High School Sports Participation Achieves All-Time High
RENTON, Wash. – The annual High School Athletics Participation Survey conducted by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) announced the increase of high school sports participation for the 23rd consecutive year during the 2011-12 academic school year.
Of the 7,692,520 total participants, Washington State contributed 164,858 of those participants. Despite a drop in the overall student-athlete participation in Washington, the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) was proud of its rank of 17th in participation.
“Three years ago, the Association saw an increase of nearly 25,000 participants,” WIAA Executive Director Mike Colbrese said. “For the Association to remain above 160,00 is quite an achievement.”
The 51 NFHS-member state high school athletic/activity associations (District of Columbia is also represented) had an increase of 24,565 from 2010-11.
“In this time of ever-increasing financial challenges in our nation’s high schools, we are greatly encouraged to know that participation in high school sports continues to rise, NFHS Executive Director Bob Gardner said in a press release by the NFHS. “With more than 55 percent of students enrolled in high schools participating in athletics, the value of these programs in an education-based setting continues to be significant.
At the national level, the girl participants eclipsed last year’s record with a new total of 3,207,533. The top participating sports were track and field (468,747), basketball (435,885) and volleyball (418,903). In Washington, the numbers looked slightly different as volleyball (10,398) claimed the top spot, while track and field (9,900) came in second, and soccer (9,514) rounded out the top three. Girls wrestling reached a new high of 1,071, which was the third highest in the nation behind California (2,008) and Texas (2,416).
On the boys’ side, the national figured dropped for the first time since the 1992-1993 school year by 9,419 participants. In Washington, a dip of 336 participants was the difference from last year. However, Washington saw an increase in football (22,090), which remains the state’s top participated boys program. The second most participated boys sport was track and field (13,091), and third was basketball (11,132), both of which saw minor decreases in student-athlete participation.
The High School Athletics Participation Survey is available at the NFHS website at NFHS.org. The survey has been compiled since 1971 by NFHS.