California high school sports participation at an all-time high

August 12, 2015 / Athletic AdministrationCoaching
For the third consecutive year, high school sports participation in California is at an all-time high, according to the results of the athletic association’s most recent survey.

California Interscholastic Federation
California Interscholastic Federation

California now has 772,659 high school student-athletes, up 1.01% from the prior year. California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Executive Director Roger Blake said the results provide a promising outlook for the state’s future.

“The continued growth in education based athletic participation means that more students than before are learning the life-long lessons achieved through high school sports.” Blake said. “High school sports directly and dramatically influences the values and actions that our state and our nation need to help create a better future.”

Along with the overall participation increase in high school athletics there were a few sports that saw noticeable increases across both genders. Lacrosse saw the largest percentage increase, a combined 4.85% or 735 more participants (8.8% or 532 increase for girls; 2.53% or 203 increase for boys), followed by volleyball with a 2.35% increase or 1,299 more participants (2.42% or 1,032 increase for girls; 1.91% or 311 increase for boys). Additionally, for the girls, wrestling participation increased by 21.2% as 483 more girls are partaking in the sport for 2,771 total participants as of 2015.

Football continues to lead the top 10 boys’ sports with 103,725 participants, which increased by 0.25% since 2014. Track and field (54,854) is the second most popular sport followed by soccer (49,307), which increased participation by 1.52% since 2014; basketball (44,809) and baseball (44,361) round out the top five boys’ sports. Additionally, for the first time since 2012 boys’ volleyball knocked boys’ water polo out of the top 10 boys’ sports with 16,553 participants.

For girls, track and field continues reign as the top 10 sport with 45,433 participants, which increased by 1.94% since 2014. Soccer still trails a close second (44,809), which increased participation by 2.25% since 2014, followed by volleyball (41,741), basketball (33,988) and softball (32,904).

The CIF’s 1,554 member schools in 2014-15 participated in the survey as part of the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) nationwide survey that measures the number of students competing in sports in the country.

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