleyball along with 7 in girls golf, and 4 in cross country for a total of 32 of the 55 girls total or 58% participation.

It doesn't look like it is going to get better either.

I talked with Chauncey Pedersen, who coaches not only the Kimball high girls basketball, but is also coaching the Kimball junior high girls basketball this season. He has 6 girls from the 9 girl 7th grade class checked out, and 10 of the 16 girls from the 8th grade class signed up to play. This isn't bad participation but the class numbers are so low.

Now we know why Kimball has dropped to 8 man football and will play C-2 in boys basketball.

Coach Pedersen informs me the Kimball High girls will be D-1 with their low numbers.

I can remember when I was writing stories about Bushnell, Dix, Potter, Harrisburg, Pine Bluffs and Kimball all playing 11 man football! Now there's no more Bushnell, Potter and Dix are combined and play 6 man football. Harrisburg, or Banner County, failed to put teams together for some sports in the last couple or three years, and it goes on and on. What has happened? Where have all our young kids gone? We need kids!


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