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High School Track & Field Participation Surpasses One Million For Second-Straight Year

High School Track & Field Participation Surpasses One Million For Second-Straight Year

Participation in high school sports increased for the 21st consecutive school year in 2009-10, eclipsing the 7.6 million mark for the first time, according to figures released this week by the National Federation of State High School Associations.

High school participation for the 2009-10 school year reached a record-breaking total of 7,628,377 participants, according to the 2009-10 high school athletics participation survey conducted by the NFHS.

Boys and girls participation figures also reached respective all-time highs, with 4,455,740 boys and 3,172,637 girls participating in 2009-10. Boys participation increased by 33,078 this year, while the girls figure increased by 58,546.

Based on the survey, 55.1 percent of students enrolled in high schools participate in athletics, which emphasizes and reinforces the idea that high school sports continue to have a significant role in student involvement in schools across the country.

Outdoor track and field gained the most combined participants in 2009-10, with an increase of 25,561, followed by soccer with 19,597 combined participants and cross country (11,925). In girls sports, soccer gained the most participants (11,582), followed by outdoor track and field (11,445) and softball (9,290). Outdoor track and field led the way in boys sports with 14,116 additional participants, followed by cross country (8,156) and soccer (8,015).

The Texas led the way with a combined total of 780,721 participants. California was second with 771,465, followed by New York (379,677), Illinois (344,257), Ohio (334,797), Pennsylvania (317,426), Michigan (313,818), New Jersey (253,097), Florida (247,428) and Minnesota (230,043).

The complete 2009-10 survey is available on the NFHS website.

Most popular boys programs


1.   Basketball                                      17,969

2.   Outdoor track and field                 16,011

3.   Baseball                                          15,786

4.   Football                                          14,226

5.   Cross country                                 13,942


1.   Football                                     1,109,278

2.   Outdoor track and field               572,123

3.   Basketball                                    540,207

4.   Baseball                                        472,644

5.   Soccer                                          391,839

Most popular girls programs


1.   Basketball                                      17,711

2.   Outdoor track and field                 15,923

3.   Volleyball                                       15,382

4.   Softball                                          15,298

5.   Cross country                                 13,809


1.   Outdoor track and field               469,177

2.   Basketball                                    439,550

3.   Volleyball                                     403,985

4.   Softball                                        378,211

5.   Soccer                                          356,116