With temperatures in the mid-50s and the wind whipping through the high school sports fields, it has felt more like spring in Haverhill lately. Another sign of spring comes as Hillie student-athletes take to the fields, courts and tracks. The athletes have been working hard and the teams officially kick off their 2012 seasons this week.

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Participation in sports at Haverhill High has increased significantly throughout the year and this spring is no different. We currently have 302 students participating in a spring sport. Overall, there have been 968 participants in sports at Haverhill High in 2011-2012, an increase of 100 from the previous school year.

This increase can be attributed in part to the significant decrease in user fees - dropping to $125 per sport compared to $275 per sport last year. However, it can also be attributed to the great work the more than 50 coaches are doing to provide great experiences for our athletes.

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For all of the current spring schedules and information on Haverhill High sports, please visit www.hillies.org and click on Athletics.

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The athletic department will host its second Haverhill High Athletics Golf Tournament on May 21st at the Renaissance Golf Club. The entry fee of $175 per player includes golf, lunch, dinner and gifts. Play one of the premier golf courses in New England while also helping the student-athletes of Haverhill. For more information, go to www.hillie.org. Please contact Tom O'Brien at tobrien@haverhill-ps.org or (978) 374-5732 to reserve your spot today.

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Tom O'Brien is the athletic director at Haverhill High School. He contributes this regular column.

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